Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  And It Don't Stop
  Book Reports
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Xgau Sez
  And It Don't Stop
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
Web Site:
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
CG Search:
Google Search:

Consumer Guide Album

Loudon Wainwright III: High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project [161, 2009]
Young folkies are attracted to their chosen past because it seems so raw. But though young folkie Wainwright twigged to this totemic mountaineer via the line "The beefsteak it was rare and the butter had red hair," now he's old enough to cook him. Poole didn't write that line or anything else he sang--he'd perform Paul Dresser's musty "The Letter That Never Came" as soon as W.C. Handy's hightailing "Ramblin' Blues" if he thought it was good for a drink. And in Wainwright's plentifully illustrated and annotated two-CD tribute, where nine of the 29 selections are new songs by Wainwright and/or producer Dick Connette, Poole stands as a touchstone of a bygone era. Wainwright is such a card that you don't think of him as a singer, but he puts more throat and thorax into the sentimental ballads than Poole had in him, and his barn burners are louder and faster without approaching Poole's rooted assurance or reckless abandon. These conscious misprisions are fine by me. In fact, I'm more likely to play the canny reconstruction than the certified original. I'm older than Poole ever was. A