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Toby Keith

Big Dog Daddy – 2007 (ShowDog Nashville)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Toby Keith

Toby Keith often is characterized as being of strong opinion, yet with a sense of humor. What comes through here is that Keith maintains his sense of humor from the get go (the catchy single "High Maintenance Woman"), while putting out perhaps his strongest disc ever.

Keith historically has been plagued by albums where about half the songs are worthy, though the quotient of quality songs seems to have increased since he started calling his own shots on his own label. In a tender song that showcases the softer, but just as effective Keith, he answers his own critics on "Love Me If You Can" (even though he didn't write it) where he sings, "I'm a man of my convictions/Call me wrong/call me right...You may not like where I'm goin'/But you sure know where I stand/Hate me if you want to/Love me if you can."

In fact, there is a softer tone throughout, maybe a result of Keith being the sole producer - there are few rocking guitar sounds emanating from the speakers. The more uptempo "White Rose" laments the death of a small town. The ballad "Walk It Off" offers a lot of pedal steel.

But lest Keith be accused of being wimpy, the title truck maintains a neo-50s vibe on the title track, and Keith cooks on "Pump Jack" before coming to a rocking close on the catchy "Hit It."

Keith may be the big dog these days, and he made the right decisions on this well put together disc.