Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Stoney Edwards

  • Mississippi, You're on My Mind [Capitol, 1975] A-
  • Blackbird [Capitol, 1976] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Mississippi, You're on My Mind [Capitol, 1975]
Scandalously underrecorded, which I'm sure has nothing to do with the fact that he's black, Edwards remains firm in his allegiances. "Hank and Lefty Raised My Country Soul," he announces, and though he sounds more like Lefty than Hank and more like Merle than either, he's got a right. The voice has Haggard's swing and melismatic burr, but it's more powerful, an advantage except when it gets too thick. And though Edwards literally can't read or write, he makes up good songs and picks better ones. Between "We Sure Danced Us Some Good Ones," a believable account of a good marriage in a music that reserves its honesty for the bad ones, to "Summer Melodies," about innocent fun, he touches all the bases without sententiousness or whoop-de-doo. Country soul indeed. A-

Blackbird [Capitol, 1976]
In which well-meaning producer Chip Taylor provides Edwards with a wonderful title tune about "a couple of country niggers/Stealin' the rodeo" while nudging him in a rockish, folkish direction, probably in the belief that he has a better shot at an audience over there. The results are hardly disgraceful, though Joe Cocker didn't get away with six minutes worth of "Bird on a Wire" either. But the straight country album Edwards did last year was a lot tougher. When people in Nashville get serious, they have a tendency to fall for pretentious schmaltz--that's the story of Mickey Newbury's life. A lot of this, straight country and folkish-rockish both, is too damn close to the edge. B+