Picks and Pans Review: In a Sentimental Mood

updated 05/29/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/29/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Dr. John

Well, yes, sentimental is true, but the mood is a bit shmaltzy too. The Doc, normally (and justifiably) renowned for his from-the-gut New Orleans piano and vocal style, has backed himself up with a big, stringy orchestra on this album, and the effects are not always pleasing.

A long, rambling instrumental version of Cole Porter's matchless "Love for Sale" is typical. Where did those riffs from the Mission: Impossible theme come from? And his version of Joe Greene's "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin' " borders on the syrupy. The whole project is reminiscent of those albums where such singers as Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole or Lou Rawls (whom Dr. John sometimes sounds like) would take themselves out of the small group settings in which they were most effective and try to croon along with big violin sections. It's still nice to hear Dr. John do "My Buddy" or "Candy," and his duet with Rickie Lee Jones on "Makin' Whoopee" has a kick to it, but there's something painfully restrained about this album. Listening to it is like seeing a tiger on a leash. (Warner Bros.)

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