1980's Barry from Barry Manilow featured his last Top Ten hit, "I Made It Through the Rain," finding him still in control of the adult contemporary charts, but starting to fade on the Top 40. It's an interesting piece of the Manilow collection, the singer covering Kenny Nolan, co-writing with Maurice White, penning a song for another film -- "We Still Have Time" from the motion picture Tribute -- and including a campy duet with Lily Tomlin. Their unlikely pairing on "The Last Duet" is a kinda "Copacabana" redux, borrowing heavy melody from Orleans' "Love Takes Time" and lifting lyrics from '70s songs -- "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," "You're the One That I Want," and others. Manilow produces two of the ten tracks without production partner Ron Dante and composes half of the album with Bruce Sussman and Jack Feldman, including the hit. Maybe it was a conscious effort to become an album artist rather than a singles act because Barry is more listenable all the way through than previous discs, which contained bigger and more significant hits. There are many musicians in the mix too -- Dean Parks, Paul Schaeffer, Abe Laboriel, Alan Estes, arrangements by Artie Butler -- all the stops seem to get pulled out to good effect. Kenny Nolan's tune has the syrup that artist is known for with Manilow adding the sincerity missing in Nolan's own hits. The song could very well have charted, as could have two terrific songs from "Mandy" co-writer Richard Kerr, "Life Will Go On" and "Dance Away." The movie theme is pretty good too. "We Still Have Time" is Manilow finally writing a song that is up there with hits he found from other composers -- something he really wasn't quite able to capture before this. A shame it or another good song from this fine disc didn't follow "I Made It Through the Rain" up the Top 40. It was almost a year before David Pomeranz's "The Old Songs" would go Top 15 for Manilow toward the end of 1981, and one wonders if there was resistance at radio, because the album Barry had more than enough great material and strong performance to continue the chart run that gave Manilow his enormous popularity. ~ Joe Viglione
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- String Quartet Tribute to Barry Manilow (Vitamin String Quartet)