Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Chris Smither: Another Way to Find You [Flying Fish, 1991]
The second release this recovering alcoholic and stagefright victim has managed since 1972--just him, his blue guitar, and a studio full of fans--redoes most of his two early-'70s albums, both out of print since the early '70s were over, and leaves 1985's It Ain't Easy alone. A Cambridge folkie from New Orleans, Smither is an easy taste to acquire: he strums as if to the second line born, sings in a lazy, roughly luxuriant baritone, writes when he's got something to say, and understands o.p.'s from the inside out. I know Randy Newman's "Have You Seen My Baby" so well I was sorry he'd covered it, only to be struck like never before by its final lines: "She say I'll talk to strangers if I want to/I'm a stranger too." Next day I recalled the title of his first album: I'm a Stranger Too. A-