Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Wilson Pickett: Don't Knock My Love [Atlantic, 1971]
Pickett's variation on the New Pretentiousness in Black Music is to progress beyond simple horn riffs into the busy little world of producers Brad Shapiro and Dave Crawford. As an idea, it's better than most--Duke Ellington did a lot with something similar--but in practice it's just about unlistenable. The nadir is "Don't Knock My Love--Pt. 2," a fantasia for brass on which Pickett doesn't sing at all. But Wade Marcus's strings can make anything worse, and Pickett sounds as desperate when his interpretations are spiritless as when they're frantic. Best cut: a cover of Free's "Fire and Water." Hmm. C+