Kenny Vance and The Planotones
Soundtrack to The Doo Wop Era: A Kenny Vance Collection
Ace Records Ltd.
Your typical store-bought CD shines, but I think they put Mr. Vance through an extra layer of diamond honing to get a sound this smooth. Kenny Vance claims a rock and roll heritage dating back to the street corner singers of the ’50s. He sang for Jay and the Americans, worked with Broadway producers Leiber and Stoller, and scored more than a few nostalgia films. Unlike so many fading stars from that era, his singing and production values are as high as ever and there’s no embarrassment in his show.
Mr. Vance’s voice is a gem, and while his production and backing are slick, it’s all a frame for his vocal cords. The unadorned singing puts all the fun back in those tired oldies like “Shaboom” and “Willie and The Hand Jive.” Slightly mournful jazz creeps in (“Lonely Way,” “Touch Will Tell”), but the overall tone here is clean and pleasant music, the sort of stuff that AM Oldies station up at The Villages play, but without the annoying crackle of power lines. Better yet, there’s no Wolfman Jack wannabe DJ.