Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers: Deluxe Edition [Alligator, 1999]
The six fingers on Taylor's hands abraded his vibrato almost as good as 10-dollar guitars and cracked amps, which is a good thing, because in the end he found his hero Elmore James a bit of a fancy man. Filling out a trio with another guitar and a drum kit, he blasted Maxwell Street with a scrawny sound the booklet swears was "huge," which is another way of saying "Play Loud." From the "It Hurts Me Too" that howls out crucial lines in a prearticulate slide to the joyously unforgiving "Give Me Back My Wig," this is the house-rockin' music nobody else ever got right, as perfect in its way as Jimmy Reed, or the Ramones. A