Bobby Sherman

Portrait of Bobby

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Bobby Sherman's last two chart songs of the seven that entered the Top 40 between 1969-1971 appeared on Portrait of Bobby, a pink gatefold album with an easel to cut out and assemble, along with an offer to join the Bobby Sherman fan club. "Cried Like a Baby" was not the Box Tops hit from 1978 -- that was actually "Cry Like a Baby." This tune was composed by legendary singer/songwriter Paul Williams, along with Craig Doerge. Though it did enter the Top 20, Sherman's radio power was on the wane and this title lacked the irresistible and immediate charm of a "Julie Do Ya Love Me." The Top 30 entry from May 1971, "The Drum" was written by Alan O'Day, author of the brilliant "Heavy Church" for Three Dog Night. "The Drum" is an interesting Harry Betts/Bobby Sherman arrangement, borrowing heavily from the style with which Tony Orlando was finding success. Ward Sylvester's production is slick and actually quite realized. Sherman's voice is better than on previous albums, the television star finally finding a groove after years of effort, having recorded a bunch of singles before "Little Woman" finally hit for him in 1969. Bill Holman's arrangement of "Step My Way" would also be perfect for Tony Orlando & Dawn, specifically that group's 1973 underrated epic New Ragtime Follies. It's top-notch bubblegum/sunshine pop, though, for non-believers, the material can get overbearing. "I'm in a Tree," from the musical production Prettybelle, veers off into adult contemporary, though a bit too cutely. Sherman does a monologue about the fire department and saving a cat stuck in a tree -- humorous for the people who know about his real-life transformation from teen idol to EMT. It's too bad the singer didn't make the jump into the middle-of-the-road world that was just starting to become extremely popular -- the Carpenters and Helen Reddy enjoyed hits from the pens of those who created Sherman's popular songs on this release. It is also a shame producer Sylvester didn't recruit a Lesley Gore or Brenda Lee to step in and duet with the star -- some outside influences would have enhanced this interesting episode.

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