On This Day: Brooks & Dunn Release ‘Borderline’ Album in 1996

by Emily Morgan

Country music duo Brooks & Dunn released their record, Borderline, on this day in 1996. 

They released their fourth studio album on Artista records on April 16, 1996, 25-years-ago. The album also gave fans top-notch country songs such as “My Maria,” which became a No. 1 hit on the charts. “I Am That Man” came in at No. 2 on the charts, while “Mama Don’t Get Dressed Up for Nothing” was No. 13 (it was their first non-top ten single.) However, “A Man This Lonely” would claim the No. 1 spot. 

After they released the album, the RIAA certified Borderline platinum. Borderline was also nominated at the 39th Grammy Awards for “Best Country Album.” In the record, the duo gives fans a cover of B.W. Stevenson’s 1972 pop hit “My Maria.” In their rendition, Ronnie Dunn elevates the song with an outstanding vocal performance. 

Dunn and Tommy Lee James, who played guitar for the band at the time, also wrote: “A Man This Lonely.” Together they wrote the song while on tour in Canada. They released the song in December 1996 as the fourth single from Borderline. It would claim the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s “Hot Country Songs” chart.

Brooks & Dunn also co-wrote “Mama Don’t Get Dressed Up For Nothing” with Don Cook. They released it as the third single on Borderline. The song peaked at No. 13 but was an international success in Canada, where it went to No. 8. However, it was their first single to not chart on the U.S. country top 10, breaking a streak of 17 straight top 10 entries. Moreover, “Mama Don’t Get Dressed Up For Nothing” is the fourth single to feature Kix Brooks on lead vocals instead of Ronnie Dunn. 

Critics’ Thoughts on Brooks & Dunn’s Borderline

In 2019, twenty-three years later, Brooks & Dunn re-recorded “Mama Don’t Get Dressed Up for Nothing” with Lanco for their album, Reboot.

Deborah Evans Price of Billboard magazine reviewed “Mama Don’t Get Dressed Up for Nothing,” saying that it was “an earnest song of love and devotion that is marked by Ronnie Dunn’s tender lead vocals.” She added that the “production is gentle and understated, allowing Dunn to wrap his voice around the lyric and deliver a poignant interpretation.”

However, other critics such as Michael McCall of Allmusic and Alanna Nash of Entertainment Weekly thought that Borderline was “cliché” and added that “My Maria” was the strongest song on it. In contrast, Larry Stephens of Country Standard Time thought Borderline had “the right mix” of songs.