Picks and Pans Review: Read Between the Lines
Tippin’s no-frills country style served him well on his first outing, You’ve Got to Stand for Something, and works to better effect on this follow-up. Replacing some of the rough edges evident on that first album is a new vocal maturity. Tippin’s nasal, high-pitched voice sounds fuller and more resonant.
This change is most obvious on the melancholic ballad “These Sweet Dreams,” cowritten with Butch Curry, which has the feel of a classic. “This Heart” also benefits from Tippin’s increased ability to invest his lyrics with tenderness. He still may enjoy telling the world what a tough hombre he is, as in “I Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way,” but there’s another side to him that can sing just as convincingly about pain and regret, as he does on “If I Had It to Do Over.”
“My Blue Angel” lets this South Carolinian work his yodel to the hilt. Also invested with back-hill twang is “I Was Born with a Broken Heart,” which Tippin wrote with Jim McBride when Tippin was still, as he puts it, a Nashville “greenhorn.”
On “The Sound of Your Goodbye (Sticks and Stones),” a six-string bass enhances a so-so song. Recalling “You’ve Got to Stand for Something” is the bouncy “There Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong with the Radio,” which refers to Tippin’s clunker of a car, Daisy.
Second albums, like second novels, often disappoint fans set up by a successful debut. Read Between the Lines doesn’t suffer by comparison, it surpasses. (BMG)