Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  And It Don't Stop
  Book Reports
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Xgau Sez
  And It Don't Stop
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
Web Site:
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
CG Search:
Google Search:

Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2013-08-23


Sam Baker: Mercy (Music Road, 2004) He's an Austin-based singer-songwriter who'll be coming back for the rest of his life from near-death in a 1986 Shining Path bombing. Deafer than not, he also relearned guitar with his left hand, so it would be presumptuous in the extreme to dismiss his quiet, putatively unfinished music as any kind of affectation--John Prine imitator, some might say. Around the middle, the mercy here risks bathos because the sad mood is so unvarying, but soon it rights itself. My two favorites honor marriages, one ended in its natural time by death, the other saved before it's too late by near-death. I also recommend the quiet antiwar tract where the husband gets a kiss for bringing his wife a Coke at the Little League game. And the one about Peru. B+

Sam Baker: Pretty World (Music Road, 2007) A lot of songs get sung on this record--"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "Jacob's Ladder," Stephen Foster's "Hard Times" and Townes Van Zandt's "Waiting Around to Die," and only on that last one does Baker decline to borrow the melody for a spell, thus taking some of the pressure off his own. He leaves Texas to consult a Pakistani psychic on the Lower East side. He chronicles a rich kid who gets away with killing a girl in an auto accident he spends the rest of his life drinking about. He relives Macu Picchu once again. And in crucial songs of thanks, he watches his beloved undo her top and needs two languages to celebrate a Christmas calmer than Robert Earl Keen's and happier than anything James McMurtry's likely to tell the world about. A-

Select Review Dates

Get unique date list.

Enter begin date as YYYY-MM-DD:
Enter end date as YYYY-MM-DD: