Roger Whittaker

The World of Roger Whittaker [Pair]

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This 16-track, 54-minute discount-priced anthology eschews the greatest-hits approach (the nearest thing is the 1978 easy-listening chart entry "If I Knew Just What to Say") in favor of Roger Whittaker's takes on ballads and light pop songs of the 1970s, most associated with other performers. As usual, Whittaker's interpretations are simultaneously warm and uninvolved, which means he is more effective on the more generic material but out of his depth with the relative complexity of "Imagine" or "Send In the Clowns." Yet his unvarying evenness of tone can also do a disservice to songs that have benefited from more impassioned readings -- for example, in Barbra Streisand's hands, "Evergreen" sounds like a powerful song not just because she's a great singer, but also because she brings such conviction to it. Listen to Whittaker sing it, and you realize what a mediocre song it is.

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