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WILL AND THE BUSHMEN (Buy CDs by this artist)
Gawk (Mustang) 1987
Will and the Bushmen (SBK) 1989

Formed in Mobile, Alabama, but later based in Nashville, this nifty pop quartet did two inspired things on its first album: write a tributary bio-song entitled "Neil Young" (they had already eulogized Alex Chilton on a pre-LP B-side) and get Mississippi's Tim Lee and Randy Everett to co-produce three tracks. Otherwise, the modest Gawk — in the Windbreakers' style, but not as moody or as instrumentally accomplished — merely has great tunes, excellent harmony vocals (by guitarists/songwriters Will Kimbrough and Sam Baylor) and a solid dollop of the innocent spunk that greases the wheels of young talent.

Although there's nothing wrong with Will and the Bushmen, there's nothing really right about the band's major-league debut, either. Most noticeable on remakes of the three best songs from Gawk, producer Richard Gottehrer fits the group's music into the tasteful kind of arrangement that — like a tomboy in her first dress — gently discourages youthful ebullience.

[Ira Robbins]