Picks and Pans Review: More Than You Know
Linda Ronstadt's collection of pop standards, What's New, is admirable in a lot of ways. But nobody said, "Boy, that's what she should have been doing all along." In Toni Tennille's case, though, the temptation's to say exactly that. Tennille is nothing short of splendid in her first record without the collaboration of husband Daryl "the Captain" Dragon (he didn't even make the dedication, let alone the credits, but they are still married and still an act). If she waxes a bit histrionic or sounds a little too much like Sarah Vaughan at times, she also infuses such tunes as But Not for Me, Guess Who I Saw Today? and Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man with personal, thoughtful intensity; the lyrics and melodies seem to come out of her experience, too, not just her vocal cords. (Maybe it's partly an inherited feeling; her father, Fred Tennille, was a singer with the Bob Crosby band in the '30s.) She also adds such unexpected touches as a number of seldom-sung verses to Let's Do It ("The dragon-flies in the reeds do it/Sentimental centipedes do it.../Mosquitoes, heaven forbid, do it/So does every katydid do it"). And she performs the rarely sung-at-all Day Dream by Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn and John Latouche. The arrangements by Count Basie veteran Sammy Nestico are Sinatra-caliber stuff; Do It Again in particular has a swinging, vividly contemporary sound. The 43-piece band includes jazz standouts Louie Bellson on drums, Bill Watrous on trombone and Bobby Bryant on fluegelhorn. This is, indeed, the voice that gave us Muskrat Love and Do That to Me One More Time. But it is obviously one that's capable of making wonderful music too. (Mirage)
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