Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Mickey Newbury

  • Looks Like Rain [Mercury, 1970] B-
  • 'Frisco Mabel Joy [Elektra, 1971] C+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Looks Like Rain [Mercury, 1970]
Sounds like rain, too--also wind, train whistles, ghosts, humming, whistling, electric sitars, and Norman Luboff. If the Mystic Moods Orchestra is Jerry Kennedy's idea of artistic production, he should stick to putting five pieces behind Jerry Lee and Tom T. But my guess is that it's Mickey's. The man is, or can be, a great songwriter, but this lady who left him because she was sad has thrown him into a depression so interesting he wants to savor every drop--almost ruins "She Even Woke Me Up to say Goodbye" by taking it too slow. Never trust meteorological symbolism--never. B-

'Frisco Mabel Joy [Elektra, 1971]
Newbury has somehow attracted the meaningfulness vote by patching bits of "Dixie," "All My Trials," and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" into a new copyright called "An American Trilogy," but don't worry, not everything here is so ponderous and thick with emotion. Not so ponderous, anyway--he's still mulling over that love affair, and he does get weepy about it. This is the new Nashville? Because his relationships break up in California? C+