Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The "5" Royales: Monkey Hips and Rice: The "5" Royales Anthology [Rhino, 1994]
Competing double-discs by Clyde McPhatter's Drifters and Harvey Fuqua's Moonglows convince me that these guys were the shit. The Coasters still rule, but the Coasters' sui generis wasn't their own, and beneath the musicianship they were basically comedians. Lowman Pauling's hard-touring sextet did it all, laughs included, and although Pauling's thought-through songwriting and groundbreaking guitar made him the auteur, singer Johnny Tanner deserves more grafs than he'll ever get in the prehistory of soul. They were sincere. They were dirty. They were smart. They were stoopid. They were great artists. They ended up working nine-to-five and going to church on Sundays. A