Picks and Pans Review: Something Real

updated 05/01/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/01/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Phoebe Snow

She's still got it. It's been eight long years since Snow's last album, yet her voice, a cross between Maria Muldaur and Rickie Lee Jones, is as entrancing as ever. But then Snow has an extra added dimension, a not-so-secret weapon. Her mercurial, often thrilling vocal style packs a shattering knockout punch. She telegraphs it by always first getting just a little nasal in tonality and then, Wham!, there it is, a resonance that gleams like burnished ebony. The only female singer who has come along in recent years possessing this sort of vocal élan is Toni Childs, and it certainly sounds as if Childs spent a considerable amount of time studying Snow's style.

One reservation: Though this album is tastefully appointed from a musical standpoint, most of the songs themselves aren't particularly deserving of Snow's sterling touch. (But then, that's been the story of her career.) The exceptions here are the sharply arranged, sad, bluesy ballad "Touch Your Soul," the gently swaying love song "I'm Your Girl" and "If I Can Just Get Through the Night." The latter, a Peter Anders composition, has been covered by a number of singers, including Sissy Spacek. In Snow's hands, it becomes a sort of up-tempo lullaby for people who didn't really want to go to sleep anyway. Who wouldn't be content to just lie around feigning drowsiness and listening to this lady belt 'em out? It's a pretty good album from a pretty terrific singer. (Elektra)

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