George Strait, “The Seashores of Old Mexico” (MCA, 2006)

One of my favorite King George singles is one of his least well-known; this crept to #11 on the country chart as the final single from 2005’s Somewhere Down in Texas. I hated the album at the time, though I was perhaps a bit harsh on it (and the Lee Ann Womack duet is better than I’d remembered). But from day one I liked this, a cover of Merle Haggard’s 1971 song (which Hag himself recorded in ’74, and then again with Willie Nelson in a rather anemic arrangement on their ’87 album Seashores of Old Mexico). Strait has the right voice for it — not so dissimilar from the Hag’s, in fact — and this arrangement is lovely, combining light Western swing with a string session, making the confection as a whole utterly easy-going and swoon-y, like you’ve sipped a couple of neat whiskeys on the beach. Back when this was out as a single, CMT still played videos most of the day, and they hammered this constantly. It was a perfect counterpoint to much of the chart country of the time, and still is today.


About thomasinskeep

I write about music.
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