No Stranger to Shame (Atlantic)

Uncle Kracker 

No Stranger to Shame (Atlantic)

Being Kid Rock's corn-fed sidekick is no enviable task, sort of the showbiz equivalent of being an assistant crack whore at a dollar-an-hour motel. But playing second fiddle to metalli-rap's most annoying superstar also comes with some perks, namely the license to release one's own brand of twisted, brown trucker-rock. In 2000, Uncle Kracker scored a surprise hit with the throwaway "Follow Me," which helped its parent album, Double Wide, move more than two million units -- most of which are currently crowding 99-cent bins around the nation.

Still, going double-platinum virtually guarantees a sequel, and Kracker recently unleashed his follow-up, No Stranger to Shame, on an unsuspecting public. Like his boss, Kracker's beer-battered fluff harks back to the days when Lynyrd Skynyrd tapestries adorned the walls of basement bedrooms everywhere. Not that Kracker and Skynyrd have much in common, other than a fanbase with more tattoos than brain cells. Eschewing Rock's penchant for trailer-park rapping, Kracker settles into a half-baked batch of mid-tempo faux soul, including an all-too-faithful rendition of Dobie Gray's don't-go-there signature number, "Drift Away."

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