Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Aaron Neville: The Classic Aaron Neville: My Greatest Gift [Rounder, 1990]
With his status as a stylist established, it's time to mention that he's too stylized. Is "Love Letters" "Love Letters," or is it a medium-tempo falsetto-melisma standard not unlike "Cry Me a River"? The call is too close. But nowhere in his grab bag of ad hoc albums is interchangeability less an issue than on this improved version of Charly's Make Me Strong. From jaunty stevedore plaint to dope-defeated lament, Allen Toussaint writes to the singer's experience and produces to his strengths--which you'd best believe are stronger (and more experienced) than some gravel-voiced rough boy's. A-