As Good As I Once Was

Album: Honkytonk University (2005)
Charted: 28


  • The title of this song is a phrase that Toby Keith grew up with. According to his good friend and songwriting partner Scotty Emerick, it was a phrase that was coined by Burt Reynolds on a TV show, and Toby's dad used it often. Scotty saw the episode after the song had become a hit while watching Nick At Night. He told Songfacts: "Burt Reynolds came and he sat down and said, 'You know, I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was.' That was on a rerun of a show from the '80s or something. I think that saying has been around a little bit. Which is cool, because we had never heard of it as a country song. But I had never heard of it that way, so that was Toby's idea."
  • Like many of Toby Keith's songs, this one is set in a bar. He's slowing down, but in the first verse is still up for a threesome when the opportunity presents itself (with the help of Viagra). The second verse finds him sitting out a bar fight until hubris takes over and he enters the fray. Bad move: as portrayed in the video, he gets knocked out cold.
  • The songwriting duo of Toby Keith and Scotty Emerick has enjoyed enormous success, having written over 100 songs together and scoring several #1 Country hits. Emerick credits Keith with the ideas for most of those hits, but clearly he deserves half the credit. "We really enjoy writing songs, and really enjoy good songs," says Scotty. "It's not an easy thing to do, or everybody would do it. It's kind of a constant thing. For example, I was up at two in the morning last night with a buddy of mine trying to figure something out. It's a lot of work. But it's all out of passion, it's a labor of love. Because once you finally finish a song that's all yours, and it's really good, and it'll always be there, long after we're all gone. That's kind of cool. That's the priceless thing about it, you can't put a price on stuff like that. Plus, I never did it to get rich or to make money, anyway. I always had a dream to make a living doing it, but as long as I was doing it, it didn't matter."

    Even with the success of his music, Scotty's feet are still firmly on the ground. Some things have gone way beyond his expectations, and then "some things have gone short of my expectations," he says. "So it gives me a good perspective from both sides." (Check out our interview with Scotty Emerick.)
  • Keith said on his website that this song is "Probably my favorite song on the album. If I hadn't come out of the box with 'Honkytonk U' I'd have come with this one. It didn't matter what order, they were going to be singles one and two. I can always tell when I've got a special one as soon as I get done. My dad used to say this line some. The first verse is about being with a woman, two is about fighting, and three is saying don't sell me short because I'll surprise you."

Comments: 1

  • Joan from Columbia, ScDoes anyone know what the tv show was Toby and his father watched Burt Reynolds saying this line?
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