Tower of Strength

Gene McDaniels

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Tower of Strength Review

by Bruce Eder

After an album built on covers of Hollywood-generated songs, Gene McDaniels finally found his stride as an album artist with this, his fifth long-player. Built around the title song, which was also his second big hit, the repertory here gives him a chance to stretch out. There are still a lot of covers of pop songs, some of them pretty retro even in 1962, but sandwiched in between those and the two hit singles, "A Tear" and the title track, are some punchy songs like "He's Got My Sympathy" and "A Little Bit of Soap," plus a fine rendition of the Chuck Jackson hit "I Don't Want to Cry." The production is also more restrained than on earlier albums, and that's all to the good: between McDaniels' more assertive presence and the better songs, this is the place where fans can step beyond the hits collections and begin building a collection of his albums, without having to brace themselves for major weaknesses or inconsistencies.

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