Mark Chesnutt

Greatest Hits – 1996 (Decca)

Reviewed by Don Yates

CDs by Mark Chesnutt

This Beaumont honky-tonk traditionalist is one of the finest mainstream country singers of the '90's. Unfortunately, this greatest hits collection fails to do full justice to his work.

Blame at least partly belongs to the shallowness of HNC radio, which prefers line-dancing novelties and schmaltzy power ballads over the hard truths of honky tonk. Still, Chesnutt's hits are better than most, and early ones like "Too Cold At Home" and "Brother Jukebox" are honky-tonk heaven.

The album contains 10 hits plus 2 new songs. Since Chesnutt has had considerably more than 10 hits, the number seems a bit stingy. Curiously, not a single song is included from his most recent album, "Wings." It's too bad because it's his best since the magnificent "Longnecks & Short Stories." Of the two new songs, "It's A Little Too Late" is a decent Cajun-flavored stomper, and "Let It Rain" is a forgettable power ballad.

Only some of Chesnutt's hits are among his greatest songs. For the real best of Chesnutt, listen to "Longnecks & Short Stories," "Wings" and his first album, "Too Cold At Home."