I became a fan of Alan's from the first time I heard his first single, the title track of this album. Here in the real world is a classic tearjerker about the difference between dreams and reality. Yet, Alan's reputation has been built as much on up-tempo songs as on ballads, perhaps more so. This album showcases his ability at all types of country song. His music, then as now, was firmly rooted in traditional country but with just enough of a contemporary edge to appeal to a wider audience.
Apart from Here in the real world, the other singles from this album were Wanted (a great ballad about a man wanting forgiveness from a woman who left him, and who he is unable to trace), Chasing that neon rainbow (a brilliant up-tempo song), I'd love you all over again (a brilliant ballad) and Home (a touching tribute to his parents). All five of those songs were included on his first greatest hits album, but the other tracks are just as good.
Ace of hearts (an up-tempo song about success in love) Blue blooded woman (one of those classic city girl meets country boy songs, also up-tempo), She don't get the blues (about a woman who likes to dance but doesn't want anything else), Dog river blues (another song about a man whose woman has left him, but this one is up-tempo) and Short sweet ride (a great up-tempo song to close the set) are all outstanding songs that sound good enough to have been singles. So even if you've got that hits collection, this album is well worth buying.
Alan has recorded many excellent albums. This one remains my favorite, although the others are not far behind.