Picks and Pans Review: Playin' It Cool

updated 11/26/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/26/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

Timothy B. Schmit

Schmit, vocalist and bass player for both Poco and the Eagles, has rounded up a plenary session of the L.A. musical mafia for this solo album. His cohorts include John David Souther, Rita Coolidge, ex-Eagles Don Henley and Joe Walsh, Jeff Porcaro, David Paich and Beach Boy Carl Wilson. For the last 15 years these guys (and a few friends absent here) have specialized in two areas. One is the ever-so-sensitive love song, with themes that recall a line from Shelley, "I fall upon the thorns of life; I bleed." On Playin' It Cool, Schmit mines this vein with the honey-dipped Lonely Girl and Tell Me What You Dream. Then there is what has come to be known as California rock. If the recent explosion of new music has bumped the L.A. troubadors of pop from Top 40 to the easy-listening format, Schmit fights early retirement from the charts with such rockers as Something's Wrong and Gimme the Money. But on these tunes, as on a new version of Henley's 1982 hit Dirty Laundry, the nasty side of rock 'n' roll is repressed. Schmit shows his greatest originality on So Much in Love, a cover of the 1963 Tymes song, and Voices. Both these cuts, on which Schmit overdubs his own harmonies with scant musical accompaniment, sound fresh. For all the friends Schmit has sitting in on the LP, he is still most impressive when he is far from the mellowing crowd. (Asylum)

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