Picks and Pans Review: Things Are Swingin'

updated 11/14/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/14/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

Toni Tennille and the Matt Catingub Big Band

Let's get something straight: This album is not in the same league as Peggy Lee's classic Things Are Swingin'. Tennille, best known as half of the popular '70s duo the Captain and Tennille, lacks the jazz great's easy, swingy nonchalance, particularly in covers of such signature Lee songs as "Alright, Okay, You Win" and the title cut. Tennille is sometimes off-key and often arch as she pushes through coy versions of other pop standards, like "Makin' Whoopee" and "It's So Nice to Have a Man Around the House." One problem is Tennille's insistence on overselling her numbers. She leans hard on the lyrics as if fearful that her listeners will miss, for example, Lorenz Hart's sharp wit in "I Wish I Were in Love Again" ("When love congeals/ it soon reveals/ the faint aroma of performing seals"). The disc is best when Tennille returns to her Alabama roots with charming takes on "Pardon My Southern Accent" and "Memphis in June." For the rest of it, though, Things Are Swingin' goes south. (Purebred)

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