Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • In the City [Capitol, 1976] B+
  • Sky-High! [Capitol, 1976] B-
  • The Best of Tavares [Capitol, 1977] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

In the City [Capitol, 1976]
It's so simple even arrant schlockmeisters like Lambert and Potter can pull it off. You'll need a dynamite single to set the mood, of course, but if you're patient and work hard there'll be an "It Only Takes a Minute" every year or two. Make sure a couple of the other entries from your songwriting mill are of top quality ("Ready, Willing and Able," "In the City") and then--this is important--fill holes with outside material (Edgar Winter, George Clinton, AWB) for variety. So how come no other disco-oriented vocal group has produced a satisfying album this year? Might as well ask why money is green. B+

Sky-High! [Capitol, 1976]
In the tradition of the produced group, they make hit singles, not albums, and In the City was apparently a fluke. This time they've switched to Freddie Perren, whose affinity for the transcendantly awkward lyric, best represented on the Miracles' City of Angels, here produces such gems as "The mighty power of love/It's got more force than any shove" and "Son you gotta give a heck/You gotta promise to give respect." Three fine tunes, four or five drecky ones. B-

The Best of Tavares [Capitol, 1977]
Anonymous vocally, the creatures of various cheerfully crass producers, these five brothers are professional entertainers without apology, and this is the cream of a lifetime of sweat. Side one crackles through their three best uptempo tracks into "Don't Take Away the Music," which I find tolerable because in this song--one cliche deserves another--music equals love instead of its ever-lovin' self. Side two is silly soulish stuff highlighted by a couple of choice Lambert & Potter oxymorons: "The Love I Never Had" and "Remember What I Told You to Forget." A-