Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band: Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band [RCA Victor, 1976]
I hated this the first time I played it, which turned out to mean that I had encountered a clear, uncompromising and dangerously seductive expression of a vision of life that was foreign to me. Call it disco-sophistico: a version of post-camp nostalgia that celebrates the warmth (OK) and class (ugh) or a time irretrievably (and safely) past. Since they're not white, the Savannah Band never make you feel they love the '40s because there were no uppity muggers back then, though I still wonder about their get-thee-behind-me dismissal of hard r&b, not to mention their fashion-mag potential. But it's a pleasure to admit that their music is a fresh pop hybrid with its own rhythmic integrity, and that its sophistication is a lot brighter and more lively than most of the organic bullshit making it to the rock stage in the mid-'70s. A