Brian Collins

That's the Way Love Should Be

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Brian Collins' album cover to That's the Way Love Should Be finds the ABC/Dot label utilizing a photo and color scheme one would expect on releases from Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy. It hardly is representative of the decent blend of country and pop material found inside, music anticipating the eventual merger of these two genres but still a bit out of time. Noted producer Jim Foglesong gives an island feel to the remake of Jay & the Americans' hit "Come a Little Bit Closer," but the Wes Farrell/Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart composition is indicative of the quandary the artist finds himself in here. The pure pop of that number is in conflict with the country rendition of Jim Croce's "Workin' at the Car Wash Blues" or country & western staple "Six Days on the Road." Folk-pop artist Livingston Taylor had recently covered that title, as had the Flying Burrito Brothers, so it's a bit redundant here. The title track reaches for the success Ronnie Milsap eventually hit, adult contemporary fused with a dash of country, and that theme continues on Mickey Newbury's "Sweet Memories," a tune covered by everyone from Brenda Lee, the Everly Brothers, and Willie Nelson to even Andy Williams. There's no doubt the singer listened to Elvis, and his admiration for the King serves him well on "I'd Still Be in Love With You," a song suited to Collins' '70s hair style and clean-cut good looks. It's an image that didn't entirely fit the overall sound of the rest of the LP. Country music had yet to embrace Kenny Rogers as a hitmaker, while Olivia Newton-John was just establishing her crossover appeal. When going all out with the pop on this disc, the artist delivered the goods, and one wonders how much more successful he could've been had he aimed more directly at the Top 40.

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