Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Scotty Moore/D.J. Fontana: All the King's Men [Sweetfish, 1997]
There's no rationalizing the success ratio of this tribute comp--I mean, gosh, Elvis Presley's original sidemen collaborate with artists who like them. I'd like to credit Scotty and D.J.'s groove, but with second drummers powering the two rockingest cuts and extra guitarists everywhere, let's just call it serendipity. Plus maybe--since Joe Ely, Steve Earle, and Raul Malo all benefit from not trying too hard--the kind of affable discretion that stays out of talent's way. The knockout rockouts are Cheap Trick's "Bad Little Girl," which sounds like great John Lennon, and Keith Richards and the Band's "Deuce and a Quarter," which sounds like great old roots-rock and also like nothing I've ever heard. And then there's Ronnie McDowell with that essential soupcon of Memphis-to-Vegas schmaltz. A-