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Alabama

In Pictures – 1996 (RCA)

Reviewed by Norm Rosenfield

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CDs by Alabama

Fifteen years and still functioning artistically, Alabama delivers once again. This is one diverse photo album, covering the gamut from "Sunday Drive" which sounds like a revved up Commander Cody that's fueled by 90 mph picking, to the single "She Ain't No Ordinary Girl", featuring crystal clear harmonies and simple truth. "It Works" paints a portrait of domestic bliss, warts and all, and yes, it works. The one clunker is "Say I", with its moronic (or catchy, if you prefer) title phrase/hook reiterated ad nauseam. Setting the overall tone, the title cut is a beautiful ballad from a divorced dad's point of view, watching his girl grow up "in pictures."

In general, the warmth generated by this foursome is remarkable; considering Alabama's long, record-breaking track record, one could forgive them for letting a by-the-numbers album to slip out. But their hearts are in the right place, and they value sincerity. Producer Emory Gordy Jr. is manning the ship, and he's easily the most talented musician/producer not yet running his own label. Alabama's pictures may not sport a Rembrandt signature, but these gents are masters within their own realm.