Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Music Club

From major-imprint catalogue recyclers to anonymous operators like Laserlight and Collectable, all reissue programs exploit the same profit strategy: induce consumers to pay for songs they don't want with songs they do. But some care more about music than others. Music Club, launched by a British cutout distributor in 1991 when that angle started to dry up, joins the beast that is Rhino and the shavers at Razor & Tie as an oldies indie with quality controls. Beating Rhino's versions of such classic-but-limited old-indie stalwarts as the Everly Brothers and Del Shannon, cherry-picking the best African comps since Earthworks's heyday (try the circa-1960 Township Jazz 'n' Jive) and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan that puts RealWorld to shame, licensing Sex Pistols boots and cult guitarists Paul Kossoff and Peter Green, reconstituting the wonderful New Orleans label Ace, assembling introductions to bebop and ska, Music Club avoids waste more conscientiously than all but a few competitors. And its CDs list for 10 bucks.

Rolling Stone, ????