Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Lefty Frizzell: Look What Thoughts Will Do [Columbia/Legacy, 1997]
Rather than competing with Rhino's definitive 18-cut Best of, this two-CD set repeats it piecemeal around 16 newcomers, many never before U.S.-available. The tape I made of these has its lulls--"Forbidden Lovers" is Merle ordinaire, "Don't Let Her See Me Cry" is femme-chorus ordinaire, and so forth. But even the lulls have their charms. From the intricate "Don't Think It's Been Fun, Dear (Cuz It Ain't)" through the long-lost Jimmie Rodgers covers and the unknowns that sound eternal, most are extraordinaire. Sure he's a honky-tonk rounder, but he's only loud for contrast. His gift is his unhurried phrasing and two-stepping guitar, how gently he promises heaven and goes to hell. A+