Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Cracking the Cosimo Code: 60s New Orleans R&B and Soul [Ace, 2014]
Consumer advisory: check track listing before considering purchase. Any non-owner of three or more of the six certified classics herein--by Jessie Hill, Earl King, Chris Kenner, Lee Dorsey, Robert Parker, and Aaron Neville--should proceed directly to checkout. For seasoned New Orleans curiosity seekers, these 24 selections are less essential, especially as they embrace full-on soul. But not counting one pathetic twist number, the dance trifles make their presence known, and the full-on jokes are funny every time out. By the '60s, New Orleans music was too fully industrialized for Cosimo Matassa's studio to dominate anymore--Allen Toussaint had taken over by then. But the spread of local talent and the Big Easy ethos produced pleasurable marginalia in quantities no one will ever sort out. Consumer advisory: check Willie Tee's "Teasin' You" and Oliver Morgan's "Who Shot the Lala" if you think I'm jiving. B+