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Crossword Puzzle

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Album Review

Crossword Puzzle was the eighth LP from the Partridge Family — a multimedia, made-for-TV project that hit marketing pay dirt learning lessons from the success of the Monkees' manufactured origins, as well as the real-life pop/rock family the Cowsills. As a weekly prime time sitcom, The Partridge Family ran on ABC-TV from September 25, 1970, through August 31, 1974. As musical artists, they further mimicked the Monkees' phenomenon by having primary cast members — in this case, Shirley Jones (vocals) and David Cassidy (vocals) — as the group's lead vocalists. Accompanying Cassidy and Jones was a veritable who's who of studio heavyweights such as Hal Blaine (drums), Larry Carlton (guitar), Joe Osborne (bass), and Larry Knechtel (keyboards). They were joined by the painfully sweet backing vocals of the six-member Love Generation, who participated to some degree on every one of the Partridge Family's LPs. Judging by not only the lackluster chart performance (number 146), but also the complete absence of a 45 rpm single in the States, it is fair to say all remaining vestiges of Partridge-mania were becoming significantly depleted. For the most part, the formulaic unaffected pop song style of Wes Farrell, Terry Cashman, and Tommy West had grown stale. In fact the best material on Crossword Puzzle comes from Tony Romeo's lush emotive ballad "As Long as There's You," which points in the direction of Cassidy's solo efforts. Of the lighter fare, another Romeo tune, "It Means I'm in Love With You," has an airy bubblegum lilt that glides through the catchy melody. These highlights detract from the simply awful "Let Your Love Go" or the half-baked "It's a Long Way to Heaven" — both of which are little more than mediocre filler. [In 2003, Crossword Puzzle (1973) was issued on CD with informative liner notes as well as a reproduction of the original "novelty" LP jacket, a signature of Partridge Family releases.]


Formed: 1969

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s

The Partridge Family was the '70s successor to the Monkees. Both were totally fictional rock/pop "bands" produced by Screen Gems, the television branch of Columbia Pictures. While the Monkees (TV series and band concept) were styled as mid-'60s counter-culture zaniness à la the Beatles' film Hard Days Night, the Partridge Family was strictly wholesome with traditional family values despite the lite quasi-hip tone of the show. The top-rated series first-aired on ABC from 1970 to 1974, premiering September...
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