Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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This was originally published as free content, in Robert Christgau's And It Don't Stop newsletter. You can have Christgau's posts delivered to your mailbox if you subscribe.

There's Always Music in This Joint

"It's always Christmas in this bar/And it's always Saint Pat's and also Halloween," begins the slam-bang opener of NowThen, singing neonatologist Rich Krueger's second 2018 album and also second album. When Krueger visits Manhattan Monday night for a 7 p.m. show I've long awaited, I don't predict quite that pitch of revelry at the Bitter End, a literal NYC landmark that's been presenting music at 161 Bleecker Street since 1961 (I caught the 21-year-old Stevie Wonder there in 1972 for my debut column at Newsday). But if Krueger opens with that song he's got a shot. I hope he also performs "O What a Beautiful Beautiful Beautiful Day," this M.D.'s only song about his professional specialty, which is difficult births. Equally rousing but much bloodier, it also take place on Christmas and has a slam-bang happy ending, which in neonatology is never guaranteed: "Kid's poked in the arm then gooped in the eyes/As Dad's wheeled down to ER./It's a special Christmas for the whole family/Just as overpriced 'cept Junior ain't Christ."

Once again: Rich Krueger, 7 p.m. Monday September 23, Bitter End, 161 Bleecker Street, Manhattan.

And It Don't Stop, September 22, 2019