Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

W.C. Fields: The Further Adventures of Larson E. Whipsnade and Other Taradiddles [Columbia, 1974]
A quarter century after his death, Fields is harder to deny in the contemplation than on the TV or the stereo. Sure, he was a great comedian, but that doesn't make his films or records compellingly funny. Poppy and The Great Radio Feuds, two companion discs, suffer from limitations of format and context (radio play, complete with ingenue at swimming hole for sex appeal, running gags about Charlie McCarthy's wooden legs) that seem quaint at best. This collection, however, is so wild that to call it surrealistic is to taint it with aesthetic respectability. Laugh first, appreciate later, I say. A-