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  • For his third album Rumors (1963), Johnny Crawford (vocals) reveals a considerably more mature delivery compared to his previous outings. However, in keeping with his teen idol persona, he retains the simple contemporary popular sound that had undoubtedly aided in landing both "Cindy's Birthday" and "Your Nose Is Gonna Grow" into the Top 20. The string arrangements accompanying "Devil or Angel," "How High the Moon," "Since I Don't Have You," "Living in the Past" and the title track "Rumors" -- which would garner the artist another Top 15 hit -- are reminiscent of sides from Crawford's contemporaries Fabianand Frankie Avalon. The slightly Western-flavored "How High the Moon" diverges with a prominent acoustic guitar and loping rhythm, perhaps a sonic reference to Crawford's concurrent small screen persona as Mark McCain on the Rifleman. Songwriter David Gates, who was still several years away from success as a performer with the '70s light rock combo Bread, provides a pair of tunes, the relaxed and easy "I Don't Need You," as well as the driving up-tempo "No One Really Loves a Clown." The cut presents Crawford in a very radically different style as compared to the vast majority of the material that he had previously recorded. While nowhere as bombastic, "Janie Please Believe Me" could similarly be classified as an early rocker, along the lines of what Neil Sedaka had done with "Oh Carol'" and "The Diary." Although Crawford would issue a few additional singles on Del-Fi, the onslaught of the mid-'60s British Invasion all but made this brand of pop irrelevant. [In 2004, Collectors' Choice Music released all three of Crawford's LPs on to CD, making each available after several decades out of print.] ~ Lindsay Planer
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