Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Greenberger Greenberg Cebar

  • Tell Me That Before [Pel Pel, 2011] A-

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Tell Me That Before [Pel Pel, 2011]
David Greenberger and his Duplex Planet project are old news, and there've been other recordings. But I'm not sure how many a music person would want, and can't imagine any of them improving on the new one I've fallen for: 17 subtly intonated dramatizations of words Americans in elder facilities have spoken to Greenberger followed by a multivocal 19-minute finale. No one's altogether bitter, but many are weary, and gradually the selections become not so much sadder as deeper, their bygone vernacular a bearer of authority and idiosyncrasy, reason and regret. Wise, deluded, confused, loving, placid, wacky, they reminisce and philosophize as they wait for the end, and Greenberger respects them all. Mark Greenberg provides each reflection with dedicated homespun accompaniment--bass and/or drums and/or keyboard, ukulele and/or accordion and/or vibraphone--that accents the musicality of their speech. The words would appear to be all. Yet every time your mind wanders, your ear tells you they're not. A-