Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Jim Kweskin

  • Richard D. Herbruck Presents Jim Kweskin's America [Reprise, 1971] B-
  • Acoustic Swing & Jug [Vanguard, 1998] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Richard D. Herbruck Presents Jim Kweskin's America [Reprise, 1971]
I approve of any revitalization of the American-democratic myth, but life in the Lyman Family must not be very good-timey. Though these great traditional songs sound undeniably idiosyncratic, they're idiosyncratic with the kind of ol'-folks-at-bay decripitude you might expect from people who believe God is a harmonica player. B-

Acoustic Swing & Jug [Vanguard, 1998]
Milder but steadier than their brothers in dissipation the Holy Modal Rounders, whose first two albums have been remastered onto one Fantasy CD, this aggregation set the standard for folkiedom's hedonist wing, committed only to good-time blues, goofball hokum, and the occasional silly pop song. At this historical distance they're at least as far out there as their inspirations Will Shade and Gus Cannon, neither of whom followed his harmonica player onto a commune when he decided he was God (Mel Lyman, you could look it up), and their selected works pack more fun than Yazoo's muddled Ruckus Juice and Chitlins comps: "Beedle Um Bum," "Ukelele Lady," "Borneo," "Never Swat a Fly," and a Maria Muldaur "Richland Woman" that couldn't make you forget John Hurt but might just inspire you to look him up. A-