Mandy Barnett

Barnett fits neatly among their ranks, the performer with the purist's ear and the popster's mind -- hence, the Porter Wagoner and Bryant brothers and Don Gibson covers that render I've Got a Right to Cry a collection of standards, no different than a modern-day jazz disc full of yesterday's golden-oldies echoes. That she pulls it off is a tribute to both her talent (the girl can sing, despite all else) and the cynicism of a music business that allows a young woman to make and fake her name playing dead-woman dress-up. Maybe the next time out, Sire Records boss Seymour Stein -- the man who discovered Madonna -- will let Barnett go back to doing what she does best: being herself. Could be worse, though. At least there's no "Purple Rain" cover.

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