Picks and Pans Review: Volume 1

updated 05/14/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/14/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Ricky Nelson

He was a little too young and way too white-bready for the bluesier moments of the early R&B tunes in these 1957-60 recordings. But even as a teenager. Nelson had an uncommonly ingratiating style: easy, musical and as smooth as a milkshake.

So he could handle such country crossovers as "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You" with an appealing raw charm, toss off such teen fodder as "Be-Bop Baby" without embarrassing himself, and perform material borrowed from such rockabilly pioneers as Johnny and Dorsey Burnette. There's a trade-off. Unlike Elvis, Nelson never seemed angry or even passionate enough to get at the gutsier blues lines, so there's a detached quality to a lot of these tracks. On the other hand, for someone in a mood to relax rather than to be challenged, this package is a pleasant mix of nostalgia and appealing pop music. If this means that a well-rounded R&B collection should include Presley, Nelson and such pioneering black artists as Fats Domino, so be it. (EMI)

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