George Strait may have landed his first number one in 1982, making him an "overnight sensation," but he'd been working for it since 1976. Strait From the Heart boasts "Fool-Hearted Memory," a perfect slow two-step that raged in all the dancehalls in America for half a year and sent folks to the bins in droves seeking out Strait's records. What they found was a singer of uncommon vitality who could sing honky tonk, countrypolitan, and the new traditional sounds that were just beginning to assert themselves after the first wave of "new country." The new Strait fans were interested in the ballads such as "Marina del Rey" and "A Fire I Can't Put Out," but they are hardly the best cuts on the set. In fact, when Strait lets it get on the raw side is when he is at his best. Tracks such as "Honky Tonk Crazy," his cover of Guy Clark's "Heartbroke," the Western swing of his original "I Can't See Texas From Here," and the strutting barroom anthem "The Steal of the Night" offer a portrait of Strait as a man who can do it all. His work is not over-produced, and his voice rings clear and true, offering only what the song needs to reveal itself to the listener. Strait From the Heart may not be the exact beginning of the story, but it is the first part of the legend.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek