John Sebastian

Tar Beach

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Released in 1993, Tar Beach is John Sebastian's first album since 1976's Welcome Back, yet it sounds like it could have come out six months later, as if the intervening 17 years had never happened. Very much in the style of Welcome Back or 1974's The Tarzana Kid, Tar Beach is a good-natured, laid-back collection of California-style singer/songwriter pop, somewhere between James Taylor at his most mellow and a less loopy Jimmy Buffett. The songs are at worst inoffensive, but nothing matches Sebastian's best work in the Lovin' Spoonful. Even the best songs, like the summery title track and the relaxed "Don't You Run With Him," are pretty lightweight, although the extended layoff did give Sebastian a decade-plus backlog of songs to choose from and so there are no actual dogs on the album along the lines of Welcome Back's "Let This Be Our Time to Get Along." Tar Beach is charming enough, but it's pretty much inconsequential.

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