Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Joe Ely: Honky Tonk Masquerade [MCA, 1978]
You know all that brouhaha about Texas music? Here's a record that bears it out for more than two songs at a time. Ely's emotional openness seems neither sentimental nor contrived. He balls the jack with irrefutable glee and sings the lonesome ones so high and hard he makes the next room sound 500 miles away. With Butch Hancock sharing the writing, there are maybe two less-than-memorable songs on the entire album. There's great (Lousiana?) accordion, apt (Mexican?) horns, and lots of (Lubbock!) rock and roll. In short, there hasn't been anything like this since Gram Parsons was around to make Grievous Angel, or do I mean Gilded Palace of Sin? A