Zanes’s song-and-dance act falls short

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Is there nowhere that Dan Zanes won’t allow his musical muse to go?

We’ve all delighted watching the former rock and roller become the Dylan of kids music, first with a spate of fun albums that mixed whimsy, showmanship and good times with genuine musicianship that was never damaging to adult ears.

But now Zanes has taken on that most hoary of standards, the Broadway show tune, in his new album, “76 Trombones.” It’s a misstep.

Yes, the title track is pure Zanes — fun and rollicking. And, yes, it’s a lot of fun to hear his duet with Carol Channing — yes, that Carol Channing — on “Hello, Dolly” (though the lyrics of that song are more randy than I remember).

But, really, do we need another version of “Tomorrow” from the treacly show, “Annie”? Do we really need a version of “The Inchworm,” possibly Frank Loesser’s worst song?

True, Zanes’s band’s overall talent shines through even the poor selections, but who needed a kids version of “I Am What I Am” from “La Cage Aux Folles,” the 1983 gay comedy?

I’d skip the LP, but still catch Zanes and company at the Brooklyn Academy of Music next month. Those shows are always hot.

Dan Zanes and friends at Brooklyn Academy of Music [30 Lafayette Ave. near St. Felix Street in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100], Feb. 6 at 2 pm and 5 pm. Tickets are $15-$25.

Updated 11:47 am, January 21, 2010
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