Review

The Sandpipers' self-titled long-player followed on the heels of their Top 20 debut album Guantanamera (1966). Although The Sandpipers (1967) did not fare nearly as well -- only making it as high as number 53 -- vocalists Jim Brady, Mike Piano, Richard Shoff, and the mysteriously uncredited Pamela Ramcier turn in a strong dozen-song effort. While the project bears certain stylistic similarities to its predecessor, there are more than a few distinctions between the two. The same team of Mick DeCaro and Mort Garson are back, splitting the arranging chores right down the middle, with DeCaro taking side one and Garson scoring the second. The opening selections were created with the aural illusion of capturing the combo in concert. However, there are more than a few tell-tale signs that both "The French Song" and "Bon Soir Dame" are more accurately described as having been recorded in a studio with echo and canned applause added afterward. The tunes continue in the Sandpipers' tradition of modernizing and reinterpreting exquisite foreign-language folk and pop melodies for presumably Anglo audiences. Ron Deutschendorf -- aka John Denver's acoustic ballad "My Baby" -- which was also done to great effect by Anne Murray and Bobby Darin -- is stunning in its simplicity. Likewise, the pair of Paul McCartney-related Beatles cuts -- "Michelle" and a Spanish-translation of "Yesterday (Ayer)" are respective highlights thanks to their conspicuous minimalism. Comparatively unique are the darkly and wonderfully Baroque-infused "Glass" and the inexpressibly ethereality on Frank Loesser's lullaby "Inch Worm." The gentle, wispy samba on Kuiokalani Lee's "I'll Remember You" retains a realism lost in the overly maudlin approach hindering the multitude of versions -- ranging from Elvis Presley to Tia Carrere. Despite the underwhelming sales and chart placement of the LP, the Sandpipers were far from finished and Misty Roses would be released within a few months of this platter. In 2000, Collectors' Choice Music issued The Sandpipers and Guantanamera onto a two-fer CD, making each in-print for the first time in decades. ~ Lindsay Planer, Rovi

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