Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Marshall Chapman is a lapsed Southern belle whose amalgam of rock and roll toughness, Nashville song sense, and rangy good looks got her pegged as a comer two decades ago. Although the hits never came, she stayed true to the game, working first for the big boys at Epic, then the folkies at Rounder, and eventually her own Tall Girl label, where she cut the best albums of her life--until she gathered her courage and recorded It's About Time . . . Recorded Live at the Tennessee State Prison for Women for Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville label. Advisories like Booze in Your Blood and Betty's Bein' Bad help her relate to a bunch of truly tough women who've never heard of her. And even if you think something like Real Smart Man is a tad harsh, that doesn't mean you won't recognize all the shitty relationships she sums up in a single line: "You haven't taken out the garbage yet."


Half comedian, half folkie, all alarm installer, Don White has a wife, two kids, and a day job. Live at the Somerville Theatre (Lyric Moon), suggests that artistically, at least, he can afford to entertain full-time. The way he describes his gritty hometown of Lynn, Massachusetts, you figure he knows enough about working for a living to write songs (and jokes) about it until he's 60. His family, however, he needs--the lines he gets out of early childhood make me want to hear about his kids' teenaged years, and the bittersweet affection of Sassy Brat makes it one of the most credible love songs any man has ever written for his wife.


Annotator Dave Marsh calls The Who Sell Out (MCA) the band's "consummate masterpiece." I've always agreed. And while I'm not sure that this newly remastered and expanded tribute to classic pop radio is also a greater Sixties album than Sgt. Pepper, I'm here to tell anybody's generation that it's never sounded better.

Playboy, Aug. 1995


July 1995 Sept. 1995