Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 1970-00-00


The Asylum Choir: Look Inside the Asylum Choir (Smash, 1968) This year-old effort by Leon Russell and Marc Benno, now re-released, got a lot of nice reviews and no sales first time around, which is more or less what it deserved. A nice record to write reviews about: strong studio work with a heavy Zappa flavor, quality of satire ditto. B

Exuma: Exuma (Mercury, 1970) Jive Dr. John? Yes, jive Dr. John. D

Firesign Theatre: Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers (Columbia, 1970) The Firesign Theatre is a comedy group that uses the recording studio at least as brilliantly as any rock group, and there's really nothing else to say, except that they'd be scary-funny in somebody's living room, too. A+

The 5 Stairsteps: Stairsteps (Buddah, 1970) Soupy at times, but most of the "O-o-h Child" side (including two creditable Beatle songs) is eminently listenable sweet soul. Docked a notch for time: 27.57. B-

Gun: Gun Sight (Epic, 1969) This unknown group has now released two albums which come very close to succeeding. The songs are excellent lyrically and the group's pretensions--which include background strings and jazz moves on top of a hard rock sound--usually work. But it never comes together, and my mixing expert informs me that the mix is muddy. B-

Charlie Haden: Liberation Music Orchestra (Impulse, 1970) Haden is a man of great personal courage and political insight, and he has played some of the best jazz bass I've ever heard, but this record--despite all those nice reviews--is competent Jazz Composer's Orchestra style ensemble jazz, full of nice dissonances and not much more. I've listened to it many times, always giving it one more chance, but I doubt I'll ever play it again, and no one I've ever played it for has come back to request it. C+

Jerry Reed: Cookin' (RCA Victor, 1970) Since I am no country expert, this umpteenth lp by a Chet Atkins regular took me by surprise merely because I'd never heard of him. Competent-plus in the country rock mold of Carl Perkins/Bob Luman/Charlie Rich. Docked a notch for time: 28.58. C+

Clarence Reid: Dancin' With Nobody But You Babe (Atlantic, 1969) A sleeper for anyone with a taste for Deep South soul, with a convincing version of "Get Back," some pleasant if predictable standards, and a good helping of catchy originals. Nice and solid. B

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