Bobby Sherman

The Very Best of Bobby Sherman [Varese]

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Bobby Sherman never got much critical respect during the prime years of his career. Oh, he sold tons of records, to be sure, but the virtues of those recordings were eclipsed by his good looks and the publicity successes of his management, which got him on the cover of every teen magazine in the country, seemingly for four years running. Listening to this collection, it dawns on one just how much respect he did deserve as a singer (and reportedly still does, based on what people say of his 21st century shows). This is bubblegum rock, to be sure, but it's all amazingly "unsticky" for bubblegum rock, and Sherman's delivery on the 18 songs here is solid and effective, and holds up across 40 years. When he delivers the key lines from "Seattle" (the theme song from his series Here Come the Brides), he makes you feel that he feels the "hopes and fears" referred to, and the loneliness behind "time to leave your home and your loved ones" -- and then he turns around and melds into the jauntiness of "Easy Come, Easy Go" just as easily. Sherman then switches gears into the Day-Glo-toned "Hey, Mister Sun," and makes you feel the boundless, easygoing joy around those lyrics. The fact is, Sherman was not only a superb singer but also a better actor than he ever got credit for being, an attribute that he throws into his records and which, coupled with first-rate pop production, makes them work brilliantly, even four decades on. The selection is beyond reproach, showing off the different facets of Sherman's success (including two songs that he co-authored), and the production gives the sound a fresh, crisp vibrancy that will impress anyone who remembers the original records. And the annotation is detailed, informative, and engaging.

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