Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Delbert McClinton: Love Rustler [ABC, 1977]
McClinton's cult sentimentalizes bar music. The fact that bars encourage a relatively innocent functionality--pleasing a small concrete audience rather than a [ . . . ] make them any more "authentic" than studios: McClinton is essentially a male Texas version of Linda Ronstadt--a strong-voiced, versatile singer who doesn't seem like an especially interesting person. This means not only that he's at the mercy of songwriters and arrangements but also that he isn't likely to have very distinctive taste in either. The title cut is a classic, and several of the remakes are worth hearing more than twice, but asa whole this album is as pleasant and forgettable as a Friday night out. B-