All Jacked Up by Gretchen Wilson
The guiding philosophy behind Gretchen's second album seems to have been, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It certainly wasn't broke—her 2004 debut CD, Here for the Party, sold four million copies, announced the arrival of a major new talent and generally made country music safe for self-proclaimed redneck women.
So All Jacked Up may as well have been called Still Here for the Party, following the blockbuster blueprint of blue-collar anthems ("Skoal Ring," "California Girls," the Merle Haggard duet "Politically Uncorrect"), drinking songs ("One Bud Wiser" and the title cut), old-school balladry ("He Ain't Even Cold Yet," "I Don't Feel Like Loving You Today") and autobiography ("Full Time Job," "Not Bad for a Bartender").
The one new twist comes with the hidden bonus track, a faithful cover of the Billie Holiday jazz classic "Good Morning Heartache."
But if All Jacked Up offers very little new, it still gives us more of what made Here for the Party an instant classic: a voice that can belt 'em or croon 'em with equal ease, songwriting that's by turns clever, emotional and wryly funny, and—most important—a woman who really knows how to throw a party.