Lynda Carter

Portrait

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It's easy to discount crossover albums by Hollywood stars as either a publicity stunt or the indulgence of a celebrity at the peak of their popularity. Following the second season of her wildly successful turn as the star of CBS's Wonder Woman television series, actress Lynda Carter crossed over into the pop world with her recording debut Portrait. Fortunately, hers was an indulgence worth taking. As it turns out, long before she wielded the lasso of truth or flew an invisible jet, Carter had sung in bands as an Arizona teenager, even dropping out of college to pursue a short-lived music career in San Francisco. She eventually landed in L.A. and in 1975 earned the acting role which made her an icon, but music had been a major part of her life and she now had the power and connections to pick up that thread. Dripping with the production gloss of the late '70s, Portrait is a collection of light pop ballads and occasional uptempo numbers, three of which were co-written by Carter. Two of the tracks, "All Night Song" and the Carter-penned "Toto (Don't It Feel Like Paradise)," were issued as promotional singles with "Toto" (alongside another Carter original) even being written into a 1978 episode of Wonder Woman. Her voice is tuneful and pleasantly husky and the material is delivered with confidence. The most recognizable of the tracks is a cover of Billy Joel's "She's Always a Woman," but by and large, there just isn't enough stand-out material to distinguish Portrait as a pop success. Carter proves she has fine chops and the album is well-played, but perhaps with a stronger set of songs it might not have taken her another 30 years to record her follow-up. As it is, Portrait is a friendly and unassuming late-'70s pop vocal album and a curiosity for Carter's admirers.

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