Gretchen Wilson

All Jacked Up – 2005 (Sony)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Gretchen Wilson

Gretchen Wilson became an overnight superstar with her debut "Here For the Party" and her fem power song "Redneck Woman" and blue collar attitude taking her all the way to the bank.

Of course, the question is whether Wilson is able to follow up such a tremendously successful album with a worthy album and for the most of the time, the answer is a resounding yes. If the debut didn't exist, then this CD would be just fine, but she is in competition against herself.

Her voice remains a supple instrument of dexterity from more rocking songs (the opening track and first single "All Jacked Up" with lots of Charlie Daniels-style fiddle about drinking too much) to straight ahead country of which there is far more of than the debut (the excellent tender weeper "I Don't Feel Like Loving You Today" and "One Bud Wiser") to the jazzy hidden track, a Billie Holliday song, which doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the album (that's why it's probably hidden), but on the other hand shows a different side of Wilson. The material - Wilson co-wrote 7 of 11 songs - does not stand up quite as well as to that on the debut. Simply put, there are no "Redneck Woman" songs to be found. The songs are good, but fall a bit short of the debut. Wilson takes too easy a cheap shot at Paris Hilton in "California Girls" while name checking George Jones. "Politically Uncorrect" with Merle Haggard is too over the top in being kneejerk.

Artists always find it hard topping their previous effort, and Wilson is no exception to the rule. But she has managed to avoid the sophomore slump showing she was not a one-album wonder.