Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Three Dog Night: Harmony [Dunhill, 1971]
Next to Grand Funk, they're the country's top touring act, and they sell singles in the multiple millions besides. They're slick as Wesson Oil. And when they choose the right material and go light on the minstrel-show theatrics, they're fine--next to "Maggie May," "Joy to the World" is the most durable single of the year. Their albums do vary--avoid the "Joy to the World" vehicle Naturally--but I think this is the best. Even if you're hostile, you'll have to concede that any group that can string together great-but-obscure songs from Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell, and Moby Grape without inspiring a rush back to the originals has something going for it. Wish they'd cut the poetry reading, though. B+