Michael Franks

Dragonfly Summer

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    5
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Influenced by such greats as Mose Allison and Bob Dorough, the sly and subtle Michael Franks lacks their chops, but has been quite clever and inventive at times. Dragonfly Summer isn't one of the pop/jazz singer's better albums, but it has its moments. Though Franks does most of the songwriting himself, he's often at the mercy of various producers. The CD's strongest material (including the haunting "String of Pearls" and the inspired ode to Thelonious Monk, "Monk's New Tune") was produced by the Yellowjackets, while the songs produced by the ever-contrived Jeff Lorber are forgettable and pedestrian. On the Brazilian-influenced, Ben Sidran-produced "You Were Meant for Me," Franks forms an unsuccessful duet with a 70-something Peggy Lee -- who had long since lost her voice, and sounds truly awful.

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