Orlando Sentinel

June 8-14, 1990

Robin and Linda Williams
**** The Rhythm of Love

(Sugar Hill)
"In the best harmony singing,
the whole exceeds the sum of the vocal parts"

Such certainly is the case with Robin (not the comedian) Williams and his wife, Linda. Best- known for their frequent appearances on A 'Prairie Home Companion, they are masters of harmony singing.

Their new album, The Rhythm of Love, is worth searchlng for, which you'll probably have to do to find it. Only comprehensive music stores carry the Williamses' work, and even then it's anybody's guess as to whether it'll be found under the folk, country or bluegrass labels.

The couple's repertoire touches all three. They wrote seven of the l0 songs on this album: One tune, "Six O'Clock News," is a gem. It's a narrative sung by a man who fell in love with a bad woman but turned away in time to save himself. He's watching the 6 o'clock news and sees that she and her new boyfriend have been involved in a robbery-murder.

Tlhe song's a short story, gripping and well-told, and the unconventional melody and the rhyme scheme make it all the more memorable.

Good material, yes -- but the best reason to hear the Williamses is their slnging. They both have strong lead voices, particularly Robin, whose range and gusto far exceed that of most male pop singers. Together the Williamses are a more persuasive case for harrnony singing than the Everly Brothers or Simon & Garfunkel ever were.

Although they often begin and end a verse in basic harmonies, they develop rich, complicated ones in between. Sometirnes she takes the top part, sometimes he does, and sometimes they switch in mid song. They are each all over the place and it works to the album's advantage.

Robin plays lead guitar, Linda plays rhythm, and the balance of the instrumentation is provided by some of Nashville's top session musicians, Stuart Duncan (Nashville Bluegrass Band) deserves special mention for his exquisite fiddle breaks. _


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