Captain & Tennille
Perhaps no group defines seventies AM radio quite like Captain & Tennille. The duo ruled the charts though the mid-seventies with a brand of non-offensive, yet utterly charming and infectious pop. With Toni Tennille’s voice wrapped around the keyboards and production from her husband, Daryl Dragon, Captain & Tennille ruled the Pop and Adult Contemporary charts from 1975 to 1979. As musical styles changed, Captain & Tennille got left behind. They became the poster children for all that was wrong with music. Their sometimes, schmaltzy, light songs became the object of scorn, when just a few years earlier they were one of the most beloved acts in music. I mean, they had their own TV show, and even their pet bulldogs were celebrities. Of course, in the post Captain & Tennille years, Daryl Dragon’s recording studio ironically became a favorite place for heavy metal bands to record.
It looks like history is casting a kinder light on the duo, as they have a new disc featuring over twenty of their songs with no notable omissions. Signature songs like “Love Will Keep Us Together” and “Do That to Me One More Time,” along with far more minor songs like “Love on a Shoestring,” have all been remastered, and frankly, have never sounded better. Most of these songs I remember hearing on AM radio or jukeboxes, not the best ways to hear music. On this new disc, Toni Tennille’s voice shines. Her crystal clear vocals with heavy syrup could teach some of today’s thin voiced “divas” a lesson. Listening to “Do That to Me One More Time,” I was thinking about what one of today’s pop singers would do with it. I can only imagine the horror of a lush song like that put through the meat grinder by a Britney Spears or totally oversung by a Whitney Houston. Toni Tennille knows how to deliver a song. She understood that you didn’t have to beat the listener over the head. Granted there are some real eye rollers on this disc — “Muskrat Love” comes to mind — but there is also some really nice pop that has yet to be equaled.
Universal Records, 1755 Broadway, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10019