Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Jerry Garcia: Garcia [Round, 1974]
Garcia's willingness to strain his stringy pipes on muscular material may be a function of karmic complacency, but that doesn't mean he can't sing. His voice is as expressive as Lou Reed's or Donald Fagen's and more credible than Ry Cooder's or Robert Hunter's. The first side of this plumbs lyrics by Chuck Berry, Smokey Robinson, and Irving Berlin that you may never have noticed before, and Garcia's guitar spruces up the somewhat limp backing of the Marin County All-Stars. On side two, unfortunately, some other Marin County all-stars contribute songs that need another kind of plumbing. B-