David Cassidy

A Touch of Blue

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After returning to the U.K. Top Five for the first time in 27 years with his 2001 compilation Then and Now, '70s pop icon David Cassidy attempts to build on this unexpected second wind with the first covers album of his decades-spanning career, A Touch of Blue. With the exception of the string-soaked adaptation of Ella and Buddy Johnson's blues standard "Since I Fell for You" and a rather ill-advised take on Extreme's "More Than Words," where Cassidy sounds more like an out-of-breath pub singer than the accomplished Broadway performer he's since become, the covers hark back to the days of his '60s teenage days and '70s heyday. Although competently performed, the faithful renditions of the Beatles' "Blackbird," the Classics IV's "Spooky," and the Left Banke's "Walk Away Renee" fail to provide anything new to the originals, and it's only when producer Ted Carfrae (Engelbert Humperdinck) veers away from the source material, such as on the gospel-blues reworking of Paul Simon's "Mother and Child Reunion," the jazz-lounge bar retooling of Leon Russell's "A Song for You," and -- in a clever nod to his The Partridge Family past -- the orchestral crooning of the Neil Sedaka-penned "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do," that Cassidy is able to make these timeless songs his own. The album's sole new composition, the self-penned authentic big-band number "New York City Life," suggests it's a shame a few more couldn't have made the cut, especially considering ten of the signature tracks he re-recorded for Then and Now appear on a rather unnecessary bonus disc. But while A Touch of Blue will disappoint his die-hard fans who have been waiting for entirely new material since 1992's Didn't You Used to Be..., it's still a pleasantly affectionate trip down memory lane and should ensure that Cassidy's comeback stays on track.

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