What a difference a decade makes! As the 90' s began, Dwight Yoakam was a country superstar, about to release his arguably two best albums, "If There Was A Way" and "This Time." By decade's end, Yoakam is hotter as a movie actor than a recording artist. His last two regular albums have been subpar and almost hitless. A pointless live album and a poorly received "covers" disc didn't help matters.
Yoakam's new hits album concentrates on the early part of the decade, with 8 of the 14 songs coming from those first two albums. There's also two from "Gone" (which sound a lot better when surrounded by high-quality material) and his cover of "Suspicious Minds." Yoakam's fans already have all those, so there's also three new songs. Fortunately, they're fine ones. "Thinking About Leaving" is a brooding ballad Yoakam wrote with Rodney Crowell. "I'll Go Back to Her" is a classic country Waylon Jennings tune. And pseudo-rockabilly "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (which anyone with a TV has already heard part of) may actually be better suited to Yoakam's voice than to the original artists, Queen. These 14 tracks add up to a big reminder that Yoakam at his best is pretty damn good.