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Toby Keith: Big Dog Daddy

B-

Toby Keith

Album: Big Dog Daddy
Label: Show Dog

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Toby Keith is forever destined to be attached to his delivery of the words "boot" and "ass" in his jingoistic post-9/11 hit "Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue," but his stirring voice never leaves him more than a ballad away from restitution. Keith sounds aware of that fact on Big Dog Daddy, an erratic album that moves straight from the raucous honky-tonk single "High Maintenance Woman" ("she don't want no maintenance man") to "Love Me If You Can," a torch song wherein Keith identifies as "a man of my convictions" with enough heart and hesitance to suggest that he's aware how convictions are sometimes damning. From there, he's on to another ballad, this one about a shuttered gas station where there's "plywood for glass" and where, pretty clearly, part of America went to die. Keith sounds more convincing in slow mode than he does in rollers like "Get My Drink On" and "Hit It," though he nails "Pump Jack," a rousing new inclusion for the list of love songs to oil wells.