Of the nine songs recorded on the final album from the Captain & Tennille's heyday, their second and final disc for Casablanca titled Keeping Our Love Warm, five are written by songstress Toni Tennille while the other four are covers. With the duo's first release of the 1980s, they dip into a jazz/blues bag with their pop leanings still the major force. The conclusion of the album is as good as any 2:00 a.m. bar-closing R&B tune that you'll find, Tennille's dramatic reading of Isaac Hayes' "Your Good Thing (Is About to End)." Rusty Higgins' sax solo plays nicely against Daryl Dragon's fine acoustic piano, the Captain keeping away from his ostentatious bank of keyboards while Bill Severance is on drums. There are three drummers on this album as well as an LM-1 computer, filling in for the first disc without longtime bandmember and famous session player Hal Blaine. The jazz instrumental "Song for My Father" (by Horace Silver) shows what a creative musical bunch this is. This instrumental comes a long way from the "Broddy Bounce" of the Love Will Keep Us Together LP, the keyboard-oriented music the only song written for one of their two dogs. If anything, "Song for My Father" sounds like futuristic Steely Dan with a bit of the "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" bass riff. A cool song for jazz stations to play and blow minds with -- excellent musicology as most listeners probably wouldn't be able to name the group doing this tune so well.
Though the Captain & Tennille were primarily a duo that added drummer Blaine and various backing vocalists, they began expanding their horizons when they signed to Casablanca/Polygram. On this 1980 record, Tennille is so definite on her original "This Is Not the First Time" that she almost sounds like Frida after that singer escaped ABBA in 1983. And check out the remake of her "Gentle Stranger," originally released on Love Will Keep Us Together in 1975 -- there are eight musicians on this version, including that rarity on a Captain & Tennille disc: a guitarist! John Markowski plays that part as well as providing backing vocals. There's a rhythm section of drummer Bill Severance and bassist Steve Nelson, which longtime Captain & Tennille fans can compare with the original work of Hal Blaine and Daryl Dragon on this song just for fun. The husband-and-wife team of Tennille and Dragon were pointing in the right direction here, and maybe it was Neil Bogart moving on to form Boardwalk Records right before he died that factored into this beautiful album not getting the recognition it deserved. The momentum they worked so hard to build evaporated in record label politics, which is a shame, as Tennille's voice on the Buddy Johnson classic "Since I Fell for You" and strong songwriting on this disc prove she is as brilliant a singer as she is a songwriter, on a level with Melissa Manchester, Harriet Schock, Ellie Greenwich, and other legendary female pop composers/vocalists. Covering Isaac Hayes and David Porter's "Your Good Thing (Is About to End)" and Stevie Wonder's sublime "Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)" is just the frosting on the cake.