Picks and Pans Review: Strait Out of the Box

updated 12/18/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/18/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

George Strait

This four-CD set of 72 songs shows why Strait, a 43-year-old Texan, remains a leader of the hat-act pack. Leaving the songwriting to some of Nashville's best (including Dean Dillon and Hank Cochran), Strait delivers laid-back, sure-footed vocals that make ballads like "Amarillo by Morning" and "I Cross My Heart" memorable. He has a playful side too: "The Fireman" ("makin' my rounds all over town puttin' out old flames") and "All My Ex's Live in Texas" ("that's wiry I hang my hat in Tennessee") honor a long country tradition of goof-ball lyrics. Fourteen years on the charts and no one has knocked off his Resistol (MCA)

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