Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
34 Number Ones
Alan Jackson has rightfully enjoyed a tremendous amount of artistic and commercial success during his 14-CD career spanning 20 years. None of his albums debuted lower than number four. He captures a segment of country music that, unfortunately, has few imitators. The Georgian is well-steeped, of course, in traditional country music following in the footsteps of folks like George Jones. He also tends to focus on the small town way of life, a humble working man's existence not afraid of working hard (Chasin' That Neon Rainbow, a song from 1990 about making it in country, but not forgetting where he came from was indicative of that) or having fun.
Yet, there is not a whole lot to recommend about this collection given that Jackson already has three proper greatest hits releases. A few non chart toppers are included: the lead-off single Ring of Fire, made famous by Johnny Cash, As She's Walking Away, a number one for Zac Brown Band with Jackson on backing vocals and Look At Me from a Billy Graham biopic. Jackson's take on Ring of Fire is strong with pretty backing vocals from Lee Ann Womack. Walking Away clearly is a ZBB song with excellent singing from AJ and hardly is worthy of being on this release, while the tender Look At Me is a rarity, not a number one.
Jackson is one of the greatest country artists over the past two decades. With many songs of his own pen and voice with a lot of timbre, Jackson has served the genre well and pays more than lip service to his geographic and musical roots. Perhaps this CD serves as a healthy introduction to what makes Jackson so great. But for long-time fans, that is highly questionable. As with other recent greatest hits efforts, this one seems aimed at attracting whatever buyers are out there who are completists or those looking for a holiday gift when it comes to their favorite artist.