Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Tommy Womack

  • There, I Said It! [Cedar Creek, 2007] A-
  • Now What! [Cedar Creek, 2012] A-
  • I Thought I Was Fine [Schoolkids, 2021] A

Consumer Guide Reviews:

There, I Said It! [Cedar Creek, 2007]
Rising from the icky depths of the lyrically, vocally, and harmonically abject "A Songwriter's Prayer," a 40-year-old Nashville lifer finds solace in a forgotten WTF he wrote at 28 and by age 44 comes up with a bunch of new ones about bad jobs, fluorescent lighting, and low-grade cigarette, beer, and Xanax dependency. The climax would be the proud admission "I'm Never Gonna Be a Rock Star" except that the climax is the seven-minute must-hear "Alpha Male & the Canine Mystery Blood," a world-historically unromantic rocker about rock after 40. Also crucial is "Nice Day," about his boy and his wife and a friend's swimming pool. It won a prize. A-

Now What! [Cedar Creek, 2012]
Reflective without wallowing in might-have-beens, his nasal drawl weary and at ease with itself, he's an established failure who's calmed down considerably for a pimple on Dylan's ass who believes the best thing about ADD is that it never bothers you too long. "90 Miles an Hour on a Dead End Street" is no advertisement for chianti just as "Pot Head Blues" is no advertisement for cannabis. In one strong song, he feels the heat of an old flame on a checkout line and is so glad the burns have healed. In several other strong songs, he pitches woo wifeward. A-

I Thought I Was Fine [Schoolkids, 2021]
Pushing 60 with that boy of his in college or at least out on his own, never has this Nashville lifer made more of his knack for words and the tunes to put them across than on his eighth long-player. He's so funny and humane you can't help rooting for him, which in this case means hoping he hasn't settled for a concept album about the disconnect between holy matrimony and the rock and roll life. Don't miss the closing diptych, true stories about how his much older brother Waymond once played touch football with Elvis and Waymond's beloved wife Lou once told Elvis to get lost. Then there's "Call Me Gary," about a priest he knew long ago who'd buy five-year-olds ice cream cones and then put his head in their laps. Hope that "Sitting here in Saskatchewan/Baby, baby you're the only one" is literal and "Rock and roll is a losing cause/All my old groupies got menopause" is just an opener he couldn't resist. Which may not be so easy with "Tumors in my bladder an inch from my penis/I'd appreciate it if you keep that between us." A