It Just Comes Natural

"Give It Away," this album's bitter divorce song, is George Strait's 53rd No. 1 country hit in his 25-year career. That statistic is more than just something to warm the heart of record-company bean counters; it is a tribute to the sagacity and finely tuned taste of Strait and his producer, Tony Brown, whose ears for good songs have only gotten better with age and experience. This excellent disc includes at least a half-dozen tunes that any country singer would want to record. Two of them are covers—Bruce Robison's clever "Wrapped" and Jo-El Sonnier's evocative "Come On Joe"—that are especially suited to Strait's warm, witty style and mellow baritone. Whether he's singing the Lone Star State boogie "Texas Cookin'" or the empathetic ballad "He Must Have Really Hurt You Bad," he always sounds completely at ease. If ever there was a natural in country music, it's Strait.

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