We gave it a C+
Newcomer Cleve Francis scores high on the novelty scale — he’s a cardiologist, for starters, a veritable singing doctor, and he’s black, a dark dot on country music’s traditionally white landscape. Francis will inevitably be compared with Charley Pride, the only black superstar in the genre’s history. Unlike Pride, Francis sometimes uses R&B stylings — but Tourist in Paradise resembles, more than anything else, the work of Glen Campbell in the ’70s. Everything is sunnily uplifting and overproduced, with soaring strings, horn charts that sound as if they were phoned in, and old-fashioned, let’s-cram-everything-into-it-we-can arrangements. Only four songs are notable, among them an impassioned remake of Bill Anderson’s ”The Tips of My Fingers” and Billy Dean’s ”How Can I Hold You,” a touch of melodrama in an otherwise calm emotional sea. This physician hands out a musical prescription for a clean bill of health, but too much of it is too sweet, almost like the lollipops doctors once handed out to brighten children’s visits to their offices.