George Burns

I Wish I Was Eighteen Again

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George Burns' charming personality cut through the dreadful film soundtrack to 1978's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band when he performed "Fixing a Hole," followed on that record by Alice Cooper's equally exotic rendition of "Because." Two years later Burns almost landed in the Top 40 with "I Wish I Was Eighteen Again," a sequel of sorts to Alice Cooper's debut hit, "I'm 18." Is he country or comedy? As stated above, George Burns is personality. In a cloud of cigar smoke on the front and back covers of this LP the singer is un-p.c. and flagrantly not giving a damn about the hazards of tobacco -- his long life a threat to the accuracy of the Surgeon General reports. And the music inside is a reflection of the fascinating cover photos, the lament of the title track a perfect fit for the television icon. Burns sings on key, though the voice makes up in enthusiasm what it lacks in power. Taking on country material like Tom T. Hall's "One of the Mysteries of Life" as well as "Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine" continues the retrospective theme initiated by "I Wish I Was Eighteen Again." There's a host of musicians backing Burns on this Jerry Kennedy production, classy-sounding country music with a humorous edge. He borrows from Dean Martin for "Old Bones," while "A Real Good Cigar" is a song about his love for women, Glenn Sutton's composition yet another potential signature tune for Burns' spoken word singing. There's a lot of advice from the wise old sage, Dolly Parton's twang of "Nickels and Dimes" blending perfectly with Tim Rice and Marvin Hamlisch's show tune swing of "The Only Way to Go." Delightful is the best description for the star of the Oh, God! films, proof here of the staying power of an old pro.

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