Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  And It Don't Stop
  Book Reports
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Xgau Sez
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
Web Site:
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
CG Search:
Google Search:

Bat McGrath

  • From the Blue Eagle [Amherst, 1976] B+
  • The Spy [Amherst, 1978] B

Consumer Guide Reviews:

From the Blue Eagle [Amherst, 1976]
Unlike so many singer-songwriters, McGrath sounds like he comes from somewhere--upstate New York, as it happens. Instead of attaching generalized reflections to the most surefire melodies available, he writes lyrics that evoke specific locales and situations--like Jimmy Buffett when he's good, or Tom T. Hall with a more literary flair. Granted, anyone who believes a wino is "free" should check in his thesaurus under "nothin' left to lose," but the abundant compassion, humor, and detail of these brief ballads make you want to hear them again. A small find. B+

The Spy [Amherst, 1978]
Although he's a nice singer, McGrath is bound in by the mildly jazzy conventions of contemporary folk music. But his songs still say more about how it is for all those formerly young guys with beards who chose to live in the country back around 1970 than all the paeans to homemade bread coming out of Vermont, Colorado, and Marin. B