Personnel: George Strait (vocals); Richard Bennett, Billy Joe Walker, Jr (acoustic & electric guitars); Reggie Young (electric guitar); Paul Franklin (steel guitar); Johnny Gimble (mandolin, fiddle); John Jarvis (piano); David Hungate (bass); Eddie Bayers (drums); Curtis Young (background vocals).
While the title of George Strait's 1986 album #7 may be slightly misleading -- it suggests that this is his seventh album of new material when it's only his sixth, but it is his seventh release, following a greatest-hits album released the previous year -- there's no question that Strait hardly leads you astray with the music here. Again, Strait sticks to the basics, reviving Bob Wills' lazy "Deep Water," ratcheting up the Western swing on "You Still Get to Me," kicking up energy for the truck-driving "Rhythm of the Road," laying back for the great Texas shuffles "Stranger Things Have Happened" and "Why'd You Go and Break My Heart," and then slowing it down for a couple of radio hits, the number ones "It Ain't Cool to Be Crazy About You" and "Nobody in His Right Mind Would've Left Her." As usual, those singles are the slickest things here, designed to be radio hits without compromising Strait's country credibility, while the rest of the album would seem to spill over with hard country riches if it weren't so trim, weighing in at less than 27 minutes. That's one lean album, but without an ounce of fat it winds up being every bit as tremendously entertaining as the other five Strait albums to date. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine