Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Blasters: Non Fiction [Slash, 1983]
"Train whistle cries / lost on its own track" could be half a haiku for Hank Williams should these American traditionalists ever turn Japanese, and if "Leaving" is worthy of George Jones, "Bus Station" and "It Must Be Love" pick up where Tom T. Hall left off. None of which is code for countrybilly--this is r&b Jerry Lee could be proud of. It's just that Dave Alvin writes with an objective colloquial intensity that fits the straight-ahead dedication of his cross-racial and -generational band the way James Taylor's ingrown whimsy suited the laid-backs he hung with. In other words, Dave might qualify as the last great singer-songwriter if only he was a singer. And brother Phil is. A