Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Bonnie Raitt: Home Plate [Warner Bros., 1975]
Produced with much tape trickery and laying on of experts by Paul Rothchild, this defeats its own gloss by refining and expanding the conventions of emotive, projective "sincerity" that have informed pop music from Al Jolson to Linda Ronstadt. By her thoughtful phrasing and gentle-to-gritty timbre, by her understated dramatic presence, by the songs she chooses to sing, Raitt makes her "compassion" seem unsentimental and even sharp-tongued without any loss of outreach. I love every cut, from John and Johanna Hall's "Good Enough," her most alluring analysis of a long-term sexual relationship yet, to John David Souther's "Run Like a Thief," which is about going to bed with your best friend's mate. A