Picks and Pans Review: We Will

updated 11/27/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/27/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

Butch Baker

Raised in Sweetwater, Tenn., a minister's son possessed of a deep rumble of a voice with just the right touch of Hank Williams Jr. twang, Baker was born to be a country singer even if his real name is Theodore. At 31, he has served a standard apprenticeship—playing clubs, doing demo work, writing for a music publishing company in Nashville—and was in good position to hit the ground singing on this debut album. Produced by Harold Shedd, onetime mentor for Alabama and K. T. Oslin, it contains an engaging mix of songs that allows Baker to demonstrate his versatility.

That range covers both the ability to rock along jauntily on Freddy Weller's "Playing with Her Sweet Thing" to crooning the almost but not quite sappy Eric Clapton ballad "Wonderful Tonight." The innocently romantic, positive tone of most of the lyrics—hey, Butch, hasn't anyone told you there's a war between the sexes going on?—comes through strongest on the title track, by Tony Haselden and Stan Munsey Jr., and the Bob McDill-Bucky Jones tune "You Wrote the Book on Love."

The record store country music bins already runneth over these days with promising new talent, but this is a case where "the more the merrier" says it exactly. (PolyGram)

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