Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2012-02-21

2012-02-21

Ray Charles: Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters (Concord, 2010) Genius is rare even when it misfires, as with Ray it oft did, but the taste to make it glow a little is always for sale ("Why Me, Lord?" "It Hurts to Be in Love") **

Bootsy Collins: Tha Funk Capital of the World (Mascot, 2011) Five historic P-Funk tracks fronted by Cornel West, Samuel L. Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Al Sharpton, and a panoply of old A-game rappers followed by 11 well-meaning Bootsy tracks distinguished by cameos from Buckethead and, wouldn't you know it, George Clinton ("After These Messages," "Hip Hop @ Funk U") ***

John Legend & the Roots: Wake Up! (Good Music/Columbia, 2010) A myth of conscious soul neither the singer nor his attendant rappers can quite put across ("Compared to What," "I Can't Write Left Handed") ***

Bruno Mars: Doo-Wops & Hooligans (Elektra, 2010) Nice guy finishes first ("Grenade," "Lazy Song") ***

Terius Nash: 1977 (N.E.E.T./Interscope/J.B. Starr Productions download, 2011) Living for sex gets less dreamy all the time ("Wedding Crasher," "Used to Be") ***

The Original 7ven: Condensate (SRR, 2011) "The band formerly known as the Time" are shocked that you should believe time is real--but of course, it is ("Condensate," "One Step") *

The-Dream: Love King (Def Jam/Radio Killa, 2010) We know this trickster is "the last romantic" because, in the very same song, he tells his babydoll to present "panties to the side" ("Florida University," "Sex Intelligent") **

Betty Wright & the Roots: Betty Wright: The Movie (Ms. B/S-Curve, 2011) It wasn't "Old Songs," it was good songs, and they were usually shorter than these ("Real Woman," "Grapes on a Vine," "You and Me, Leroy") **

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