A Tear Can Tell
A keyboardist and composer with a flair for bringing memorable pop hooks forward, and a vocalist with an expressive, rich tenor range, Ricky Peterson is a talented performer in search of a unique voice. On A Tear Can Tell (Go Jazz/Bean 55558; 51:30), Peterson experiments with various styles, achieving equally varied degrees of cohesiveness. Where the hooky "Funny Little World" sounds like a slowed-down Kenny Loggins single, the album's title track is a lethargic R&B boudoir groove couched in contemporary keyboard cliches. The tendency to over-dress arrangements also makes for a bland cover of the emotional Simply Red ballad, "Holding Back the Years." Peterson is more successful on the slick, funky blues-inflected "Feel So Bad," which is shored up by Robben Ford's tightly wound guitar riffs and some smokin' horn harmonies. Once Peterson settles into a style that he can call his own, his unmistakable talents should carry him a long way.