Various Artists

Heart Beats: Country Lovin' - Songs from the Heart

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Heart Beats: Country Lovin' - Songs from the Heart is a collection of 15 romantic country tracks, "compiled by women at Rhino Records" (the feminine perspective of the compilation is emphasized/marketed prominently on the cover), all but one dating from 1983-1995. The one that doesn't, Dolly Parton's 1974 number one "I Will Always Love You," is probably the best song here. It's mainstream country -- which, in latter days, has pretty much meant mainstream pop -- with a likely substantial crossover audience in the soft rock market. Tanya Tucker, Kathy Mattea, Patty Loveless, John Michael Montgomery, Collin Raye, Doug Stone, Shenandoah, Restless Heart, Crystal Gayle, and others check in with some of their more tender smashes. This is presented with far greater care than most anthologies of this type (i.e., there are in-depth, intelligent liner notes), but that doesn't change the fact that it's rather unexceptional musically.

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