Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

David Johansen: The David Johansen Group Live [Epic Associated/Legacy, 1993]
A Bottom Line show from the beginnings of his solo run, before he had the arena-rock flourishes down pat, this isn't quite the song showcase it might have been later--no "Bohemian Love Pad," no "Wreckless Crazy," no "She Loves Strangers." But on the other hand, no "Melody," no "Marquesa de Sade," no "Flamingo Road," no enjoyable-to-forgivable gestures that aged even more awkwardly than the rest of his Grass Roots phase. In retrospect, this Staten Island band sounds a lot more like the Dolls than it did at the time. And if it's less inspired and more in control--cf. Johnny Thunders's veering cameo--that's not entirely a bad thing. A-