Picks and Pans Review: Nothing Good Comes Easy

updated 10/10/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/10/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Roger Clinton

At last we have the recording debut of the First Brother. The puzzle is why we had to wait so long. After all, if one accepts the truism of the title, this must have been an astoundingly easy album to make.

For the most part, Roger favors a simpy, syrupy pop style that often echoes bad '70s Top 40 music, such as his curdled cover of Blues Image's "Ride Captain Ride." After you hear him "rap" on "Different Man," though, the '70s suddenly seem awfully good. But it's when R.C. tries to get soulful, as on "Mystery to Me" and the title track, that he seems more clueless than Inspector Clouseau.

Clinton's timbre might best be described as a very diminished cross between Dion and Journey's Steve Perry. At least his recorded voice is smooth and his pitch approximate. But anyone who has experienced Roger live and un-filtered knows that his showing here is more a testament to the refining powers of the modern recording studio than it is to any sudden transformation in his talent. What we have here is the aural equivalent of Billy Beer. (Pyramid/Rhino)

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