Picks and Pans Review: Woman to Woman

updated 10/23/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/23/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Cleo Laine

For her latest album, Laine decided to include only songs by female composers and lyricists. On the face of it, an admirable idea; upon listening to the collection, a somewhat empty notion, since the only prerequisite seemed to be that the song be written by a woman, not that it offer a discretely female perspective. One might quibble with some of the song choices (the overrated and over-recorded "Both Sides Now" by Joni Mitchell and "Come in from the Rain" by Melissa Manchester and Carole Bayer-Sager) and some of the composers (why two songs by Melissa Manchester and nothing by the too-frequently-unsung Fran Landesman?), but the real problem is a sameness in tone and arrangement—slow and a bit lugubrious. As a result, a treasure like "My Favorite Year," written for the movie of the same name and then discarded, is buried among "In the Days of Our Love," Judy Collins's "Since You've Asked" and Laine's own "Secret Feeling.". There is occasional relief with the bossa nova-flavored "Inside a Silent Tear" by Blossom Dearie and Linda Albert, and "I Love You Truly," which slowly picks up steam and jazz. Laine, no stranger to excessive stylization, is far more effective on those numbers than, say, with "I'll Never Smile Again. (RCA Victor)

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