Personnel includes: George Strait (vocals, guitar); Frank Sinatra, Hank Thompson (vocals); Jimmy Capps, Jerry Shook, Dave Kirby, Robert Thompson, Leo Jackson, Randy Scruggs, Richard Bennett, Dean Parks, Joe Bob Barnhill, Pat Flynn, David Anthony (acoustic guitar); Gregg Galbraith, Steve Chapman, Paul Yandell, Brent Mason (acoustic & electric guitars); Steve Gibson (acoustic, acoustic hi-string & electric guitars); Fred Newell, Pete Bordonali, Chip Young, Reggie Young, Larry Byrom, Billy Joe Walker, Jr., Brent Rowan, Benny McArthur, Rick McRae (electric guitar); Mike Daily, John Hughey, Weldon Myrick, Hank DeVito, Buddy Emmons, Ruben Gosfeld (steel guitar); Sonny Garrish (steel guitar, dobro); Paul Franklin (steel guitar, pedal dobro); Cindy Cashdollar (Hawaiian steel guitar); Ronnie Brooks, Eldon Shamblin, Ron Anthony (guitar); Johnny Gimble (mandolin, fiddle); Bill Mabry, Rob Hajacos, Buddy Spicher, Mark "Bubba" Feldman, Mark O'Connor, Hubert "Hoot" Hester, Gene Elders, Stuart Duncan, Glen Duncan (fiddle); Jim Horn (alto flute, saxophone); Steve Marsh (saxophone); John Barlow Jarvis, Floyd Domino, Randy McCormick, Ronnie Huckaby, Matt Rollings, Bill Miller (piano); Steve Nathan (piano, organ, sythesizer); Mitch Humphries, Hargus "Pig" Robbins, Bobby Wood, John Hobbs, James Whiting (keyboards); Terry Hale, Mike Leech, Larry Paxton, Bob Moore, Leon Rhodes, Henry Strzelecki, David Hungate, Leland Sklar, Jack Ross, Joe Chemay, Glenn Worf, Emory Gordy, Jr., David Miller, Chuck Berghofer (bass); Tom Foote, Jerry Kroon, Clyde Brooks, Bob Gelotte, Gene Chrisman, Jerry Carrigan, Eddie Bayers, Matt Betton, Owen Hale, Larrie Londin, Phil Fisher, Gregg Field (drums); Sandra Callaway, Rita Figlio, Curtis Young, Arlene Hardin, Sherri Huffman, Diane Tidwell, Buddy Cannon, Gwen Kay, Bobby Hardin, Doug Clements, Louis Nunley, Judy Rodman, Donna Sheridan, Hurshel Wiginton, Marcy Cates, Margie Cates, Wade McCurdy, Liana Young, Harry Stinson, Liana Manis, Andrea Zonn, Jody Nix (background vocals).
Asleep At The Wheel includes: Ray Benson, Ricky Turpin, Michael Francis, Tim Alexander, Dave Sanger.
The Nashville String Machine: George Binkley, John David Boyle, Marvin Chantry, Roy Christensen, Virginia Christensen, Carl Gorodetzky, Lennie Haight, Dennis Molchan, Walter Schwede, Donald Teal, Gary Vanosdale, Pamela Vanosdale, Stephanie Woolf.
Producers: Don Daily (disc 1, tracks 1-3); Blake Mevis (disc 1, tracks 4-16); Ray Baker (disc 1, tracks 17-18, disc 2, tracks 1-2); Jimmy Bowen, George Strait (disc 2, tracks 3-18, disc 3, tracks 1-18, disc 4, track 1); Tony Brown, George Strait (disc 4, tracks 2-13, 15, 17-18); Ray Benson (disc 4, track 14); Phil Ramone (disc 4, track 16).
Compilation producer: George Strait.
Recorded between June 1976 and April 10, 1995. Includes liner notes by Paul Kingsbury, Dee Henry Jenkins and Kay West.
"Check Yes Or No" won the 1996 Country Music Association Award for Single Of The Year, and George Strait won the C.M.A. award for Male Vocalist Of The Year.
During the early '80s, when crossover fever ruled the Nashville roost, George Strait did his darndest to keep a sense of tradition within country music's capital. With a sound built on Bob Wills' big-band swing and George Jones' Texas tall tales, and refined through years of playing Lone Star honky-tonks, Strait took Music City by storm, proving that hits and critical praise were not mutually exclusive. Strait embodied mainstream country's glance into its own history during the '80s, and by the end of the decade was among its biggest stars. STRAIT OUT OF THE BOX documents this climb of a neo- traditionalist, spotlighting some unexpected twists and previously unreleased turns.
The portrait of Strait that emerges is of a stately singer and bandleader, with a skill for finding hits and getting the most out of his sidemen. On the rarely-heard, early singles, his Ace In The Hole band shines, the various string instruments at once echoing the singer's words and cooking up a sweet honky-tonk shuffle. It is a sound he wouldn't readily abandon. By the time of "Unwound," his first country top-ten, Strait had already added a commercial gleam to his Texas swing. The fiddle bounces and cries with a melody reminiscent of Hank, Sr., as Strait tells a mid-tempo tale of a dissolving love. After that, seemingly every song he touched turned into a chart-topper--from the uptown country-pop of "Marina Del Ray," which is like a late-period Beach Boys tune wrapped in a southern twang, to the waltz of "Let's Fall To Pieces Together," which features the plaintive fiddle of Johnny Gimble, to the spare "Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind," cushioned by Hank DeVito's steel guitar. The rest, as they say, is history.
The newest tracks on STRAIT OUT OF THE BOX spotlight Strait's ability to build new sounds out of familiar pieces. "Check Yes Or No" resonates with the big country sound of Garth Brooks and memories of childhood romance, and "Fly Me To The Moon," an unreleased duet with Frank Sinatra, is a light-hearted stroll through the crossroads of their respective styles. Sharing the microphone with the Chairman Of The Board--what better way is there to measure an artist's success?