Picks and Pans Review: On My Own

updated 02/10/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/10/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

Lew DeWitt

DeWitt, 47, was a founding member of the Statler Brothers but had to quit the quartet in 1981 when he underwent surgery for Crohn's Disease, an intestinal problem. There is obviously some bitterness over the fact that the Statlers replaced him permanently (with Jimmy Fortune). DeWitt even signed an agreement not to use the group's name, so on the cover of this album it says only that DeWitt is a "former tenor for an internationally famous country group"; nowhere does the name "Statler Brothers" appear. Whether or not he misses the other Statlers in a personal sense, his first solo album suggests that he is not quite the force as an individual that he was in providing the high end of the Statlers' rich harmonies. He's a sweet-voiced, smooth singer but without a tremendous amount of personality. His material is mixed. His own tune about a jilted man trying to muddle through, Flowers on the Wall, includes one of those felicitous country music lines: "Smokin' cigarettes and watchin' Captain Kangaroo/Now don't tell me/I've nothin' to do." And DeWitt handles the pop standard You'll Never Know With some flair. On the other hand, Franklin Hunt's Show Me Someone Making Plans to Leave is one of the dumbest message songs in a long while: "Leaders of the world need a plan for peace/People now talk about the coming of the beast/Others making plans to attend their final feast/Nations making plans to invade the Middle East." DeWitt's backup band, a studio group that includes such usually top-notch musicians as pianist Pig Robbins and drummer Jerry Carrigan, seems listless, as if they're waiting for an inspiration that was delayed en route to the studio. And DeWitt sounds likable but faceless—like one of those guys who used to pop out of Lawrence Welk's band to take a solo every once in a while. (Compleat)

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