Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Chuck McDermott and Wheatstraw: Last Straw [Back Door, 1976]
As befits a Yale dropout, McDermott makes country music with an edge of educated subtlety--the comic sendups of cars and compulsive consumption sound quite a bit more political than Jerry Reed's, the forlorn laments a whole lot more existentialist than George Jones's. Yet Jerry Reed and George Jones are definitely the comparison: McDermott may sound a little like Phil Ochs or Keith Carradine in their country personas, but his voice is stronger and more country. The drawback is the ragged backup from Boston's finest, who sound like folkies who have not yet developed any viable equivalent for slickness. B+