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At the Movies

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Album Review

Nothing would surprise you about the album by Foster & Allen called At the Movies. The cover photo depicts two rather overweight (that's what good living does for you) middle-aged men (Mick Foster was 59 and Tony Allen was 54 at the time of this album) in tuxedos and bow ties and a subtitle for the album, "A 2CD collection featuring 40 classic movie tracks." And that's exactly what you get: no less than 40 songs, sung by the masters of easy listening. Having first charted in 1983, this was their 26th album to hit the charts, not one of them troubling the Top Ten, but when you sell over eight million albums over nearly 25 years, with no reason to suppose the albums will dry up anytime soon, who needs the Top Ten? "Theme from the Godfather," "The Magnificent Seven," "The Entertainer," and "Moulin Rouge (Where Is Your Heart)" are all instrumentals and could have been featured in these forms on one of the themed Geoff Love albums from 35 years earlier. In fact, it could be argued that Foster & Allen were one of the acts who took over those anonymous, highly successful budget albums led by the Top of the Pops series on Hallmark that proliferated in the charts during the early '70s, for they attempt, with a great deal of success in a lot of cases, to make the songs sound as close to the originals as possible — even when the singing doesn't quite match up, the backing music and arrangements are pretty similar. They don't attempt to actually sound like Roy Orbison on "Oh Pretty Woman," or Elvis Presley on "Wild in the Country," or Louis Armstrong on "What a Wonderful World," but the songs' influences are obvious. "Love Is All Around" from Four Weddings and a Funeral was undoubtedly supposed to sound more like Wet Wet Wet than the Troggs, and the guitar introductions to "The Young Ones" and "Summer Holiday" could easily be Hank Marvin (it obviously isn't), but when you buy a double album with 40 tracks at a budget price, you wouldn't expect original artists, original hits. And once you've listened to the tracks, you can attempt to guess why, in some cases, they were included. Most were obvious, big hit songs from famous movies, but "Red River Valley" from The Horse Whisperer, "I Don't Know Why (But I Do)" from Forrest Gump, "Jamabalaya" from Steel Magnolias and "Bye Bye Love" from Ray are not quite so memorable.

At the Movies, Foster
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