Captain & Tennille

Love Will Keep Us Together

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As debut albums go, Captain & Tennille's coming-out party struck the right chord with their audience -- and not just on the charts, although its showing there certainly outdid all expectations. But there are greater items of interest once you get past the hits, led by the bouncy title track and "The Way I Want to Touch You." Keyboardist Daryl Dragon honed his chops touring with the Beach Boys, whose own emotive choral approach underpins much of this album; no less than four songs here have some connection to the band. Smoldering versions of former Beach Boy Bruce Johnston's "Disney Girls" and "I Write the Songs" stand tallest, with Tennille leading the vocal charge to exceptional effect. There's a haunting, piano-led "Cuddle Up," which Dragon co-wrote with Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson, and a daring revamp of "God Only Knows" which deploys ever-shifting tempos to trip up the listener's expectations (Brian Wilson would surely have approved). (The other intriguing link is drummer Hal Blaine, who graced numerous classic Beach Boys tracks and appears here as a sideman.) Given so many glittering non-originals, it's understandable how the pair's songwriting gets short-shrifted; "Broddy Bounce" is pure instrumental filler, all right. However, wistful anthems like "Gentle Stranger" and "Honey Come Love Me" are quintessential snapshots of what they did best -- providing a kinder, gentler response to the more cynical fare topping the charts at the time. Where Captain & Tennille wanted to go from here remained uncertain, but they were certainly off to a flying start here.

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