Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Patriotic Country [BMG/Music for a Cause, 2004]
For the record, and records must be kept, the vilest thing on Fox News' Music Row takeover doesn't come from Lee Greenwood. Lee Greenwood is just the beginning. It's by a onetime Bob Dylan fiddler: Charlie Daniels's rockin', racist "This Ain't No Rag It's a Flag" ("And we don't wear it on our heads"), its climax a child lisping the Pledge of Allegiance while a band of braggarts chants "U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A." Runner-up is the Warren Brothers' dim, toadying, putatively nonpartisan "Hey Mr. President," which tosses "those guys in the House and the Senate" out on their nitpicking asses and reflects how hard it must be to tell a mother her soldier son has died as if our CEO does it all the time. Educational: Dusty Drake's deeply felt plane-going-down "One Last Time" versus Lonestar's militantly sentimental "I'm Already There," where some damn country singer calls home from his hotel room. Honestly conflicted: Hank Williams Jr.'s "America Will Survive," the rare post-9/11 country song that knows New York is more than the ex-towers and the Statue of Liberty. "Big business" dis: Blackhawk's "Days of America." Sign of hope: token female Martina McBride's involuntary manslaughter of "God Bless America." C-