Neal McCoy

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XII Review

by j. poet

Neal McCoy has a handful of platinum albums and a Top Ten single, but despite his powerful vocals and sharp backing bands, his albums are usually divided between average songs that only get by because he's such a good singer and the real charmers like "Wink" and "Then You Can Say Goodbye." That's the case here as well. There's one great tune, two good ones, and a whole lot that get by on McCoy's powerful vocals. First the good news: "That's Just How She Gets" is a classic midtempo honky tonk drinking song. Jazzy Dobro fills support McCoy's wily vocal and lead up to a punch line that'll almost make you laugh out loud. Jamie Johnson and David Tolliver's "Mouth" is given a jaunty swing arrangement worthy of Bob Wills. It has a sharp lyric full of clever wordplay and a rhythm that'll have you bouncing on your barstool. "Borderline Crazy" is another good-humored song that suggests Jimmy Buffett with its vaguely Latin and carefree celebration of margaritas and mariachi music. The best of the rest: "Real Good Feel Good, a hard country rock tune with fine funky guitar fills, "Shotgun Rider," a swinging tune that tips its hat to a gal who can be a pal as well as a girlfriend, and "Judge a Man by the Woman," which is a bit overly sincere, but saved by McCoy's earnest delivery. The album closer, "Van Gogh" is a ballad about artistic suffering, but it's not as good as Don McLean's "Vincent," the song all other songs about Van Gogh have to measure up to.

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