Picks and Pans Review: Shelter from the Night

updated 12/07/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/07/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST


Marlon Hargis has been replaced on keyboards by Lee Carroll to no apparent detriment. This country-pop group remains one of Nashville's most consistently engaging acts. New producer Elliot Scheiner has worked with Ashford & Simpson, Van Morrison, Billy Joel, Chaka Khan and Olivia Newton-John in various capacities, and he doesn't seem to have gotten in the way of Exile's demonstrated ability to sidle across genre lines. Feel Like Foolin' Around, for instance, gets into a funky rock groove, while My Heart's In Good Hands comes closer to a traditional country sound. J.P. Pennington, who shares lead vocal turns with Les Taylor (they're both strong voiced and flexible), writes most of the group's songs with bassist Sonny Lemaire. But this LP includes a tune written by Bruce Hornsby and Bernie Taupin. Titled Fly on the Wall, it is about a spurned lover's fantasy and might be the theme for the National Association of Voyeurs: "Just to look down and see your sweet poison/ Or to hear your love call/ Just a spot between the bed and the ceiling/ Enough room for a fly on the wall." More typical is the energetic title tune about a drifter wandering into a saloon: "Across the bar, see her there/ Black-lace legs, neon hair/ She said, 'Hey, stranger, what do you think?/ I ain't Liz Taylor, but you ain't James Dean.' " In these guys' case, being in Exile is nothing to be ashamed of. (Epic)

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