Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Robt Sarazin Blake: Recitative [Same Room, 2017]
In a vibrato-shaded baritone that recalls a French chansonnier more than an Americana guitar guy, the first singer-songwriter in history to linger on the word "gerrymander" enlists a limber band colored decisively by horn man Thomas Deakin to array sixteen talky songs lasting a mere hour and a half over two CDs. Chants that riff on the titles "Work," "Couples," and "Single Women" ("Haven't been laid in years," "Are always late," "Get to work on time," "Got lucky last night") are as instantly indelible as the Springsteen, Weill, Reed, and Van Morrison lifts woven in, and the disc-openers do equal justice to "The Other Side of Fck It" and "Rock & Roll Dream." But after you've had your fill of the easy stuff, focus on the sequence that begins with the three apparently unrelated verses entitled "Sgt. Manning" and sandwiches "Own House, Own Guns" and "19 Shots" around the essential relief of "On the Corner of Saturday Night." A-