Picks and Pans Review: The Way It Is

updated 10/13/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/13/1986 01:00AM

Bruce Hornsby and the Range

The Virginia-born Hornsby is a kind of protégé of Huey Lewis. Lewis and the News included Hornsby's tune Jacob's Ladder (written with his brother John) on their new album, and Lewis appears on this debut LP as a producer on three of these tracks. Every little bit helps, of course, especially in the record business. But Hornsby doesn't need to apologize. As a populist rocker he is certainly in the same league with the Springsteens and the Mellencamps. He sets himself up nicely with his own rough-and-tumble piano playing, which complements his bluesy singing. He and his brother also write songs with bite to them, celebrating the down-and-out and the wanderers among us. In their Down the Road Tonight, Bruce sings of a woman he meets at a brothel: "There were movies in the parlor/ They were dealing one-eyed jacks/ And when I said I loved her/ She said, 'Just keep coming back.' " On his best day, Howard Cosell never told it like it is with such eloquence. (RCA)

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