Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Professor Longhair: Live on the Queen Mary [Harvest, 1978]
Roy Byrd's pianistic intricacies--which inspired Fats Domino, Huey Smith, Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, and other New Orleans luminaries--come through better on this live recording than on Atlantic's '50s compilation. This I credit to the hazardously busy (and uncredited) bass-and-drums accompaniment, which provides enough movement down below to allow Prof to really get rolling up top. Blues backup isn't supposed to work that way, but these guys get away with it, and good for them. P.S. Prof sings off-key a lot. P.P.S. It doesn't matter--sometimes it's even cute. A-