Toni Tennille

Incurably Romantic

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After 25 years, love is still keeping Captain & Tennille together, and the elegant, husky-voiced Toni Tennille dedicates this lush collection of lovelorn standards to her hubby, Daryl Dragon. Interestingly, in finding a pianist collaborator she goes outside her marriage and finds the beautiful touch of Kathy Rubbicco, who draws from blues, jazz, even samba traditions here. She and Tennille together create warmhearted, simple arrangements of classics both overdone ("I've Got a Crush on You") and lesser-known and thus fresher (the frisky "Candy," Ellington's "I Didn't Know About You"). There's no bass and drums, so there's little tempo variation, but the focus is not as much on rhythm as it is on Tennille's powerful, emotional voice. The duet effect is one of powerful intimacy and the singer proves adept at pop, blues, and jazz -- more serious but definitely more emotionally resonant than the playful pop of her Top 40 heyday. Might have been fun if she had done a slow piano-vocal version of her best-known pop hit, just as its writer, Neil Sedaka, did with his classic "Breaking up Is Hard to Do." This will go perfectly in the CD case alongside Harry Connick, Jr. and Michael Feinstein.

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