Picks and Pans Review: Naughty Baby

updated 08/07/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/07/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Maureen McGovern

If virtuosity paired with a glorious voice were all, McGovern would be a major star. It isn't, and she isn't. And as Ira Gershwin said in another context, isn't it a pity, because McGovern's voice is a remarkable instrument, albeit one that often confuses show with soul.

McGovern can make a real emotional impact. She has done it on other albums and does it at times on this all-Gershwin record. "Things Are Looking Up," which melds nicely into "(I've Got) Beginner's Luck," "Porgy, I's Yo Woman Now" and an adroit blending of "Our Love Is Here to Stay" and "Of Thee I Sing" show her at her vibrant best. 'S wonderful, 's marvelous. McGovern does well by such little known Gershwin as "A Corner of Heaven with You" and "Little Jazz Bird" too.

But how she can let us down! McGovern's a capella opening to "How Long Has This Been Going On" is a delightful surprise. Then the song drowns in an overwrought treatment (as do "The Man I Love" and "Fascinating Rhythm "They Can't Take That Away from Me," which needs at least a little wistfulness, is just strident. McGovern too often seems determined to impress listeners with the power of her voice, forgetting the song's message. (Columbia)

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