Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Lefty Frizzell: The Best of Lefty Frizzell [Rhino, 1991]
Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson are unimaginable without him, Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, and George Jones his only artistic rivals, and for sheer vocal pleasure the texture and definition of his casual drawl tops them all. Keeping pain at bay with the merest hint of good-humored resignation, his soft-edged phrasing achieves honky-tonk satori whether he's meditating ("Look What Thoughts Will Do") or stepping out ("I'm an Old, Old Man"). Without ever grandstanding, he packs enormous musical force. He can write--sad, funny, jubilant, always terse. And though the portion of his catalogue that keeps recirculating is never bad or even ordinary, no previous collection has maintained such a standard of tuneful eloquence. A+