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Various Artists, “A Song for My Father” **1/2

June 13, 2007
Go and Do Michigan Magazine

Call this Rock Stars: The Next Generation, and if there’s no shock in this future, there’s at least confirmation of a fairly talented genetic jean (sic) pool. The 14-track album, available solely at Target stores, features artists’ children having a go at their dads’ songs with an affinity their own fathers probably couldn’t have shown for their parents’ music. Most of the interpretations here are faithful, though the album’s best — and lead-off — track, Salvador Santana’s rendition of “Evil Ways,” accelerates the sultry groove of the Santana band arrangement into high-speed, brassy funk-rock with sharp dynamics and a rap for good measure. Devon Allman’s Honeytribe makes a more subtle alteration to the Allman Brothers Band’s “Midnight Rider,” using electric rather than acoustic guitar to give the song a more raw kind of bite and drive, while Spencer Gibb & 54 Seconds take a more epic approach to the Bee Gees’ early ’70s hit “Run to Me.” Wilson Phillips divides and mostly conquers with an airy treatment of the Beach Boys’ “Warmth of the Sun” by Carnie and Wendy Wilson and a lightly trippy take on the Mamas and the Papas’ “Got a Feeling.” The female voice of Jen Chapin is a bit jarring on Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle,” but most of the other participants — including A.J. Croce, Ivan Neville and Ben Taylor — sound like younger images of their fathers. Given their legacy, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.