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Picks and Pans Review: Counting Sheep

updated 03/06/2000 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/06/2000 01:00AM

Collin Raye (Sony Wonder)

There is no higher praise for a male country singer these days than to say he sounds like Vince Gill. And on this children's album, Raye doesn't just sound like Gill; he also generates the kind of charming playfulness the star is known for.

The highlight of this album is Raye's warmhearted version of the great Disney anthem "When You Wish upon a Star." But kids and parents alike should enjoy Raye's duet with Melissa Manchester on the just-serious-enough Manchester and Karen Taylor-Good tune "A Mother and Father's Prayer." Cutting both ways, too, is Raye's version of "Blackbird," which brings out the nursery school aspect of the Beatles classic. And while he will never make anyone forget Bing Crosby's soothing rendition of "Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral (the Irish Lullaby)," Raye gives it an affably comforting try. With his rowdy, honky-tonkin' image, Raye may not appear to be the perfect candidate to perform children's tunes. But he turns out to be an ideal singing dad, affectionate and light-toned.

Bottom Line: Appealing, with no age limits

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