Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Paul Simon: Paul Simon [Columbia, 1972]
I've been saying nasty things about Simon since 1967, but this is the only thing in the universe to make me positively happy in the first two weeks of February 1972. I hope Art Garfunkel is gone for good--he always seemed so vestigial, but it's obvious now that two-part harmony crippled Simon's naturally agile singing and composing. And the words! This is a professional tour of Manhattan for youth culture grads, complete with Bella Abzug, hard rain, and people who steal your chow fong. The self-production is economical and lively, with the guitars of Jerry Hahn and Stefan Grossman and Airto Moreira's percussion especially inspired. William Carlos Williams after the repression: "Peace Like a River." A+