Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

San Francisco Blues Festival Vol. 1 [Solid Smoke, 1981]
Festival compilations are a bad bet--added to the usual live-album pitfalls (one-take recording, bum mixes, wasteful arrangement, wasted talk) is the statistical unlikelihood of a single weekend affording great shows by the slew. I put my time in on this one because it offered a whole side of Roy Brown, who when he died a few months ago was the most powerful original r&b performer working. But though his sweet, piercing, subtly lubricious voice comes through intact, his command of the stage doesn't translate to stereo (another live album pitfall). And on the B is Lowell Fulson, always the creature of his context even back when he didn't make his living on the revival circuit. B-