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ALBUM REVIEW : * * * WYNONNA"Revelations", Curb/MCA

February 11, 1996|Richard Cromelin and New albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). and Hear Wynonna and * To hear excerpts from "Revelations," call TimesLine at 808-8463 and press *5722. and In 805 area code, call (818) 808-8463.

Wynonna transcends the "country" niche much as pop's other Big W, Whitney, does R&B. No one genre is big enough to hold the larger-than-life approach her voice brings to the emotional and spiritual components of the human condition.

The problem is finding material that can match that scale. On her third solo album, Wynonna finds the vehicle in the Lynyrd Skynyrd staple "Free Bird," turning in a show-stopping performance that serves as a declamatory declaration of independence.

Aside from "Free Bird" and Gary Burr and Mike Reid's country-inflected pop ballad "To Be Loved by You," in which she embraces a concept as grand as destiny while singing intimately of enduring love, Wynonna applies her remarkable voice and instincts to a set of respectable but cautious songs that provide a minimal challenge.

Her leaning toward rock- and blues-oriented writers gives the collection a stylistic range, and she's closer than ever to the blend of intensity, nuance and playfulness that she can summon onstage. She's come a long way since her first album, but there's still a little way to go.

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