Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Dancer With Bruised Knees [Warner Bros., 1977]
Not as tuneful as some might wish, but even a bright melody must strike artists this subtle as unseemly, rather obvious. Rarely has the homely been rendered with such delicate sophistication: these women spend sixty or seventy grand trying to make a studio approximate a living room, or maybe a church basement on production numbers, and succeed! They are prim, wry, and sexy all at once, with a fondness for family life as it is actually lived--a repository of strength, surely, but also a repository of horrors--that is reflected in their version of folk instrumentation. Rather than on-the-road guitars (with their attendant corn about the wimmin at home) they rely on accordion, piano, organ; once when they need a drum they get the kind of oompah beat you still hear in parades. Even better than the debut, albeit harder. A