Music Article

They're Playing Our Songs

New cover albums by Michael Bolton, Def Leppard and Dr. John -- Our back-to-back reviews of ''Bolton Swings Sinatra,'' ''Yeah!,'' and ''Mercernary''

New cover albums by Michael Bolton, Def Leppard and Dr. John

Michael Bolton
Takes On As the title of Bolton Swings Sinatra suggests, the former mullet king covers Ol' Blue Eyes' songbook, including ''New York, New York'' and ''The Second Time Around'' (a duet with fiancée Nicollette Sheridan). And the Point Is He's had massive success with past covers and claims this was always ''a dream project.'' Worth Buying? Sure...on the day every record Sinatra ever made spontaneously combusts. At least Bolton checks his habit of ripping into material the way a lion might a plump gazelle. C-

Def Leppard
Takes On The rockers fill Yeah! with the kind of pop classics (T. Rex's ''20th Century Boy,'' the Faces' ''Stay With Me'') that first inspired them to pick up their instruments. And the Point Is To prove they have more in common with Blondie than with Yngwie Malmsteen. ''It's absolutely fair to say that Def Leppard is a pop band more than anything else,'' guitarist Vivian Campbell recently told EW. Worth Buying? If you don't want to invest in a mediocre wedding band, slip this into the banquet-hall sound system instead. C+

Dr. John
Takes On Mercernary finds the good Dr. remaking the best of legendary lyricist Johnny Mercer, from ''You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby'' to ''Moon River.'' And the Point Is The N'awlins singer wanted to pay tribute to the songwriter he's loved since childhood. Worth Buying? Absolutely. Where Bolton Swings Sinatra and Yeah! often seem like botched kidnappings, Dr. John transforms Mercer's mildly suggestive songs into wildly lascivious bluesy workouts, without their core qualities being damaged. B+

Originally posted May 26, 2006 Published in issue #879 Jun 02, 2006 Order article reprints
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