From the tubs to the turntable, it's a Cinderella story for Bette Midler's pianist-producer, who had the good luck to grab on to the right skirts at the right time and be carried to semistardom. His first solo album, co-produced by Ron Dante, is a showcase of what one very ambitious nightclub hack can and cannot do. What Manilow can do is write and sing minor-league ballads, the best of which, "I Am Your Child," he co-authored with Marty Panzer. As a crooner, Manilow communicates an ingenuous enthusiasm, phrasing his light agile tenor like a young Jack Jones. The album's one tour-de-force is "Cloudburst," a technical response to Midler's "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy." Here, Manilow acquits himself expertly as a scat singer doing all the vocals a la Lambert-Hendricks-Ross. There is little else of much interest. Manilow's rock singing is cold and slick and his writing devoid of personality or substance. (RS 149)
(Posted: Dec 6, 1973)
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