Picks and Pans Review: Nobody Wants to Be Alone
Give Gayle credit for nerve, anyway. Not everybody would try to sing God Bless the Child, the cynical, nuance-laden Arthur Herzog-Billie Holiday song. Gayle's version is hardly definitive—Blood, Sweat and Tears came closer to Holiday's poignant rendition—but it's an interesting try. That can't be said for much else on this album. There's a thoughtful new song, co-written by Paul Williams (where's he been lately?) with Steve Davis, Love Does That to Fools. And Gayle's former producer, Allen Reynolds, adds an affecting tune, Coming to the Dance, which he wrote with Charles Cochran. It's tempting to wish Reynolds had had more to do with this album. He and Gayle had their own problems in creating a reasonably coherent style for Gayle. But Jimmy Bowen, Gayle's current producer, seems to be guiding her along a straight, narrow and not very exciting path that is just a tad to the rural side of the middle of the road. Gayle's touches of open, country-girl vulnerability have always been a major part of her often considerable charm. When she forsakes those touches in favor of homogenized pop sound, as she does on this album, she competes in another arena altogether. Not only is she not Billie Holiday, she's not Olivia Newton-John, Diana Ross or Sheena Easton. (Warner Brothers)
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