Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Mandy Barnett: Strange Conversation [Dame Productions/Thirty Tigers, 2018]
I doubt Barnett conceives this strange little album as a rebuke to the reverent high musicianship of the Patsy Cline interpretations she made her bread and butter long before 2011's Sweet Dreams. High musicianship with a gourmet flourish is what she does. But there's a savor in hearing it applied to this potpourri of humble deep-pop obscurities--late Connie Francis, later Sonny and Cher, lost girl-group and guy-group keepers by Mable John and the Tams--garnished with newer art-pop obscurities. For me the clincher is "The Fool," a top-10 one-shot for 21-year-old Sanford Clark that I thought I hadn't heard since 1956 until I found out there are karaoke versions. A-