Little Texas’ most successful album was their sophomore disc , Big Time, released in 1993. It produced four hit singles, three of which reached the Top 10, including their only #1 “My Love”. The album was produced by Doug Grau, Christy DiNapoli, and James Stroud.
Based on the feedback we received, some of our readers have been less than enthusiastic about our choice to spotlight Little Texas. I’m by no means a Little Texas super fan; I remember most of their radio hits from the 90s but prior to this review I’d never listened to one of their albums all the way through. So I come to this with a fresh set of ears. Was Little Texas really the Rascal Flatts of their day? After listening to Big Time a few times, I can only answer with a resounding no. I expected to enjoy the singles that I remembered from the radio but I wasn’t sure what to expect from the album cuts. I must say that I’m pleasantly surprised. The band members had a hand in writing eight of the album’s ten tracks. Admittedly, they aren’t all particularly memorable, but there is certainly nothing cringe-worthy in a Rascal Flatts sort of way.
The album’s best track by far is the lead single “What Might Have Been”, which rose to #2 on the country chart and enjoyed some success in the adult contemporary format as well, reaching #16 on that chart. It was followed by the uptempo Texas pride anthem “God Blessed Texas”, which topped out at #4 and is probably their best remembered hit today. It’s a good song but one I’ve grown slightly tired of over the years, perhaps due to overplaying by radio. As such, it’s my least favorite of the album’s singles. The mid-tempo “My Love” seemed like a no-brainer to replicate the AC success of “What Might Have Been”, but oddly it did not appear on the adult contemporary charts. It is not as good a song as “What Might Have Been”, but that, along with its lack of crossover success did not prevent it from becoming a #1 country hit. “Stop on a Dime” had originally been the B-side of “What Might Have Been”. When released as a single in its own right, it fell short of the Top 10, landing at #14. As the album’s final single, Warner Bros. had perhaps lost interest in promoting it. It’s a lot countrier than much of what was played on the radio in the mid-90s; it reminds me of something that Diamond Rio might have done.
“My Town” is the only tracks that doesn’t include one of the band members in its songwriting credits. Written by Michael Stanley, isn’t particularly country but it is catchy and allows the band to showcase its harmonizing capabilities. “Cutoff Jeans”, written by Troy Seals, Brady Seals and Ronnie Samoset is more traditional but equally infectious.
Little Texas is one of those bands that I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to when they first arrived on the scene. They debuted at a time when there was plenty of strong competition within the genre, and that may have contributed to them falling through the cracks to a certain extent. If they were just getting started today, they’d be head in shoulders above most of their contemporaries on country radio, at least in my book. Big Time isn’t likely to be included on anyone’s list of best country albums, but it exceeded my expectations and is worth giving a spin.