Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Atlanta Rhythm Section

  • Back Up Against the Wall [Decca, 1973] C+
  • A Rock and Roll Alternative [Polydor, 1977] C+
  • Champagne Jam [Polydor, 1978] C

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Back Up Against the Wall [Decca, 1973]
A rather ordinary-sounding white Southern boogie band, except that this one has its roots in pop--they began as the Candymen, the greatest cover band in history. Only they actually began as Roy Orbison's backup band. As you might imagine, they're tighter and slicker than your ordinary boogie band, which all things considered is a small boon. I hope somebody on Capricorn covers "Wrong." And I hope they find something as good as, oh, "Good Vibrations" to cover themselves. C+

A Rock and Roll Alternative [Polydor, 1977]
If these guys actually sounded as if their studio were located (as it is) in a Georgia industrial park--fluorescent light through the pines and so forth--the general improvement in clarity and inventiveness might be interesting. But it's industrial only in the most predictable sense--more product. Even Charlie Daniels obviously has something to sing about; the vocalist here--why should I bother to look up his name?--might just as well be cuttin' another dog-food spot. C+

Champagne Jam [Polydor, 1978]
You can tell these guys are from Atlanta--it says so right in the name. So why do they sound like lazy Eagles? Why have they concocted a title that is the rock and roll equivalent of "cocktail jazz"? And when are they going to change their name officially to ARS, as in AWB? C