BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Oftentimes there’s a narrow divide between frothy pop and determined rock, and leaning too far in one direction can be all it takes to crimp a career. No serious artist wants a reputation for pandering to radio programers or simply serving up their mandate for the masses. On the other hand, there’s no profit in shunning public tastes completely or being overly intent on indulging art for art’s sake. Consequently, give credit to Clarence Bucaro for balancing between both extremes and maintaining his integrity at the same time. Bucaro’s built a career on crafting superb songs, many of which sound like standards even on first hearing.
Not surprisingly then, Like the 1st Time finds Bucaro doing it like the last time, and the time before that, writing nad recording material that finds an immediate connection straight from the start. The soulful stance of “Alone in Love” could have been plucked from the Stax vaults at any time in the ‘70s while the mellow and immaculate “Barrio Moon” conveys such considerable craft it’s as if it’s always been in the ether. There’s a wealth of other stunning songs to choose from as well — the soothing and serene title track, the breezy and evocative “Midnight Blue,” the affectionate and assuring “Mother’s Word.” Indeed, Bucaro possesses a ready appeal that’s capable of endearing him to a vast audience. Once word gets out, there’s no doubt it will.
DOWNLOAD: “Barrio Moon,” “Mother’s Word,” “Alone in Love”