Picks and Pans Review: Eyes That See in the Dark

updated 10/10/1983 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/10/1983 01:00AM

Kenny Rogers

Having signed Rogers to a reported $20 million-plus, long-term contract last year, RCA no doubt wanted a spectacular first album from him. What they got was a spectacular mismatch: Rogers co-produced by a Bee Gee, singing Bee Gees songs and generally trying to act like John Travolta South. It's painful at some points to hear Rogers trying to wrap his cozy style around the flash-fixated Australian brothers' material. While Rogers' best records have always been storytellers, these 10 tunes, all written by various combinations of the Gibb brothers and their sidekick Albhy Galuten, are full of non sequiturs, clichés and subliterate blathering. (Someone should tell the boys that the phrase "I got"—as in "I got to make it with that woman," "I got a lady in red at the back of my head," or "as long as we got you and I"—is not English. Once in a while, obviously, it's idiomatic and hardly objectionable, but variations appear on seven of these 10 tunes. It's enough to make a listener say, "I got enough of this.") Down-home pals Dolly Parton and the Gatlin Brothers do their best to ride to Kenny's rescue. Parton's duet with him on Islands in the Stream is a noble attempt to exert voice over matter (or lack of it). Larry and the Gatlins, with refreshing backups on Evening Star and Buried Treasure, put Rogers back in his element. He's mostly floundering far out of it on this LP, though. Shall we all just write this off to experience, Kenny?

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