Picks and Pans Review: Lead on

updated 11/21/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/21/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

George Strait

Thank heaven—and Texas—for George Strait. He was a lonesome figure in the early '80s, reviving the traditional country sound while Nashville was going pop. Now he's got plenty of competition from squadrons of cookie-cutter cowboys, but few peers.

Strait's voice can break your heart one minute ("No One But You") and gladden it the next ("The Big One"). His song selection, on the evidence here, is flawless. And his band seems incapable of playing anything that doesn't complement his vocals while deftly illuminating the album's many captivating melodies.

It seems a shame to point out the obviously terrific songs on this album, like the forlorn ballad "You Can't Make a Heart Love Somebody" and the Cajun-spiced rocker "Adalida," because on subsequent listening, other tunes that initially just seemed good, such as "Down Louisiana Way," turn out to be the ones you find yourself whistling all the time. Lead on, George. (MCA)

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