The Lovin' Side (Rhino)

Fans have always known there are two sides to Travis Tritt: the hellbent-for-leathercountry-rocker, and the sensitive ballad singer brave enough to show you his soft heart.

Two new compilations take a novel approach to exploring that split person-ality: The Rockin' Side collects 16 of Travis' rowdier numbers, while The Lovin' Side gathers an equal number of slow-dance tunes. They aren't necessarily "greatest hits" - some of these songs were never hits at all. But together, they paint a fully rounded portrait of one versatile guy.

The gritty stuff fits Travis like a glove, and The Rockin' Side is chock-full of barn-burners like "Put Some Drive In Your Country" and the unheralded "Wishful Thinking."

"T-R-O-U-B-L-E" reminds us how much attitude he got from Elvis, but Rockin' Side really demonstrates Travis' affinity for Southern rock, spotlighting his teamings with Little Feat and Lynyrd Skynyrd's Gary Rossington.

But the tough-guy exterior that makes Travis a natural for more raucous material just makes his ballads that much more complex and compelling. As on Rockin' Side, Lovin' Side mixes smashes like "Anymore" with lesser-known gems like "Someone For Me" and his duet with Patti LaBelle on "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby."

The Rockin' Side and The Lovin' Side let you choose whether you prefer the tough or tender Travis. For those who want the whole picture, though, nothing less than both Sides will do.

-- Chris Neal

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