Picks and Pans Review: Clean Cut

updated 06/04/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/04/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Barbara Mandrell

As the title implies self-mockingly (one hopes), Mandrell's image is a trifle on the white-bread side. That's why it's such a happy surprise to hear her cut loose on the gutsy, sexy, gospel-tinged I Can Depend on You over organ, choir and backup vocals by co-composer Steve Davis (with Dennis Morgan) and Gene Miller. While it's unlikely that anyone hearing the track will mistake Mandrell for Aretha, it does have a surprisingly soulful passion. The rest of the album is standard Mandrell material: smooth, sometimes glib. Crossword Puzzle (by Steve Dean and Frank Myers) presents a typical Nashville gimmick lyric, Just Like Old Times (Rafe Van Hoy-Deborah Allen) offers a typical Mandrell pepper-upper, and Sincerely I'm Yours (Mack David-Archie Jordan) lapses into some typical syrup mush. Mandrell shouldn't have to apologize for her sweet image, and she never does anything that's less than thoroughly professional. But it's hard to avoid thinking that she could turn heads a little faster and a little more often. (MCA)

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