Kenny Vance

Vance 32

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Much of Kenny Vance's debut solo album sounds (big surprise) a great deal like Jay & the Americans, with a slightly more sophisticated focus -- the way that group might've sounded had they been given the chance to advance into the 1970s, and also explored their own antecedents a little more thoroughly. "Blue Because of You" is easily the best moment on the album, a plunge back into early-'40s harmony vocal pop, with an R&B and small-band focus, but everything here is worth hearing -- more than once -- as Vance ranges across the pop/R&B landscape, all the while putting just enough of a singer/songwriter personality into the work so that this album might even have had a shot at selling at the time. Alas, it was too much of a stretch for radio stations and listeners in 1975, and not even the presence of the Walter Becker/Donald Fagen-authored "Parker's Band" could put it over to a mass public. It holds up magnificently, even three decades later, and is well worth tracking down in any form you can find it (and it has come back out in Japan as an audiophile-quality mini-LP CD and in America on Collectables).

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