Tompall Glaser

Tompall (Sings the Songs of Shel Silverstein)

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By its very nature, Sings the Songs of Shel Silverstein doesn't dig as deep as Charlie. Tompall wound up picking Silverstein songs that were jokes -- sometimes wry, often dirty -- or danced around emotions instead of baring them. Glaser's weathered voice leant the ballads some considerable weight -- the slow-rolling "Grab a Hold" and "Roll On," the sticky sentimentality of "Echoes," and stately sadness of "Oleander" all gain stature in Tompall's hands. These round out an album that's essentially a party record, anchored by the cheerfully offensive "Put Another Log on the Fire," the carnivalesque "Musical Chairs," the sleepy "Old New Orleans Custom," and the frankly irritating singalong "Country Gospel Good Book Rock & Roll." These are Silverstein at his best and his worst, and if other singers captured his humor better -- Bobby Bare and Dr. Hook spring to mind -- Glaser at least proved himself to be one of his best interpreters here.

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