First impressions: George Strait, Here For a Good Time

So I have picked up every George Strait album since 1996’s Blue Clear Sky on its release date. My streak remains unbroken. 😉

I could have done without “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright.” Not the best album opener, a bit too generic and polished. But “Shame on Me” is classic George, with a great little fiddle-and-steel guitar shuffle beat.

Covering Delbert McClinton and Buddy Miller? Whoa, the old cowboy still has some nifty little tricks up his sleeve after all these years. Strait’s take on “Lone Star Blues” is a lot of fun. I didn’t know offhand that was what the song was called, but once I heard the lyrics and Strait aping McClinton’s vocal mannerisms like a champ, I was like, “Oh, yeah, I know this song!” Immensely entertaining, and you can tell Strait had a lot of fun recording this.

And as for “A Showman’s Life”…all I can say is, WOW. I had heard Gary Allan’s version of that song on his 2003 album See If I Care, and when I heard George Strait recorded it for this album, I was pretty curious to see how it’d sound. And oh, did he ever nail it! Perhaps the best vocal he laid down on this album, and some of his best ever. This is my favorite song on the cd so far, and I think it’ll always be.

“I’ll Always Remember You” was a surprise gem. I was afraid it would come off as mawkish and contrived, but again…WOW. And I shall not lie. When he got to the spoken-word part, I just damn near lost it. What a beautiful conclusion to another great George Strait album.I certainly hope he doesn’t go anywhere any time soon, because from the sounds of things he still has a good bit of great music left to make.

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