Early Years, The by Leann Rimes
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This album consists of material recorded prior to Rimes's best-selling 1996 national debut, Blue
. The program includes such time-tested staples of Rimes's live show as "Cowboy's Sweetheart," "I Will Always Love You," "Blue Moon of Kentucky," and "Unchained Melody." As amazing as it is to hear a voice this powerful and polished coming from a 15-year-old girl in 1997, it's even more amazing to consider that she was only 10 or 11 when most of these recordings were done. What's not so amazing are the five contemporary country numbers, which point to the problem Rimes continues to face in finding new material worthy of her once-in-a-generation vocal abilities. --Bill Holdship