Sunday Slams: Three Dog Night

THREE DOG NIGHT: “Around The World With Three Dog Night” (Probe).

I’m sure I’m not the only person in this country who can’t see why Three Dog Night are so popular on the other side of the Atlantic. They seem to strike an uneasy relationship between rock and easy listening, represented at both poles by “Mama Told Me Not To Come” (which is given a very strange–almost jokey–treatment) and “Pieces of April.” What they do have going for them, though, is excellent taste in music. Even more of a pity, then, that the work of some of the best contemporary–Hoy Axton (“Never Been To Spain,” “Joy To The World”), Paul Williams (“The Family Of Man,” “Out In The Country,” “An Old Fashioned Love Song”), Laura Nyro (“Eli’s Coming”) and Randy Newman (“Mama Told Me Not To Come”)–should get such clean and wholesome, and consequently uninspiring treatment. It’s particularly noticeable on the antiseptic version of Greyhound’s “Black and White” which is delivered without feeling for either the reggae beat or the lyrics. As You might expect from the reports of the vast earnings made by the band on their US tours, they’re pretty adept at recreating their hits live–this double album is mostly made up of versions of singles. They do attempt a few instrumentals: an organ solo and a drum solo which are hardly likely to set the world on fire and a dreadful jam, which is hampered by the vocalists join in with a few  “feel all rights.” They should stick to singles–and, preferably, America.