Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Todd Snider: Live: Return of the Storyteller [Thirty Tigers/Aimless, 2022]
This is Snider's fourth live album, and except for 2013's perfectly OK here-and-gone Record Store Day special Happy New Year Vol. 1 they're all both superb and different. Up till now, I've favored 2011's Live: The Storyteller--can't get enough of the one where Todd takes the mike by default when the bandleader is knocked cold by a drunk woman on a swing. Two of these selections are on that one too, but I don't mind hearing them again and neither will you. And not one of the eight new stories has gotten old on me after some dozen plays. True, you can just stream it and put it in your memory bank. But Snider hopes to lure you into buying the physical, so he and his faithful correspondent Diana Hendricks provide 17 booklet pages of impressionistic liner notes worth having in your actual library. A very modest sample: "touring is a slippery trick/there's only one way to do it/exhausted"; "science reports that in cognitive ratio equivalency testing,/by all accounts, eight hours of bus sleep is the same as no sleep at all"; "i didn't play any of the songs i planned to/i played green castle blues/and the rest a the set played itself//what i get to do is just a total privilege." A