As a vocalist, Walter Jackson experienced success in the '60s with hits like 1965's "Welcome Home" and 1967's "My Ship Is Coming In." Those songs typify the powerful and dramatic Chicago sound, a perfect match for his precise diction and haunted baritone. Jackson's career was hampered due to his affliction with polio and unjustified commercial woes, and Welcome Home marked his mid-'70s return to the music scene. It certainly starts off strong enough, with a cover of Stevie Wonder's "Too Shy to Say." While Wonder's version was subdued if not somnolent, Jackson turns it into great drama.Jackson's update of his own "Welcome Home" though, finds the song not improved by an updated, hackneyed arrangement. The album's best tracks, "Love Is Even Lovelier" and "I Got It Bad Feeling Good," are customary gems from writers Pam Sawyer and Leon Ware. With flawless and nuanced arrangements, the songs are a clear indication where this effort could have gone, but didn't -- to shore up Jackson's hit potential, Welcome Home was overloaded with cover material. Of course, the worst offender is the always awful "Feelings," a song that has stopped many an album in its tracks.Jackson's take on Elton John's "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" fares better. Welcome Home, produced by Carl Davis and arranged by Riley Hampton, finds them way off their game and too often not providing the proper backing for Jackson's superior vocals. AMG.
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