on November 3, 2012
I love Toby's music....I've often championed his work to those who would dismiss him as a simpleton redneck. He's always managed to make relevant country music without succumbing to the trends plaguing today's pop/country Nashville scene. He's a great performer and puts on an incredible stage show. All that being said, there is not one "stand out" song on this record. The bright moments are relegated to a nice guitar riff or a clever lyric here and there, but overall, these songs feel like they are leftover material from his last three or four records, the songs that didn't make the cut. The best song on the record is the live version of "Whiskey Girl." The remixes of "Red Solo Cup" and "Beers Ago" are just bad. I can handle the "Red Solo Cup" remix as the song is simply a throw away party song, and while catchy, it's no indication of Toby's talent. Good thing he didn't write it. But "Beers Ago" is a great song about growing up in a small town and adding a bad drum sample and techno sounds does not do it justice. I'll go ahead and put this record on my ITunes, but I'll stick with his more recent efforts of the last couple years as they stand head and shoulders over "Hope on the Rocks."
on October 30, 2012
Toby Keith has continued his string of excelent albums with this just released title! The only reason for my not giving it a 5 star rating is that he resorted to what I consider the cheesyest of all gimmicks with the remix of Red solo cup. Which in it's self was a funny novalty from his last Cd, and plenty enjoyable the way it was. I would imagine it was an attempt to capture the club or dance market, and to reach younger listeners. But I think this idea in my opinion is a flop. Don't get me wrong, the arangement, and style of this album is otherwise excelent, and Pink Floyd fans may especially appreciate the style of IF Your Not With Me, You're Not Alone, as it seems to take on the feel of the first track out of Floyd's "dark Side OF the Moon." So by no means should anyone hesitate in buying this otherwise excelent deluxe Eddition of "Hope ON The Rocks."
on February 26, 2013
CD Review TOBY KEITH - Hope On The Rocks (Deluxe Edition) (2012)
I first saw and heard Toby Keith on CMT TV twenty years ago. (We had Country music on UK TV in those days). When I visited the US, I purchased his first two albums" Toby Keith" and "Boom Town" both on cassette tapes as we did not own a CD player in 1994. Since that time I have collected all 17 of his albums. He writes most of his own songs and now produces his own albums.
Twenty one songs have reached No1. in the Country Charts earning him 80 million radio spins. He has appeared in two films and makes frequent visits to Afghanistan to entertain US servicemen.
This latest album (deluxe edition) "Hope On The Rocks" contains 14 tracks.
The opening track "Hope On The Rocks" is written by Toby, he says he thinks it is one of the best he has written. It has a powerful message (not his usual humorous bar room style), but written from the perspective of a bartender who pours the drinks, and his customers pour out their problems to him. He is not just a bartender; he is an "Agony Aunt" and a Samaritan councillor. His regulars include a grieving mother, a drunken divorcee, and a `has been' ball player. The chorus is "Where do they go / They come here to drown in their sorrow, cry in their beer / They're in need of a mind bender / I'm a Bartender / At the end of the day I'm all they got / Hope on the rocks /" A very poignant song, sung superbly by Toby. (The video of this song is on YouTube; it is in black and white and paints a perfect picture of this touching song).
"The Size I Wear". Toby got the idea for this song when he heard two guys discussing the `pros and cons' of the girls in a bar. So this is a romantic song about a man who sees a lady across a crowded room and falls in love at first sight .... No, no, it's not at all like that! It's humorous and cheeky "She was five-foot two / About ninety-five pounds / She was round in the places she's supposed to be round / You can take that waitress or the blond over there / But stand back, John, that's the size I wear." It's very funny with many `macho' verses. The guys' will love this one.
"Scat Cat" was part of the phrase "Scat cat you've got gravy on your tail". Interpretation.... the cat is guilty of eating his dinner as it still has gravy on it's tail, but in human terms it means you are obviously guilty of a crime, so you had better cover your tracks. This song is set in the liquor Prohibition era of the 1920's. His Ma' and Pa' are brewing the illegal whisky and he delivers the `hooch', but for how long can he "duck and dive" to evade the law? "And I know the day is coming / My luck will run its course / If a bullet doesn't find me / They'll let me rot in jail / Scat cat, you've got gravy on your tail".
"I Like Girls That Drink Beer". He has met an aristocratic young lady; she is wealthy, drives a Mercedes Benz, she belongs to a Country Club (it's not a Country Music Club). She is trying to change his style, but he realises it won't work, so tells her... "Hey I need a little down home lovin' / And a man ain't gonna get it up here / Hey I'll find what I want in a honky tonk / I like girls that drink beer".
"Haven't Seen The Last Of You". In complete contrast this is a gentle ballad. Toby excels with this style of song; his rich baritone voice does justice to this `loved and lost' song. She has gone, but her memory will live on both in his dreams and when he lays awake staring at the ceiling. In a similar vein is "Missed You Just Right", once again this is a `loved and lost' song, but this time it has a happy ending. Although he really did miss her, their relationship, he now realises was just a fleeting thing and not meant to last. "In a crazy way I should thank you for making me move on / But now I'm grateful that you're gone", "I'd be lying if I said you didn't cross my mind / But I found the love of my life / I think I missed you just right"
"Haven't Had A Drink All Day". A modern day truck driving song, it's up tempo with a powerful beat. He gets pulled over by the cops in a radar trap and is asked if he has had a drink, he jokingly replies "I got stoned this morning, but I haven't had a drink all day" (and he gets away with it!!) "Leaving San Bernardino I was running behind / I had a load on my trailer and a lot on my mind / And I was rockin', rollin' across the USA / I blew through Amarillo like a wild west wind / Stopped in Oklahoma City just to see an old friend / Got home to Little Rock about three a.m. / My baby met me at the door with a bottle in her hand / Said `Good to see you, my man' let's celebrate / I got stoned this morning, but I haven't had a drink all day". It's a macho song for the guys!
"You Ain't Alone" has a haunting intro to this sad song of heartbreak. It is written by Toby and Scotty Emerick, and contains the lines "There's a ghost in the bedroom, a nightgown on the dresser / A broken heart that wishes you were there / Tears of sorrow and regret / Ashtrays full of cigarettes / Empty bottles lined up like soldiers / I bet by now somebody holds her" (Toby sings these dramatic songs so convincingly, but it is usually his humorous tracks that get the acclaim.)
"Cold Beer Country". A laid back, bluesy, big band sound. A clarinet adds to the flavour. Very simple lyrics telling of a very hot summer's day when only a cold beer will quench the thirst. A catchy, sing-a-long, two step.
The bonus tracks on this deluxe album are a remix of "Red Solo Cup". (I prefer the original version) This very popular party song, which went viral, is from his album "Clancy's Tavern" as is "Beers Ago", a song where he reminisces about the days of his youth; The bars, the cars and the women, the good and the bad times. "It all seems like yesterday even though / That was sixteen hundred and fifty two beers ago" the disco beat remix works well. "Whiskey Girl" is a `live' track; Toby wows the crowd with this pulsating rocker. It was originally on his album "Shock'n Y'all", and the final track "Get Out Of My Car" from his album "Bullets In The Gun". This risqué song raised more than a few eyebrows when it first came out and (allegedly) was never played on U.S. Country radio, This is a live version and the audience spontaneously sing along, but if you are easily offended, do not listen to track fourteen.
The majority of the songs were written or co-written by Toby Keith. I attribute his song writing skills to his keen observations of the people he meets and the things they say. This album is considered by many music critics to be one of his best and I think I agree with that opinion.
on November 14, 2012
I have only been a Toby Keith fan for about 4 or 5 years, I found his brand of country music all I could listen to and appreciate. I found this album to be a lot more slow and sad than his recent releases. This one has a lot of beautifully written songs that I can listen to but over all I did not find the album to be uplifting as the last few he has done. I find a lot of songs on here more in the vein of his earlier hits, like "Wish I Didn't Know Now" or "You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This"
It just seems like a slower paced album and even a song like "Missed You Just Right" which is about finding the right woman though a failed previous relationship still has a sad feeling to it.
Overall I liked this album but not as much as last year's Clancy's Tavern or before that Bullets in the Gun. Also I got the deluxe edition and the bonus songs just do not fit the flow of the rest of the album at all. They are pretty good, although the Red Solo Cup remix is underwhelming, but really do not fit with the rest of the album. When all is said and done a solid 4 star effort but I don't think it is his best.