Picks and Pans Review: I Will Dance with You

updated 07/01/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/01/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Karen Brooks

Among other things, Brooks proves on this album that she can take down the tempo without losing the passion that made her first two albums so striking. This one isn't all ballads by any means. She extracts the rockabilly elements from the Rolling Stones' The Last Time and turns it into a driving country tune; the title track, a surprising duet with Johnny Cash, moves along nicely, despite a choral la-la-la-la-la section that seems to drone on for 15 minutes or so. The most moving part of this album is a series of torchy ballads. Most of them are written by Brooks with Randy Sharp or by Jack Wesley Routh. One of the others, The Last One to Know, is a Jane Mariash-Matraca Berg tune with a wonderfully evocative opening: "I didn't see the fire burn to ashes/ I couldn't feel the wind change/ I was lost inside the passion/ Blinded by the memory of a flame." Brooks' singing is subtle yet penetrating; there's a tinge of Dolly Parton in the way she can add nuance to a lyric by giving a twist to the melody. Some of the change in approach on this album may be due to the fact that Brooks has a new producer, Barry Beckett, who previously has worked with such performers as Shelly West and Bob Dylan. (Brian Ahern, Emmylou Harris' former husband, produced Brooks' first two LPs.) Guitarist Don Kirkpatrick and keyboardist Bill Payne have a couple of nice solo moments. But this is Brooks' show, one that manages to be simultaneously touching and invigorating. (Warner Brothers)

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