Partway through Drinkin' Songs & Other Logic, his second album for Equity Records, Clint Black sings about how "there's just too much rock in this country," which is kind of a funny sentiment for a singer who delivered a slick crossover effort called Spend My Time last time around. On this fine straight-ahead effort, Black never addresses that contradiction but rather quietly ignores Spend My Time and returns to the hardcore country that made his reputation. The title alone explains what the album is all about -- it's all about pure country, usually hardcore honky tonk ranging from fiddle-fueled dance tunes to barroom ballads. Occasionally, Black steps away of the sound, as on the anthemic "Code of the West," which may not sonically fit with the rest of the record, but its swaggering recasting of the war of terror as a cowboy battle does fit in with the sentiment of the album. Judged on sound alone, it's a minor misstep -- as is the wah-wah guitar on the riff for "Undercover Cowboy," which is just a bit silly -- but the rest of the album is quite good. There's nothing surprising, but Black has written a strong set of songs and they're brought to life but his crack supporting band, who keep things lean, muscular, and very enjoyable. This may fall short of Killin' Time, but it surely returns Black to the musical ground where he's at his best, and it's his most satisfying album in a long time. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

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