Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Willie Mabon: Blues Roots Volume 16 [Chess, 1982]
"I Don't Know" was known to the Big Bopper, "Poison Ivy" was bad before bad knew its name, and "You're a Fool" is the only blues in history to employ the word "sauerkraut" in a simile. All three are recommended to the immediate attention of Mr. Buster Poindexter. Also, all three were released, unlike eight of the other cuts here. The unreleased stuff often score lyrically--Mabon's gift for hostile yet self-deprecating wit is in full display on "I'm Tired" and "He Lied"--but relies on blues readymades. The released stuff has hooks. B+