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Barry Manilow 

The Greatest Songs of the Fifties

Wednesday, Feb 1 2006
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Some jokes never get old, but the music of Barry Manilow isn't one of them. For his latest, The Greatest Songs of the Fifties, the Man Who Writes the Songs instead takes a cue from fellow dinosaur Rod Stewart, raiding the catalogs of yesterday's hit-makers for a tasty profit today. The result is an uninspired collection of warmed-over classics, from an unabashedly vanilla take on "Unchained Melody" to an Elvis Presley cover, "Are You Lonesome Tonight," that recalls the King in his youthful heyday ... had he been neutered. For Manilow fanatics who've worn out their copies of Showstoppers and A Christmas Gift of Love, this is precious stuff. Everybody else would be better off saving his money for tickets to the schlockmeister's long-running revue at the Las Vegas Hilton. Or not.

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Rossiter Drake

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