Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Falcons: You're So Fine [Flick, 1985]
I avoid Collectorland, a murky place where one-hit geniuses stab around in the dark and unidentified middlemen muffle the music. But raves on this group, which over the first nine years included Wilson Pickett, Eddie Floyd, Mack Rice, and Levi Stubbs's little brother Joe, overwhelmed my prejudices, and my eight months of listening were almost worth the trouble. These 16 cuts are pre-Pickett, and chief lead Stubbs is what you'd expect--like Pickett and Levi only less so. Wild and gritty in the smoothie era, the '50s Falcons made more of shouting uptempo harmony (and polyphony) than anybody but their producer noticed at the time, and revivalists should check out side one for covers. Side two starts getting generic even if the genre is their own. B+