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4.7 out of 5 stars
Clancy's Tavern
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
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"). Much better is the Cajun influenced "Tryin' to Fall in Love" where Keith chronicles (albeit with a witty wick) the challenges of finding true love. One can't help but smile at how much details are packed into this song that makes it so engagingly realistic. "Club Zydeco Moon" has to be awarded for the most original lyrics to a country song; this is a dark story of how a young man's visit to a brothel haunted him for the rest of his life. It's no surprise that such an intricate piece came from the pens of Keith and Eddy Raven. Raven also contributes in co-penning "South of You." Here Raven and Keith take the happy-go-lucky tropical beach song and turn it into a heartbreaking tune where the heartbroken protagonist wish he could be anywhere "south of you."

As for the title cut "Clancy's Tavern," it is named after Keith's grandmother's bar. On this gorgeous Irish folk waltz, Keith brings us into his grandma's tavern into a time machine back to the days he would play in the bar and observe all the people with their peculiar lives patronizing the pub. Keith meanders over a few other songs with this bar theme: "Just Another Sun Down" is your traditional cry in your beer ballad that is given a fresh coat of paint with Keith's earnest delivery. "I Need to Hear A Country Song" also from the same beer drinking vicinity takes on a rocking/blues drive with lots of irresistible hooks and shooting catch phrases. "Beers Ago" and "Red Solo Cup" are your silly rowdy ditties that you kind of have to expect from Keith.

Keith teams up with former band mate and fellow artist Scotty Emerick in creating "Chill-Axin.'" This is the best "decompressing" song in a while--its island breezy melody is infectious. While "I Won't Let You own" like Alan Jackson's "I'll Try" is realistically romantic without having the maudlin sheen. Though "Clancy's Tavern" has its obligatory numbers and a few silly odes, this is still one of Keith's best efforts in years. Unlike last year's "Bullets in the Gun" which has a rugged dark edge to it, this is contemplative, relaxing and in the moments when he charges, he does it well too.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 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
on October 27, 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
on November 14, 2011
Format: Audio CDVerified 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
on February 6, 2012
Format: Audio CDVerified 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
on October 27, 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
on October 27, 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2012
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I like Toby Keith. His song, Red Solo Cup, is the main reason I bought the album. But was pleasantly surprised, especially with the last three songs. Makes me happy to listen to it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2011
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I can't put my finger on exactly what difference I hear but it's there. NOT in a bad way, he's just expanding his musical foundation.
Well worth the listen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2013
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
This album is all right but by no means his best stuff. Songs 1 and 3 are the only ones I like; The rest is him singing about girls and beer.
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