Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  Expert Witness
Books:
  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
Writings:
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Playboy
  Blender
  Rolling Stone
  Billboard
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
  Recyclables
  Newsprint
  Lists
  Miscellany
Bibliography
NPR
Web Site:
  Home
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
  Archive
Venues:
  Noisey
CG Search:
Google Search:
Twitter:

Recyclables

BERT WILLIAMS
The Early Years, 1901-1909
The Middle Years, 1910-1919
His Final Releases, 1919-1922

Archeophone

I don't expect the heroes at Archeophone, whose archival mission is built into their label name, to concoct a best-of from the painstakingly restored complete works of America's first great black recording star. But maybe some other noble indie could slip them some cash. Dim acoustic recording as well as insulting blackface stereotypes, not to mention comic genius Williams's melodic limitations, mean these collections require some work; although the early material may be more committed, the later stuff brightens on engineering alone. From 1901's "The Phrenologist Coon," in which the big butt may be "the Williams character" or may be phrenology itself, to 1917's "No Place Like Home," a raceless Ring Lardner-penned family burlesque, to 1920's "I Want to Know Where Tosti Went," where the opera being parodied provides a big fat stolen hook, Williams holds up--previously unnoticed touches had me chuckling harder many listens in. Any aficionado of pop history should make an effort to hear him.


MACY GRAY
The Very Best of Macy Gray

Epic

Prematurely ejaculated to exploit a skyrocket's diminishing name recognition, this 17-tracker--five from the debut, three each from two and three, three non-album things, and three remixes--demonstrates the endurance of On How Life Is, the fragility of The Id, and the unjust obscurity of 2003's The Trouble With Being Myself. "Caligula," "She Don't Write Songs About You," and the matter-of-fact "Gimme All Your Loving or I Will Kill You"--all missing--would further reinforce her cultivated aura of sexual rapacity. Nevertheless, her best.

Village Voice, Feb. 22, 2005


Dec. 14, 2004 Apr. 5, 2005