The hipsters haven't rediscovered Captain & Tennille the way they have the Carpenters, and perhaps with good reason.
Unlike the shy, melancholy Karen Carpenter, Toni Tennille is an impossibly perky singer -- huge mouth and eyes, gleaming teeth and a bouncy bob haircut right out of the Roaring Twenties. She seems almost unnervingly showbiz, like an updated Dinah Shore. But there's a reason to see New Orleans -- one of four Captain & Tennille TV specials from the 1970s to be released separately on DVD -- that has nothing to do with Tennille or some of the show's corny comedy bits. Her husband and quiet partner, pianist "Captain" Daryl Dragon, was able to get his idol, Fats Domino, to appear as a guest. And Fats tears through a dynamic version of "Walking to New Orleans" before joining Dragon for a hot boogie-woogie piano duet on "I'm Ready" that hasn't a whiff of nostalgia or preciousness about it. It's Fats (and the Captain) at his best. By the way, if you give Tennille a chance, she can really sing -- her phrasing is worthy of a Jazz stylist and she gets several excellent opportunities here. (Steven Rosen) Grade: B