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Clancy's Tavern [Deluxe Edition]

Toby KeithAudio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)

Price: $11.88 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Building an unparalleled musical legacy, a vibrant career at the top levels of entertainment
and a business empire worthy of a Forbes cover isn't easy, but it's not complicated either. In Toby
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 24, 2011)
  • Original Release Date: 2011
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Deluxe Edition
  • Label: Show Dog-Universal Music
  • ASIN: B005HGAKHU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,781 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Made In America
2. I Need To Hear A Country Song
3. Clancy's Tavern
4. Tryin' To Fall In Love
5. Just Another Sundown
6. Beers Ago
7. South Of You
8. Club Zydeco Moon
9. I Won't Let You Down
10. Red Solo Cup
11. Chill-axin'
12. High Time (You Quit Your Low Down Ways)
13. Truck Drivin' Man
14. Shambala
15. Memphis

Editorial Reviews

About the Artist

Clancy's Tavern by Toby Keith

Success can be a tremendous distraction, certainly for the successful and, in many cases, for those who would try to tell their story. For a number of reasons, Toby Keith is a prime example of both, but in very different ways. Recently and again named country music's top-earning country star by Forbes, the Oklahoma-based entertainer receives tremendous notoriety for presiding over a vast and growing enterprise of sold-out tours, chart-topping albums and singles, a rapidly expanding restaurant chain, a signature beverage and more.

At the same time, a small fraction of songs in his prolific catalog lead some to fervently politicize him despite a generally apolitical public stance. Whatever the causes, too often the descriptions applied to Toby Keith obscure the fundamental root of his success: Songwriting. Fortunately, time has a way of clearing those clouds, leaving hope that someday he will be known primarily and rightly as one of the finest popular songwriters of any era in any genre. That outcome is only possible, however, precisely because he has never lost that focus, never been distracted by the ups or the downs.

When his career could barely be called that, Toby Keith wrote songs. Struggling with a former label and fighting to regain a grip on his career, he wrote songs. Peppered with unwarranted criticism, he wrote songs. Showered with praise and awards, he wrote songs. And in many ways, it all goes back to a woman named Clancy, a club she owned and a grandson whose teenage summers there sparked a flame that has yet to even flicker.

The title track of Clancy's Tavern is almost a prequel to Toby's 2005 hit "Honkytonk U." "It's the same grandmother," he explains. "'Honkytonk U' talked about my mother putting me on a Greyhound and sending me to live with my grandmother for the summer, and how things took off from there. This one is more about the bar and what I saw there. The actual name of the place was Billy Garner's Supper Club, but her husband teased her and nicknamed her Clancy because she ran a tavern. Every line in the song is true. This isn't fiction."

Like each album before it, Clancy's Tavern documents the continuing and seemingly inevitable growth of Keith's skills as singer and producer, certainly, but even more as a writer. Consider the songs you won't hear on Clancy's Tavern: "Blue Enough (To Break A Heart In Two)," "Another She Ain't You," "Didn't Forever Get Here Fast?" and "Rattle Can Red." Well, they're actually not songs, just bits and pieces of lyrics from an artist whose gift for language and melody is so well-developed, his songs beget ideas and phrases that in themselves could be fully formed songs.

"That comes with writing your whole life if you stay after it," Toby says. "Sometimes when I write with guys who've been around longer than me they'll say, 'You're gonna have to give me a bit to get my chops up.' They might feel slow for the first day or two while they try to get in the groove. But I write all the time. I've never quit writing since I was 14 - haven't eased up one day. If I took off next year, stayed home and did nothing, I would still be writing."

Call it discipline, passion, obsession or all three, but that consistency is perhaps the greatest not-so-secret key to Keith's multi-faceted success. It makes the tours, albums, and related endeavors possible. "If you were a homebuilder and looked at the houses you built when you were 20 and looked at the ones you build today, you'd see they were much better - even than ones you were building five or six years ago. As a songwriter, your system gets better. Your vocabulary gets bigger. Everything that would help a songwriter increases. Plus, you live longer and have more time to stumble on good ideas."

Keith's creative process is well documented. In addition to his habit of recording song ideas on his phone, his co-writing efforts are ingrained in his annual schedule. "I have three or four guys I write with who come out on the road," he says. "There's an occasional person who comes once, but Rivers Rutherford usually comes out a couple weekends a year. Bobby Pinson and I are together probably 50 days a year. Scotty Emerick still comes around about two weekends and we do the two weeks together overseas on the USO Tour and have time to write there. Actually, 'Chillaxin' was written on a bus during a two-day stop in South Korea on our way to Afghanistan."

Each year's batch routinely yields more songs than Keith can use. Three of Clancy's Tavern's cuts - "Club Zydeco Moon," "I Won't Let You Down" and "I Need To Hear A Country Song" - were written for 2010's Bullets In The Gun. Three songs from the 2011 writing sessions will appear on Keith's next album.

"For the last decade, we've put out a single from a new album when we go on tour in the summer," Keith explains. "The album comes out in October, you get a couple more singles and we start over."

Saying "we" is no self-conscious affectation coming from Keith's mouth. In fact, one of the more interesting paradoxes of his artistry is the extent to which he is the central creative force on all levels but also highly collaborative. His familiar family of co-writers are only part of the story. Longtime engineer Mills Logan is regularly referred to as "my ears in the studio." Session musicians including Kenny Greenberg, who is also the bandleader for Keith's Incognito Bandito club shows, are encouraged to contribute in a best-idea-wins environment. Even this album's sole outside cut is testament to this almost communal approach.

"I don't remember who played it for me the first time, but it was so stupid I just died laughing," Toby says of "Red Solo Cup," which was written by Brett and Jim Beavers with Brad and Brett Warren. "What's great about this song is it does everybody the same way it did me: 'That's the stupidest song in the world and I can't get it out of my head.' I laugh every time I hear it. Sometimes it's good for the world to hear something like that.

"When I decided to record it, I called up the Warren brothers and the Beaver brothers. They wrote it and this song is real typical of those knuckleheads. But I didn't want to make this song my version of what they wrote. I wanted to make them part of it - record their song with them. We brought them in when we cut it, to play and sing background, so it really sounds like them." Sure enough, every note on the track is courtesy of the four co-writers and Keith.

Another indication of Keith's expansive mindset is the growing role of Bobby Pinson, who gets a "Wrangler-Producer" credit on Clancy's Tavern. "When we're tracking I'm always cutting the scratch vocal and all I hear is what's in my headset monitors. For years I've had Mills Logan behind the board and really relied on him, and he does a great job.

"When I write with Bobby, he says to call him when I cut his song because he wants to be there. He does a lot of producing and he'll say, 'I don't want to step on your toes or anything, I just want to be your other ears in here.' I never mind a songwriter coming in. They were there when we wrote the song and want it to sound as good as I do. Scotty comes in when we cut one of his songs, and that kind of input really adds to it.

"And if I write a song by myself, I'd usually cut it by myself. But Bobby was around so much that I started asking him what he thought sounded good on a song I wrote. He made a suggestion, we tried it and it didn't work. He suggested something else and it worked. He was in the control room on the talk back and I started firing ideas at him. He said he didn't want to produce the record or get any money for it, but he'd love to have some input when he's around. He may not show up every day, but days he's there he might run with it. It's pretty much two good friends beating and banging it out.

"When we did the credits I didn't know how to label him. I know one thing: he's a good wrangler, because that's what he did with it. So that's how we came up with that."

Even the album's chart-topping first single "Made In America" - wildly popular with fans and easily lumped into the jingoistic caricature by critics - reveals the unwavering honesty Keith brings to his music. "I've done so much patriotic stuff that I have people sending me and bringing me those kinds of ideas daily," he says. "And when I hear most of this stuff it's like, I've already done that. I've already done my warrior song - 'American Soldier.' I've already done my battle cry - 'Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue.' I've already done my fun uptempo - 'American Ride.' Then Bobby showed up here a couple summers ago and said he knows I get tired of hearing it, but he had one America idea he wanted to write.

"We got to talking about how when we were kids, if your car broke down your dad could take a wrench, WD40, bailing wire and a screw driver and about fix it. We jumped on that, started writing. I just couldn't get past thinking that my old man was that old man." If the song rings true, regardless of the perceptions, Keith is compelled to let it lead. And that devotion to truth is also manifested in his live performances.

Four songs from the 2010 Incognito Bandito show at New York's Fillmore are bundled with a deluxe edition of Clancy's Tavern. Again, Keith's honesty rears up: "He's courageous," bandleader Kenny Greenberg recently told a Nashville songwriter of the tracks. And the accomplished studio musician would certainly be one to know that one of the first rules of putting live music on record is to clean up the mistakes. But Keith wasn't having it.

"People put so much work into an album to make it the best it can be, but we don't do jack to the Bandito stuff," Keith says. "We let them go exposed - no overdubs, no vocals, nothing. We take live tracks, Mills does a mix on them and we stick them on the album. That's exactly the way they sounded that night, except the mix is perfect."

He trusts the performance, he certainly trusts the songs and, ultimately, he trusts the music. For those reasons and those reasons alone, Clancy's Tavern will be another in a long line of successes. And somewhere, Toby Keith, undistracted, is writing another song.

Product Description

Deluxe edition includes four 'Incognito Banditos' live tracks. 2011 album from the Country superstar. Keith produced the album's 11 new studio tracks. He wrote the title track after being inspired by memories of a nightclub his grandmother operated in Fort Smith, Ark. As a youth, he helped her at the bar and previously referred to the work in his 2005 single, "Honkytonk U." The first single from Clancy's Tavern, "Made in America," climbed the Country charts, landing in the Top 20 in no time flat.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keith's "Tavern" Sets a New Standard October 25, 2011
Format:Audio CD
Prime Cuts: Clancy's Tavern, I Won't Let You Down, Just Another Sun Down

When Keith sings, "Don't expect too much and I won't let you down" don't believe him. On this his 15th album, Keith has up the ante again and has set himself a career high standard. After having no top 10 hits from his last disc "Bullets in the Gun" and with no gold albums since 2008's "That Don't Make Me a Bad Guy," Keith has wizened up and have packed this disc with his best music in years. Keith has teamed up with Eddy Raven, Scotty Emerick, Bobby Pinson to craft songs with less predictable storylines and more multi-dimensional characters. In fact, there are no wasted characters in his songs; every character help convey Keith's emotions in very believable capacity. Though this is still a Toby Keith album whereby our grig rocks with attitude but age has also caught up with him. A closer listen reveals that many of the songs ("South of You," "Clancey's Tavern" and "Just Another Sundown") deal sympathetically with loneliness and emptiness. And yet such emotions are conveyed with a seasoned wisdom that a novice has no way of even dreaming of doing.

It's easy to see why "Made in America" is the album's lead single and Keith's 20th Number 1 hit. This is an in your face sonic bull that charges at you with hoof beat drums and galloping guitar riffs where Keith sings: ""It breaks his heart seeing foreign cars / Filled with fuel that isn't ours / And wearing cotton we didn't grow."Though such jingoism might be what radio wants, it is just a lazy re-cycling of many of Keith's previous other patriotic tunes (such as "American Ride," "Courtesy of the Red, Blue and White" and "American Soldier").
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clancy's Tavern--More Amazing Music from Toby Keith October 27, 2011
Format:Audio CD
Clancy's Tavern is sure to be a favorite Toby Keith album. There is music for everybody -- from the patriotic "Made in America," which was a recent #1 song on the country charts, to the very old-country-bluesy sounding "I Need to Hear a Country Song," the rocking "Beers Ago," and some of those wonderful ballads Toby does so well - "Just Another Sundown" and "I Won't Let You Down". And then there's the song that has rocketed to video stardom on the internet -- "Red Solo Cup." Add to that, four songs from Toby's Incognito Bandito performances that appear on the Deluxe version of the CD, and you have almost an hour of music that will make you smile, cry, laugh and be nostalgic.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Toby Keith - Enough Said October 26, 2011
Format:Audio CD
Toby Keith is, in my opinion, one of the best artists out there; not just in country music but all music in general. He never disappoints with his songwriting and always writes straight from the heart. His songs are emotional, funny, and full of life lessons and experiences. Besides, there just aren't that many artists out there that can sing "Red Solo Cup" and make you laugh till you cry like Toby does. I like Toby's country sound AND his attitude sound (White Trash, Big Dog Daddy, Bullets in the Gun, Shock'n Y'all), and Clancy's Tavern brings back the country sound we remember from Honkytonk U and That Don't Make Me A Bad Guy, most recently.

Another addition to the deluxe edition that I love (and is definitely worth the few extra bucks) are the four Incognito Bandito songs at the end. I love the Bandito songs on Bullets in the Gun and the songs on Clancy's Tavern are even better.

I disagree that putting out an album every year is hurting the quality of Toby's music. I love every album he's released from the early days of Boomtown and Blue Moon to the present days of Bullets and American Ride. Great job Toby! Love the music!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What else but 5 stars! November 14, 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Looking at the other reviews on this page, it's easy to see that Toby has delivered what the fans wanted. I must confess that some of his most recent outings have not reflected his best work, and some fans could be forgiven if they felt let down. But then along comes "Clancy's Tavern" & what a five star album this is! There is not one bad song here, although I must say that the backing music during the chorus's of "Made in America", tends to drown out Toby's voice, & could have been rendered better. Having said that though, Clancy's Tavern" is one of the best kick-ass country albums in years, and the title track just has to be an instant classic - one you can replay time & time again, just for the sheer pleasure of it. I could say good things about each track, but that would take up a lot of space here, & the bottom line is that they're all great. And doesn't this guy do justice to songs when he performs live? The four live tracks on the special edition are excellent, particularly his renditions of "Truck Drivin' Man" & old rocker, "Memphis". Please Toby, let's have more like this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Toby February 5, 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is one of his best cd,s. I have almost everthing he has done. I think this one is one of his best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You did it again! Awesome! October 26, 2011
Format:Audio CD
I have every cd he's ever made and this one is just like the others; I never know which one to play or which is my favorite because they all are. Awesome CD Toby, from a long time warrior!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome cd!!! October 26, 2011
Format:Audio CD
Toby has a hit with this cd. Great selection of music. I can't get that silly Red Solo Cup outta my head. Love Clancy's Tavern and I Won't Let You Down.Don't miss out on getting this CD.
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cannot wait!!!!!!!
Toby Keith has gotten boring and predictable since GH Volume 1 came out. Everything up to and including that was great. After that, he has only put out sporadically good singles, rarely enough to merit buying an entire CD.
Oct 4, 2011 by Emgee |  See all 4 posts
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