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Picks and Pans Review: The Joe Brooks Group

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Joe Brooks

Brooks made his fortune writing commercial jingles like Pepsi’s “You’ve got a lot to live.” Then he graduated to producing, directing, scoring, writing movies—You Light Up My Life and If Ever I See You Again, in which he also starred. On this LP he plays piano, sings and also seems to have gone over the scores of his musicians and singers scrawling such directives as “show lack of interest here,” “avoid any sign of feeling” or “pretend to be dozing off.” He himself sings Rag Doll (the 1964 Four Seasons hit) without energy and a dreary version of his own California (with its tired lyrics, such as “Wherever you may roam/ California keeps calling you home”). Then on Light Up My Life, Joe and the group achieve a prodigious musical feat: They make you wish you were hearing Debby Boone.