Tracy - Ten Rounds

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Byrd, Tracy - Ten Rounds

East Texas traditionalist Tracy Byrd's beefy, muscular voice had the goods and could deliver them. Everyone knew it and that's still true. That said, the faint whiff of compromise has always dogged his records. The need to satisfy marketing concerns with generic songs and arrangements consistently nudges out the edgier fare Byrd is and has always been capable of. Here, that whiff becomes a full-fledged scent. While "Somebody's Dream" succeeds as social commentary, "Ten Rounds with José Cuervo" is yet another predictable Buffettesque sing-along drinking ditty. Byrd himself chose to revive Michael Martin Murphy's 1970s whiny hippie wussfest "Wildfire," but it doesn't fit his style. He recovers with a strong performance of "Never Gonna Break Again" and an enjoyable duet with Mark Chesnutt on "A Good Way to Get on My Bad Side," with the piquant line "A little sissy in a cowboy hat ain't country." True. By the same token, a great country singer in a cowboy hat ain't well served by so much throwaway material. --Rich Kienzle

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