Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Dirk Hamilton: You Can Sing on the Left or Bark on the Right [ABC, 1976]
This is one of those records that makes me wish I wasn't in the grading business. I really like it a lot, to the point of positively loving one song, "She Don't Squash Bugs," and getting a nice buzz every time I hear the opening lines of cut one. And while good words are the point, the good words are expressly musical; that is, they are designed for Hamilton's plosive drawl, a delivery in the general tradition of Van Morrison. Hamilton's earth mysticism recalls Morrison, too, and unlike Morrison he has a sense of humor. But also unlike Morrison, he has zilch gift for the hook; he's repetitive in the folk rather than the rock manner. So, all you subtlety fans (you know who you are) might take a chance. B