Telly Savalas: Who Loves Ya Baby?

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180px-Telly_Savalas_Kojak_1973Telly Savalas may possess a likable speaking voice and charismatic screen personality, but this album proves that he has about as much musical talent as he has hair on his head.

Reading “The Men In My Little GIrl’s Life,” for example, he sounds like a fifth runner-up in a Perry Como-for-a-Day competition; the backup, moreover, takes me straight to my dentist’s waiting room. A perfunctory version of Jim Croce’s “A Good Time Man Like Me,” another notable low point, should have the composer turning over in his grave.

“Gentle on My Mind,” however, is my choice for the album’s nadir. Savalas begins the track with a maudlin rap about his long-time love for country music. Then, while a harmonica player and a coterie of other instrumentalists variously audition for Gunsmoke and the Mystic Moods Orchestra, he delivers the song in a manner that shows little understanding of either it or the genre.

Perhaps because Savalas kept this album mercifully brief (31:08) and talked his way through a healthy chunk of its material, it rates a notch above Lou Reed’s infamous Metal Machine Music. Nevertheless, I suspect that this disc will never sound as good on a turntable as it will when it hits my trashcan.

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