Picks and Pans Review: Big Daddy

updated 08/29/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/29/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Big Daddy

The usual procedure is for pop music groups to play a standard tune in a new idiom. But on this delightful time warp of an album, five Los Angeles-area musicians cast recent hits in the styles of popular artists of the 1950s. Survivor's 1982 smash Eye of the Tiger, for instance, is performed a cappella as the Coasters or another of the black groups of the New York doo-wop school might have done it. (It sounds much better, incidentally, than the Survivor version.) The McCartney-Wonder hit Ebony and Ivory is offered as a sort of Jerry Lee Lewis-Fats Domino duet. The Star Wars theme sounds like a Duane Eddy instrumental, Pat Benatar's Hit Me With Your Best Shot, done as a ballad, brings back echoes of Gene Vincent, and Rick James' Super Freak is rendered as the Everly Brothers would have crooned it. Big Daddy has not—liner notes notwithstanding—been held captive by Communists in Laos for 24 years. Marty Kaniger, David Starns, Bob Wayne, Tom Lee (who does a mean bom-buh-buh-bom vocal bass line) and Gary Hoffman joined forces to record this first album, though Kaniger and Wayne originally got together in 1973. As good-natured and implicitly respectful of the rock 'n' roll pioneers as Sha Na Na (which usually performs old material), Big Daddy is both musical and funny. It's a perfect album for a surprising change of pace at a party.

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