Love Will Keep Us Together

Captain & Tennille

Casablanca, 1976

REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg


Let’s just get the best thing about this review out of the way right off -- I got to tease the rest of the Vault’s writing staff for months, asserting repeatedly that they’d never guess what my first purchased album was.  Many names were bandied about, including Michael Bolton, Barry Manilow, the Bay City Rollers, Tiny Tim and the Bee Gees.

Worthy guesses all, but back in 1976 the honors went to none other than Captain and Tennille.

Yes, at age 13, right about the time my mom drove me down to Pacific Stereo in San Rafael so that I could lay down something like 59 big ones for a turntable, I bought my very first LP record, whose cover features a dork in a yachting hat, the perkiest woman ever to wear a blonde pageboy, and two astonishingly ugly dogs.  What my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 was I thinking…?

The truth is, I was a closet romantic.  Yeah, in my never-been-kissed stage I pretty much bought the whole nine sugar-coated, rosy-colored yards of a lyric like “Love Will Keep Us Together,” with those almost-but-not-quite cool keyboard tones bouncing along underneath.  As a pop act, C&T were a slightly hipper husband-and-wife doppelganger of label-mates the Carpenters.  Sure, they worshipped Neil Sedaka -- he wrote “Together” along with a couple of their other chart hits -- but they actually had stronger ties to those original sunny pop masters the Beach Boys. 

Captain (a.k.a. Dayrl Dragon) had in fact earned his nickname as part of the Beach Boys’s live act (they nicknamed him “Captain Keyboards” because of the hat) and on this debut disc, C&T covered two songs written by former Beach Boy Bruce Johnston (“Disney Girls” and “I Write The Songs”) as well as a track co-composed by Dragon and Dennis Wilson (“Cuddle Up”).  Finally, they also cover the Brian Wilson classic “God Only Knows,” which shows guts if not wisdom.

To be fair, Dragon is a talented arranger and Tennille has a nice voice.  That said, this album has all the substance of cotton candy.  It’s been suggested by other reviewers that albums like Love Will Keep Us Together provided a counterpoint to and/or escape from the pervasive cynicism of the post-Watergate mid-70s.  Which is accurate enough, but it doesn’t change what comes out of your speakers when you put this disc on -- feather-light, 100-proof saccharine.

In the end, other than to acknowledge the fact that there is a place in this world for shallow, sickly-sweet romanticism -- there must be, or there wouldn’t be so damn much of it around -- the most positive thing I can say about this album today is that it doesn’t have “Muskrat Love” on it.   For that, we can all be grateful.

Rating: D+

User Rating: C+


You gotta be kidding me? This is the best (worst) you could come up with? Holy shamoley. And here I was expecting something really awful. I love love love C&T -- and I think you're being too hard on them, and yourself! Tennille's voice is much more than "nice" and, yeah, the debut certainly isn't sugar-free. But it WAS the 70s and "Love Will Keep Us Together" is pop perfection. I have the Ultimate Collection on CD if you want to borrow it ... I won't tell.
Jason, Michael, it's OK -- we can get you help. Really. The first step is admitting you have a problem. :)
I have this album, but I've never listened to anything else but "love will keep us together. Just that one song takes the album above D+. Why are record reviewers so mean?

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