Don McLean

Prime Time

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McLean went in a dozen directions on this 1977 release. There are wild tunes like "Jump" (with great piano playing by Howie Wyeth), solemn ones like "The Statue," which is a solo vocal and string quartet (15 years before Elvis Costello's The Juliet Letters), and back-to-the-roots banjo playing on "Redwing." McLean has always believed in the power of melody and worked against the stereotype he was saddled with because of "American Pie." His albums are generally not commanding, but they demonstrate a loving breadth of material and his committed enthusiasm. The CD reissue adds one bonus track, "If You Can Dream."

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