Music: Two Solo Troubadours

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Though without formal musical training, Brooklyn-born Nilsson is, from the viewpoint of technique, ten times the singer that Newman is. His easygoing style contains echoes of Bing Crosby; his soft, high tenor recalls any number of virtuoso crooners who sang with the Mickey Mouse dance bands of the '30s. And he does not mind showing that talent off. Nilsson Sings Newman, for example, sounds at times as though it were recorded with a chorus of 100. Actually, every note on it was sung by Nilsson himself—98 vocal performances in all, a feat that may indirectly reflect his salad-days background as a computer programmer in Los Angeles.

Up to now, Nilsson and Newman have both preferred the recording studio to the one-night stand and the concert hall as a performing milieu. In the past few months, though, Newman has begun to branch out. This fall the BBC will film a TV special on him, and he will begin a college tour. As for Nilsson, he has presently no plans to concertize. As he is fond of pointing out, he became famous overnight last year by singing Everybody's Talkin' for the sound track of Midnight Cowboy. Trouble was that the song was by somebody else, Fred Neil, about whom most people still have not heard a thing. Thus, while touching Singer Nilsson, fame bypassed two songwriters: Harry and Fred. "It's part of the pattern," says Nilsson sadly.

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