Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Esther Phillips: Here's Esther . . . Are You Ready [Mercury, 1979]
Proving her resilience once again, this thirty-year-woman skates over "Philadelphia Freedom" with a lot more cool than Aretha managed on "The Weight," explores her blues roots with a Ruby & the Romantics cover, and gets good material out of what still looks suspiciously like a stable. Special plaudits to producer Harvey Mason, who reminds us that disco horns and strings are supposed to push push. Fave: the danceable get-down parody, "Oo Oop Oo Oop." B+