Picks and Pans Review: Pass It on Down

updated 07/23/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/23/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Alabama

Continuing to show that you can, so, teach new tricks to old dogs—four middle-aged country music hounds from Alabama, anyway—the renascent group has concocted another surprising, satisfying album.

This is the group's second co-production with Josh Leo—Larry Michael Lee replaced Barry Beckett as the third part of the production corps—and the mix is nicely varied. Though the title nine, written by Alabamans Teddy Gentry and Randy Owen with Will Robinson and Ronnie Rogers, can't quite escape the preachy overtones that afflict most pro-ecology pop tunes, there is something appealing about a line like "How we gonna breathe without them trees."

Similarly, "Goodbye (Kelly's Song)," Owen's love song to his wife, is corny enough to make chowder out of, but its very naïveté has an endearing quality to it: "I guess it's been too much fun/ We've shared and we've won/Yes, the best is yet to come."

The songs from other sources are usually more polished, such as the Beth Nielsen Chapman-Vince Gill tune "Here We Are" and Mike Reid's "Forever's as Far as I'll Go." And the Rick Bowles-Leo song "Down Home" celebrates country life: "Folks know, if they're falling on hard time/ They can fall back on/ Those of us raised up down home." When's the last time an urban pop singer got that complimentary about New York or L.A.—or Duluth for that matter? (RCA)

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