Picks and Pans Review: Read My Lips
With his first solo album, Waybill, lead singer for the Tubes, has surpassed all expectations. The Tubes, standard-bearers of the San Francisco '70s avant-garde movement, had been known for their guerrilla-theater performances and mordant cult hits, such as White Punks on Dope and What Do You Want From Life. Of late the group has been moving toward the pale of Casey Kasem; their recent LP Outside Inside even went Top 20. But it took Waybill, on his own, to put together a real chart buster. You're Still Laughing, which kicks off this record, is driven by the power-chord guitar of Toto's Steve Lukather and the deft drumming of Jerry Marotta, and is as strong as the Tubes' best offering, Talk to Ya Later, from the Completion Backward Principle album. Both these songs are collaborations of Waybill, Lukather and David Foster, the sound-smart producer of Read My Lips and the last two Tubes records, as well as Kenny Rogers. That triumvirate is responsible for five cuts here, including the ringing funk of Star of the Show. Though Waybill's voice has oft been maligned, he handles the intricacies of the Bryan Adams-style love song, I Don't Even Know Your Name (Passion Play). The musicianship overall is first-rate, the arrangements as slick as the Ted Templeman-produced albums of the Doobie Brothers. This is most apparent on Who Loves You Baby, on which Larry Klein burns up his bass, and I Could've Been Somebody, with its high harmonies. The lyrics from the latter, including a reference to Palookaville, are inspired by Marlon Brando's speech in On the Waterfront. This is unlikely source material for Waybill, since Read My Lips proves that he is a contender. (Capitol)
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