Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Shaver: The Earth Rolls On [New West, 2001]
Always too rudimentary a singer and soft a writer to earn the unconditional love of anybody but his famous drinking buddies and the woman who married him three times, this good-hearted, weak-willed people's poet cum no-good bum hasn't given up on yon "Evergreen Fields" or that ol' "Restless Wind." But for once rank sentimentality is the exception. The thanksgiving of "Love Is So Sweet" and flipped bird of "Leavin' Amarillo" are equally combative, equally cheerful. Nor is it just the New Year's Eve OD of his guitarist son Eddy that gives "Hard Hearted Heart," "Star in My Heart," and "Blood Is Thicker Than Water" their resonance--though you do wonder whether Billy Joe saw the end coming and was doing what he could about it. A-