Donny Most: Donny Most

TV’s Ralph Malph steps through the screen and tiptoes onto the record chart

To a large extent, actor Donny Most’s 1976 solo album is the archtypical celebrity cash-in. Though no stranger to music – Most had played in Catskills bands as a teenager – his shot at pop stardom was entirely the product of a staring role on Happy Days and the show’s #1 rating. His label secured performing slots on Dinah, Mike Douglas and American Bandstand, but even Happy Days fever could only push the sugary pop single “All Roads (Lead Back to You)” to #97. After three weeks on the charts, Most’s pop singing career was all but over; and to add insult to injury, Anson Williams’ “Deeply” scored four slots higher, peaking at #93 the following spring. Most was a capable, if not particularly exciting singer, with his voice often doubled to give it heft. The productions are more bubblegum than the rootsy rock ‘n’ roll Ralph Malph might have played in his Happy Days TV band, more Kasnetz-Katz or Gary Lewis than Bill Haley or Chuck Berry. The album mixes originals written or found for Most, alongside covers of Bruce Chanel’s “Hey Baby” and Larry Williams’ “Bony Moronie.” The latter provide a lead-in to one of Most’s post-acting sidelines, touring the oldies circuit with the “Doo Wop Rocks” revival show. This is a nice artifact of the spectacular popularity that surrounded Happy Days in the latter half of the ‘70s, and a pleasant, if not particularly memorable musical spin. Essential’s digital reissue may have been remastered from vinyl, as there seems to be an occasional audio artifact – nothing really distracting, however. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]

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