Picks and Pans Review: Old Songs for the New Depression

updated 05/31/1982 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/31/1982 01:00AM

Ben Sidran

The most egregiously sour-voiced, self-loving lounge singer ever conjured up by Bill Murray is not half as bad as Sidran on much of this album. He is a talented jazz pianist (with a Ph.D. in sociology from Sussex University in England) and has recorded with Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones. But his vocal renditions of such standards as Easy Street and Old Folks quaver, go flat and prove a general embarrassment; his lyric improvisations are disastrous. "Let's cruise on to Kuwait/ Just before that it's too late/ To watch 'em pump that final drop of oil" on Let's Get Away From It All and a repeated "Whoo-whoo-whoo-whoo-whoopee" on Makin' Whoopee are only two examples. Sidran fares better on his own scatty Piano Players, in which he talks-sings the names of most of the great jazz pianists, and on the Charles Mingus instrumental Nostalgia in Times Square. Much of this album, though, bears no more resemblance to music than a wrecker's ball does to sculpture.

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