Picks and Pans Review: Golden Throats: the Great Celebrity Singoff

updated 08/15/1988 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/15/1988 01:00AM

Various Artists

This astounding anthology seems to have emanated from some severely twisted parallel universe. Classic songs from the '60s and '70s by the likes of the Beatles and Dylan are horribly mauled by a variety of lesser Hollywood celebrities, none of whom had any business in a recording studio. The music is the kind you usually hear piped into elevators, and the "singers" make the late Lome Greene (whose own "musical" efforts are not represented) sound like Terence Trent D'Arby. Leonard Nimoy, for instance, gamely woofs his way through a big, muddy version of Proud Mary. To prove how with it he is, Nimoy pointedly pronounces the rhyme "turning/burning" as "toining/boining." Groovy, Leonard. Nimoy's shipmate from the Enterprise, William Shatner, turns out to have an appetite for chewing microphones as well as scenery. He delivers spectacularly overblown readings of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and Mr. Tambourine Man. Mae West uses up the 20th century's entire supply of tremolo in one short, tooth-rattling rendition of Twist and Shout. Eddie Albert tops a loose accompaniment on Blowin' in the Wind with lyrical phrasing that's stiffer than uncooked linguine. Jim Nabors does You Are the Sunshine of My Life. Nuff said? The only unsour note struck on Golden Throats is that of Sebastian Cabot reciting Bob Dylan lyrics to It Ain't Me Babe. The arrangement is strictly from Mantovani Strings, but Cabot's froggy spoken delivery sounds remarkably like Tom Waits's singing. That interesting effect turns out, however, to be merely an accident. On Like a Rolling Stone, Cabot sounds more like Mr. Rogers. All these atrocities were dredged up from albums the actors misguidedly recorded at one time or another—such as Jack Webb's You're My Girl. Drug rehab centers might consider using copies of Golden Throats as desperation therapy for the hardcore cases. One listening would scare anyone straight. (Rhino)

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