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Collin Raye

The Walls Came Down – 1998 (Sony)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Collin Raye

Collin Raye has a fine voice, but because he's not a prolific writer, his albums usually stand or fall based upon the quality of the songs he chooses. Only about a quarter of the selections here are above par, and that's just not high enough of a score.

The album opens up promisingly with the fine "Anyone Else" by Radney Foster, but one must then trudge through eight mediocre numbers to reach Bill Anderson and Steve Wariner's heartbreaking "Make Sure You've Got It All." The album closes with a piano-led (of all things) instrumental called "Dark Secrets," before shutting the door commandingly on "The Eleventh Commandment." Both the instrumental and Commandment caution against child abuse, and the latter brings out a world of passion in Raye's vocals.

Elsewhere, though, Raye wades through corny wordplay, such as on "April Fool," which is about - you guessed it - a girl named April. The singing and playing is there, only somebody forgot to bring the songs, leaving an unsightly wall of album filler still standing.