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Laine, Galway Team

Sometimes When We Touch, Cleo Laine, vocals, and James Galway, flute: RCA ARL1- 3628. This is a disappointing album from one of the finest pop singers around. Teaming up Laine and Galway is something that I questioned from the first, wondering what Galway could possibly add to the already great combination of Laine and John Dankworth, a fine flutist and all-round reedman in his own right.

What we have here is a mishmash of both obscure and well-known material, with some classical and Irish overtones (to let us know that it's Galway's album, too , presumably), and arrangements by Dankworth. After several listenings, in spite of some lovely melodies (notably "Drifting and Dreaming," a hauntingly beautiful piece by Erik Satie, set to lyrics; the rarely sung Mercer-Carmichael collaboration "Skylark"; and "Still Was the Night," based on "Bailero," a traditional song of the Auvergne), the entire performance comes across as gimmicky and stilted.

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Unfortunately, the orchestra more than once drowns out Ms. Laine's voice, reducing it to a whisper.

Two exceptions to the generally dreary repertoire are Sondheim's "Anyone Can Whistle," which has a clever melody and a nice bouncy feel, and a Laine-Dankworth tune, "Play It Again, Sam," which makes you wish they'd put out an album with all original songs.It's a shame to waste a voice like Laine's on this direction less kind of material.