Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Kitty Wells: Country Music Hall of Fame Series [MCA, 1992]
Granting Maybelle Carter her own category as traditionalist matriarch, Wells was country's first queen, and though she broke through on the side of the honky tonk angels, her real theme song was "I'd Rather Stay Home"--for her, the wild side of life was a last resort. Once in a while--on "Searching (For Someone Like You)," to be precise--her unadorned longsuffering gets wearisome, but Nashville was a better place after this plainest and most self-effacing of singers started voicing sentiments like "Will Your Lawyer Talk to God," "Mommy for a Day," and "I Gave My Wedding Dress Away." A