YOU CAN DANCE TO Loggins and Messina, but you can have just as much fun laughing, singing and drinking with them. Theirs is good time music about whimsical loves like Winnie the Pooh, rock and roll, and Jamaican girls. Full Sail, their third album, is slicker and, at times, too cute, but Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina seem to have survived stardom to remain distinctively refreshing.
The song selection follows their tried and true formula. Loggins contributes a mover, "Didn't I Know You When," and a soft solo love song, simply entitled "A Love Song." Danny Loggins, his non-performing brother who was the subject of "Danny's Song," offers another standout tune, "Sailin' the Wind." Messina tempers all the breezy music with his own brand of melancholy rock in "Travelin' Blues," "You Need a Man" and "Pathway to Glory." They combine for a pair of fun songs in their "Your Momma Don't Dance" mold, "My Music" and "Watching the River Run."
But the long instrumental sections that work so well in concert don't all come off--"You Need a Man" gets downright boring. And Messina sings more in this than he did in either of their first two albums. On the whole, though, Full Sail looks and sounds incredibly like their previous work. The same two handsome faces smile on the cover; inside, the songs are comfortably familiar. Listening casually, you may not remember which record you are playing.
Most Loggins and Messina fans won't mind. They have been calling for more of the same ever since Messina, claiming he didn't like touring, left Poco to produce Loggin's first album, and wound up playing with him as well. Poco has never gained commercial recognition and is disintegrating, while Loggins and Messina are now playing a dizzying series of sell-out concerts. They come to Boston November 29 for two shows at the Music Hall, and tickets are already scarce.
Last time around, their show was a smooth production, leading off with Loggin's soft stuff and building to an encore, "Your Momma Don't Dance." Toward the end of the tour, their performance reportedly became too professionalized--spectacular leaps and the music both lost their spontaneity. The art had already gone a little stale.
The infusion of new tunes should help some, but many critics feel that Loggins and Messina are getting trapped within one image, that instead of improving, they will simply get slicker. But while there may not be a great deal of growth potential in their style, there are good times; no one seriously plans to grow old with them.