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POP RECORDINGS; Wry Country Misery Of Honky-Tonk Laments These Three Acts Sing
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Washington, D.C.
Author: Joyce, Mike
Date: Oct 16, 1994
Start Page: g.13
Section: SHOW

Elsewhere on the album, [Mark Chesnutt]'s fourth and finest, he makes the most of sentimental balladry - the hit single "She Dreams" being the most obvious example - and briefly teams up with Waylon Jennings to warmly reprise the latter's "Rainy Day Woman." Moreover, when he isn't making his mark as a singer, Chesnutt makes room for a strong cast of string band musicians who cut a vibrant path through the South and Southwest.

Teaming up with [Merle Haggard], he co-wrote the album's best tune and first single, "Untanglin' My Mind." Shot through with despair and confusion, the song sounds as if it were torn from Haggard's songbook and underscores how much the two have in common as singers, with [Clint Black] stopping just short of imitation. Black is never more convincing than he is here, sorting out his thoughts in the wake of a love affair, trying to come to grips with his anguish, bracing himself to move on. And he's never more resourceful than on the following cut, when, in time-honored honky-tonk tradition, he converts the existential catch phrase "wherever you go, you're there" into another fool-on-the-bar-stool blues.

That's about it for "One Emotion": one first-rate song, one clever take-off and precious little of the instrumental finesse that adorned and energized Black's last album, "No Time to Kill." The rest of the material ranges from cliched country-rock romps ("Hey Hot Rod") to exceedingly bland country pop ("Life Gets Away"), co-written by Black, his usual collaborators and guest Michael McDonald, who's partially responsible for the album's unremarkable closing ballad, "You Made Me Feel." After five albums, it seems that it's time for Black to supplement his own lyrics with other contributions - or, better yet, move in with Merle.

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