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Taking a chance

Star Turtle
Star Turtle
By Harry Connick Jr.

Columbia Records: 1996

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This review first appeared in the August 2, 1996 issue of the North County Times.

Folks looking for an extension of Harry Connick Jr.'s recent popular work won't find it here – there's nary a big band around, no Sinatraesque crooning, no jazz. "Star Turtle" isn't even R&B – this is rock 'n' roll with a New Orleans twist.

It will, in short, alienate and annoy many of Connick's longtime fans.

But it will delight those of a more experimental temperament. This is good stuff, in the Crescent City tradition of Dr. John and Allen Toussaint with a dash of the hard funk of the Meters and even Paul McCartney's 1975 New Orleans-produced album, "Venus and Mars."

The music is so good that the listener can even overlook the fact that this is a concept album &I#150; uncomfortably reminiscent of Styx's "Kilroy Was Here" or anything by the Alan Parsons Project.

Connick deserves credit for taking a chance, for putting out something radically different from his past work, for stretching both his talent and the New Orleans tradition, creating a smart, funky new sound that reminds the listener why New Orleans remains the heart of American music.