THE BARGAIN BUY: Various Artists; Yacht Rock

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Love is a Mystery, by Robbie Dupree
THE BARGAIN BUY: Various Artists; Yacht Rock

Yes, it's a genre and the very name tells you what you need to know. This is music from – and for – guys who consider white boat shoes, long shorts and a Hawaiian shirt appropriate evening wear, and sing about their “beautiful lady”.

It's mostly soft rock from the late Seventies and Eighties by people with neatly trimmed beards and the songs are excellent background music at cocktail hour around the pool. Or on the yacht.

Its perpetrators include people like Christopher Cross and Michael McDonald (solo out of the Doobie Brothers) at the low end and the great Boz Scaggs and Steely Dan at the top end. At least that is how it is broadly defined on Wikipedia although we'd rather not mention Boz and the Dan in this context.

Never having owned an England Dan and John Ford Coley album (never wanted to) we can't attest as to whether they are part of this Old Spice cabal, but we suspect they are.

This collection has albums by Bread (On the Waters) whose David Gates is a fine songwriter, Hall and Oates (Abandoned Luncheonette), Orleans (Let There Be Music), Chicago (16) and Robbie Dupree (his self-titled debut from '80 which included his rather cruisy hit Steal Away and backseat love of Hot Rod Hearts).

Much of this music has all the adhesion of Teflon, but that's the point of most of it. Tasteful but tasteless.

It is pleasant, well crafted mainstream pop calculated to give no offense but provide just enough attention-getting guitar passages to remind you that it is still playing as you check the spinnaker or look around for that fellow who was supposed to bring you that margarita four long minutes ago.

So why might we tell you about this when there is so much more gripping music out there?
Well, because the weather is on the turn and summer days – yacht, pool and beach days – aren't too far off.

JB_logoAnd if you can't stand the thought of equally vacuous barbecue reggae in the months ahead then this is actually quite a pleasing retro-sound for the longer warm evenings ahead.

It's also just $15 for this five-CD set at JB Hi-Fi stores here.

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