Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Bert Williams: The Middle Years, 1910-1919 [Archeophone, 2003]
Not only was comedian-singer Williams the first African American stage and recording star, with 33 hits between 1902 and 1922, he's lasted better than most of his bigger white peers, and beat them easily at their own games. The Ring Lardner-penned family burlesque "No Place Like Home" is conspicuously raceless. So is "Play That Barber Shop Chord." "The Darktown Poker Club" not so much, but kind of. The re-recorded "Nobody," who knows--or cares? [Recyclables]