Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Farther One Travels, The Less One Knows

I've always "not really liked" Robert Christgau. His reviews usually confound me. When I'm through reading, I rarely have a real sense of the record he is either praising or panning.

"Should I buy this record?"

"I don't know, but don't ask Christgau. It'll hurt."

True story.

Here's Christgau:

The Dudes Doin' Business [Capitol, 1970]
A waste. Vocalist Parker, an underrated blues pro, and organist McGriff, who has a name as a soloist but is better off accompanying, should produce a more than passable record almost automatically. But not when they're burdened with strings, insipid soprano choruses, and hopelessly inappropriate material. Is a bluesman singing "The Inner Light" supposed to make contact--and money--in St. Albans? Sonny Lester--remember that name--produced. C+
Robert Christga

That was not only pretty straight-forward, but actually talks about the music. Clearly a terrible example. More importantly, I disagree and THAT'S what this is about.

Speaking of "The Inner Light," the gorgeous George Harrison B-Side of "Lady Madonna," I think this version by Junior Parker & Jimmy McGriff is brilliant. Really outstanding.

Thanks to Sac for finding this.

And thank you Robert Christgau.



steve simels said...

Sometime in the mid-70s, I went to a press party held at the Rockefeller Plaza ice rink.

The entire assembled NYC rock press corps had a good laugh watching Christgau fall flat on his face a couple of times.

Just saying...

steve simels said...

And may I just add that Christgau used to work in a gratuitous reference to having just boinked his wife into long Village Voice critical essays no less than twice a year. There was one in a piece about the Clash in particular that was truly mind-boggling.

One of the most annoying literary affectations in history, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but he never wrote about the times Steve would boink (do we still say boink, we should you know) Christgau's wife.


PS Sal, did you ever boink (I love say it!) Christgau's wife?

PPS: This version of The Inner Light is real good, great find guys.

Jonnie said...

Very, very nice. Great way to start the day. Thanks again Sal.