Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Moonglows: Their Greatest Hits [MCA, 1997]
No doowoppers worth a damn--not even the micromanaged Drifters--were slicker or more precise than Harvey Fuqua's underlings. They couldn't have done it without Bobby Lester, who adapted his flexible light baritone as easily to straight ballad readings as to the tricky swoops and sobs bassman-bossman Fuqua demanded. But Lester flopped on his own, while Fuqua went on to a&r Etta James, Junior Walker, the Spinners, and "Sexual Healing"-era Marvin Gaye, a New Moonglow 25 years before. Subsuming window displays of special effects in songful flow, the pleasure Fuqua's arrangements take in vocal interaction is clever, calculated, corny--all that. But they're also richer and more ecumenical than almost anything in the gospel quartet tradition doowop supposedly cheapens. A