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RECORD RACK

Semi-secular Throwbacks

March 01, 1987|DON WALLER

"LIFETIME FRIEND." Little Richard. Warner Bros. Ooh, mah soul . Given his having recently scored a left-field mini-hit with a scene-stealing performance of "Great Gosh A'Mighty" in "Down and Out in Beverly Hills," it's hardly surprising that '50s rock legend Little Richard, who's been pounding pulpits instead of pianos for the last several years, would wax an album's worth of similar semi-secular throwbacks, all sung with real religious fervor. There's a definite message in this music even if it doesn't mention Him by name, and although this particular brand of joyful noise tests the sonic limits of what constitutes "contemporary Christian" expression, too often the combination of drum machines and bedrock-of-ages gospel offers little more than a classic example of the master (Richard) aping the pupil (Prince). Other than the aforementioned hit, nothing else here weds the spirit and the flesh in anything but the most idle worship.

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