Normally, I love tribute CDs, but there's a proviso: ya gotta do something a little bit different with the songs, you don't just play 'em straight out. We can get that 24-7-365 at every corner bar from here to Sheboygan, so what's the point? Fortunately, Rick Devin ain't bad at this schtick, but I have about 100 such discs in my collection…after getting rid of the ones like this.
Devin recruited one of the clunkiest backbench drummers around, Chet McCracken, whose beats here inspire more insomnia than has been the case for the too many years in his session work (yeah, he was with the Doobs for while, but that wasn't exactly a burning item in anyone's thoughts at any point). Not the most advantageous move. Devin chose a stream of good tunes, playing a multitude of instruments on each track and quite well, but when the cuts vary so damnably little from the originals, and I mean damn little, the entire affair ends up puzzling.
Justin Hayward, guitarist for the Moody Blues, tried this in '94 with his Classic Blue release, but picked up Mike Batt and the London Symphony Orchestra to finesse out moony versions of songs like MacArthur's Park, Didn't We, and a dozen others—uber-saccharine, oversweetened, but damnably attractive withal. He also did a tribute to his own group's music, Classic Moody Blues Hits, this time with the Frankfurt Rock Orchestra and Saga's Michael Sadler, scoring another winner with tunes that didn't veer very radically away from their sources but sufficiently enough to woo the consumer.
Devin has talent, no two ways about it, but not a whole lot of creativity upon standards. This CD is for those who love the songs—and there's plenty of reason for that—but only want to hear the same thing yet again, this time through someone else's vocal chords.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2007, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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