Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Oh-OK: The Complete Recordings [Collectors' Choice, 2002]
You want full disclosure, I'll give you full disclosure: Carola Dibbell and I annotated this reissue of two long-lost early-'80s EPs for $350, below my usual word rate but it was love--I did my part in an elbow cast. Two Georgia girls, 16 and 18 when they started, tiny and childlike and minimalist and sui generis and monumental--read all about it when you plunk down your almost-a-buck-a-minute (and-worth-it) for 10 songs in 22 minutes. Our notes, however, celebrate the official oeuvre, not the 13 live bonus tracks, only one a repeat title and only another--the best, as they knew--previously released. Though a few hold up fine as is, these latter, which I first heard when I got the final, are educational, as bonus tracks tend to be. Their lesson is that the EPs, rude though they seem, comprise recordings, not songs. As songs, the previously unreleaseds would be good enough properly sung, arranged, and balanced, and they also wouldn't be on a par with "Playtime," "Person," or "Such N Such." Lynda and Linda were charming live, you can tell. But on record, it took plenty of artifice to put their naivete across. Docked a notch for conflict of interest. A-