Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Maria Muldaur: Richland Woman Blues [Stony Plain, 2001]
Too old to waste time bragging, too wise to want any more macho mess, Muldaur finds title, lead, and persona for this Memphis Minnie tribute in a well-loved classic by gentle John Hurt. It beats her '60s cover if not the original, as does the pliant, weathered "Me and My Chauffeur." Sticking to underexposed blues songs and aided by a lifetime's worth of friends--Amos Garrett taking Lead Belly to the Delta, Angela Strehli working a "cooperation plan," Alvin Youngblood Hart as Minnie's good old Kansas Joe--she turns in the best record of her undiminished lifetime. When was the last time anyone in Marin County wrote a line to match "Gon' bring you some money if I have to pawn my pants"? A-