Personnel: Charley Pride (vocals); Charley Pride; Joe Allen (bass guitar); Ronnie McCoury (acoustic guitar, mandolin); Jeff White, Mark Howard (acoustic guitar); Kerry Marx (electric guitar); Paul Franklin (steel guitar); Hoot Hester (fiddle); Bobby Wood (piano); Kenny Malone (drums); Janie Fricke, The Carol Lee Singers (background vocals).
Photographer: Dan Stroud.
Charley Pride is still sonically stuck in the '70s era of country & western, but that is far from a bad thing. Relegated to small labels, Pride's signature sound and timeless voice is strong for slow tempo toe-tappers like "Hook in My Heart." The singer is also adept at spinning stories that easily draw listeners in such as the pretty "Empty Shoes" that has just a trace of Waylon Jennings in it. When Pride opts for melodic ballads, he shines on numbers like the fine "Chain of Love" and the somber, lap steel accents on "Old Heart (Rest in Pieces)." This is also true on "Field of Dreams," a duet with Janie Fricke. Equally impressive is the honky tonk style emanating from "I Need Somebody Bad." As if you can't see the obvious likes of Merle Haggard or George Jones in the album, Pride drives that message home with the one-two punch of "Trapped in an Old Country Song" and "(I Believe In) Good Old Country Music." There is no new ground broken by Pride, but there are only two songs that come off rather poorly. "Two Pump Texaco" tries a different beat but misses the mark while "Stars and Stripes" reeks of jingoism. Vocally Pride still sounds note and pitch perfect, resulting in another solid album from one of the genre's legends. ~ Jason MacNeil