Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Outlaws & Armadillos: Country's Roaring '70s [Legacy, 2018]
Although this Country Music Hall of Fame-certified double-CD never admits it, it means to link the de facto folkies Nashville songwriters with hippie tendencies inevitably became with Waylon and Willie--also Kris Kristofferson, who achieved their dream, and Emmylou Harris, they wished. But the tracklist just isn't sure-shot. I've never fallen for Townes Van Zandt or Steve Young like I'm supposed to, so why don't "Rex's Blues" and "No Place to Fall" convince me to try again? And while you may have missed deadpan Tom T. Hall and early-blooming Joe Ely, "Joe, Don't Let Your Music Kill You" and "I Had My Hopes Up High" won't send you hightailing to Spotify like you should. On the other hand, I am now convinced that Kinky Friedman's "Sold American" shoulda been a hit and Michael Murphey's "Cosmic Cowboy" deserves its legend, and give thanks for Bobby Bare's "Marie Laveau," Lou Ann Barton's "You Can Have My Husband," Gary P. Nunn's "London Homesick Blues," Commander Cody's "Too Much Fun," and Johnny Paycheck's "11 Months and 29 Days," none of which had previously set up residence in my recall memory. Also, this is as good a place as any to discover Terry Allen and the Flatlanders, whose debut albums I think I'll go play right now. B+