Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2011-02-15


Hayes Carll: KMAG YOYO (Lost Highway, 2011) A little too decisively to instill much hope for his love life, the rowdy songs are deeper than the thoughtful ones, especially the duet with Young Republican Cary Ann Hearst, who thinks she might screw him even though he can't afford to tip the stripper. But he does rowdy real good. And the filial "Grateful for Christmas" enters the canon of alt-country unholiday songs well ahead of the Drive-Bys' competing entry--maybe even on a level with James McMurtry's and Robert Earl Keen's. B+

Drive-By Truckers: Go-Go Boots (ATO, 2011) A song band and proud, they turn down the boogie so we're sure to get the lyrics, which except for the two Eddie Hintons are laid out as well in a booklet so handsome the habitual downloader may want one for himself (or herself, I wish). Beyond the tribute to a glamorous aunt who knew how to show a five-year-old a good time, Patterson Hood's are most impressive when he channels two lost good old boys we might not like so much in person: well, a vet afraid to own that automatic weapon OK, but how about that cop thrown off the force? Mike Cooley owns the best tunes and the best lines: "like bringing flowers to your Mama and tracking dog shit all over the floor." Shonna Tucker shows Eddie Hinton a good time in the grave. A-

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