Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Gary U.S. Bonds: The Best of Gary "U.S." Bonds [MCA, 1984]
Listen to his Miami Steve-produced '80s stuff and you hear undistinguished Bobby Womack cum Bruce Springsteen. Listen to his Jerry Williams-produced late-'60s stuff and you hear undistinguished Otis Redding cum Swamp Dogg. But listen to his Frank Guida-produced early-'60s hits and you almost can't hear him at all--Guida was so inept in the studio that Bonds comes in at about the same level as the crowd noises and Gene "Daddy G" Barges's saxophone. Thus he fell into the quintessential twist singles, party records which convinced America that a rather tame and silly dance was the gateway to orgyland. The more you listen, the more Bonds's undistinguished Lloyd Price cum Little Richard fades into the ambiance. But the ambience is a gas. A-