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George Strait

Merry Christmas Wherever You Are – 1999 (MCA)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by George Strait

On his second Christmas album, George Strait opts for five new songs and five classics, with generally good results. The album starts off strong with the swinging, romantic "I Know What I Want for Christmas" and the warm, nostalgic "Old Time Christmas." "Let It Snow" is a good fit for Strait's Western swing bent, and Strait seems to enjoy himself singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." The title song, with a simple acoustic-guitar-and-steel backing during the first verse, is a classic Strait sad song. The spoken-word verses of "Noel Leon," about a man named Leon Dixon who "leaves his Christmas lights up all year 'round," sound a little cheesy, but the chorus is prettily sung. On the other hand, "All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)" just didn't need a country rendition. One reasonable criticism of this album, like so many other Strait releases, is that it's too short - the 10 songs come in under 29 minutes. Fortunately, Strait doesn't waste too much of that time on filler.