October 26, 1992 12:00 PM

Travis Tritt

Tritt’s third album is so moany-whiny and self-pitying that he counteracts the affection and admiration he earlier won. Consider the titles: “Looking Out for Number One,” “I Wish I Could Go Back Home,” “Leave My Girl Alone.” Not even the clever, jaunty title tune can relieve the oppressive tone. And while “Lord Have Mercy on the Working Man” is less self-absorbed, Tritt can’t take that populist territory from Merle Haggard.

The album also suffers from obtrusive backup playing, especially by Hargus “Pig” Robbins, who pounds hard enough to break Jerry Lee Lewis’s records for keyboard demolition. More of backup singer Dana McVicker and less Pig would have helped. On the insert, Tritt poses as a bicep-flexing, leather-jacketed hard case. His singing is sometimes overstated and gruff, yet his energy can be winning in his more playful mode. (Warner Bros.)

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