In Case You're in Love

by: Sonny & Cher

Sonny & Cher's third album, and their last success for four years, lacked the unity of their earlier work. By the beginning of 1967, psychedelia was taking hold, but Sonny Bono was at a loss to write or produce music in that mode. Instead, he came up with "The Beat Goes On," a huge hit that sold the album. The rest doesn't match up, though at its worst the album is entertaining, and sometimes it's a bit more -- their version of "You Baby" gets Phil Spector style treatment, embellished with highly animated drumming and some beautiful mandolin trills highlighting the break. Cher's voice is warm enough, but Sonny's brings it down to earth, together they were no threat to the Ronettes. "Monday" is Sonny Bono composed folk-rock in a sub-Spector mode. "Podunk" is a novelty tune with Cher impersonating Mae West, and almost points the way to the battle-of-the-sexes comedy that would ignite the couple's second career. Cher gives a straight folk-pop rendition of Gayle Garnett's "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" and her version of "Stand By Me," along with "You Baby," is her high-point, although the drums are too busy for anyone's good. "Living for You" is Sonny musing on summer, love, and pollination, while the cover of Bob Lind's "Cheryl's Goin' Home," with its driving beat and fuzz-tone guitars, make an inspired ending to the original album. Among the bonus tracks, the waltz-like "Beautiful Story" and the playful "Good Combination" sound like lost movie themes (to different movies), and "Plastic Man" is a Sonny Bono anti-drug user message with a delightfully nasty satirical edge, which runs about a minute too long for its own good. ~ Bruce Eder

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