Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Terry Allen & the Panhandle Mystery Band

  • Smokin the Dummy [Fate, 1980] B
  • Bloodlines [Fate, 1993] Choice Cuts
  • Just Like Moby Dick [Paradise of Bachelors, 2020] ***

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Smokin the Dummy [Fate, 1980]
Juarez, this sculptor-painter cum singer-songwriter's 1975 debut, was pretentiously half-assed mock mythopoeia; Lubbock (on Everything), his 1979 double, was genuwine laugh-a-minute highbrow-lowbrow. This time Allen's satire is a little thinner, and he undercuts his more sincere songs by playing them for comedy, the only vocal trick he knows. "Texas Tears," "The Night Cafe," and "Redbird"--plus some funny ones--are recommended to sideman Joe Ely, whose band has always mystified the Panhandle. B

Bloodlines [Fate, 1993]
"Gimme a Ride to Heaven Boy" Choice Cuts

Just Like Moby Dick [Paradise of Bachelors, 2020]
At 76, this part-time singer still doesn't creak or croak, but he's never been quite the songwriter his major smarts and smartest material make you think ("Bad Kiss," "Houdini Didn't Like the Spiritualists") ***