February 28, 2005 12:00 PM

All of Me
COUNTRY

CRITIC’S CHOICE

It’s a happy development that established country stars such as Crystal Gayle, Suzy Bogguss and now Anne Murray are recording the pop standards from the great American songbook. This unusual—and unusually entertaining—two-disc set includes one CD of classics newly interpreted by Murray and one CD of the singer’s own greatest hits. While it’s always a pleasure to hear her sing “Snowbird,” “Could I Have This Dance” and “Daydream Believer,” the real delight is Murray wrapping her warm, rich and character-filled voice around old gems like “As Time Goes By,” “I’ll Be Seeing You,” “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” and “We’ll Meet Again,” the poignant World War II song most famously sung by Vera Lynn on the Dr. Strangelove soundtrack. Murray even sings “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” the 1968 Mamas and Papas hit, evoking Mama Cass Elliott’s tangy, beautifully pitched vocals. Vigorously backing Murray are some musicians who sound as if they have just been waiting for this opportunity to flex their traditional jazz chops. All in all, this excellent album makes for an ideal companion piece to Murray’s 2002 collection of country standards, Country Croonin’. —R.N.

DOWNLOAD THIS: “After You’ve Gone”

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