Picks and Pans Review: Hooray for Spinach: the Music of Harry Warren

updated 03/04/1996 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/04/1996 AT 01:00 AM EST

The Manhattan Rhythm Kings

We have questions, all of us fortunate enough to have heard earlier recordings of these performers with their Velcro-close harmonies and Mills Brothers-flavored interpretations of songs from the '20s, '30s and '40s. Why simply Manhattan Rhythm Kings? Isn't it about time this trio, which has played nightclubs and concert halls across the country since the early '80s, extended its sovereignty a bit beyond the Hudson River?

On this tribute album, composer Harry Warren has found sympathetic interpreters. The threesome offers a meltingly lovely version of "At Last," a sinuous "Forty-Second Street" and a buoyant rendition of "Jeepers Creepers." And please, let's not forget the impish, giddy title tribute to a certain iron-rich, leafy green vegetable: "Hooray for spinach/It took you far/Bless all the nourishment/In each candy bar.../Bless the fellow who taught you to kiss/If he taught you to kiss like this." And while we're on the subject of hoorays, hooray for these sunny, sharp arrangements. Long live the Kings. (Cabaret Records, P.O. Box 4034, Garden City, N.Y. 11531. Phone: (800) 955-ROSE)

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