You may not know the name, but you do know the voice, at least if you’re of a certain age. Lenny Zakatek lent his distinctive, raw vocals to numerous Alan Parsons Project hits in the 1970s, including “I Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You” and “Games People Play”; for Zakatek’s debut solo album, Parsons was on hand to produce, to return the favor. The result is fairly typical late 1970s fare, showcasing a wider range of material than one might expect from Zakatek if one’s only prior exposure was his Project guest shots.
For one thing, Parsons and cohort Eric Woolfson would “cast” new material with certain vocalists in mind, and Zakatek used to wind up with bluesy, throat-thrasing numbers. For his own album, on which he’s singing everything for a change, Zakatek gets a chance to show off some more soulful chops – he’s not screaming every song at you.
With Parsons in the control booth, some of the songs get turned into epics, with female backup singers and orchestral backing aplenty. Only two songs are strong reminders of his roaring vocal work for Parsons’ group, “Doin’ It Right” and the extremely memorable “It’s A Dancer.”
Sadly, this album has faded into obscurity, without even a CD release, then or now. The influences and styles prevalent in 1979 keep it from being mistaken for anything you’d describe as “timeless”; more than a few of the songs are disco-lite. I’d be extremely surprised to see this album show up on anything other than the original vinyl. A pity, since it’s an album that offers a glimpse into the other side of one of the more distinctive voices dominating the radio in the 1970s. Given how popular his songs for Parsons were, it’s honestly a bit of a surprise that Lenny Zakatek’s solo debut didn’t make a slightly bigger splash.