Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes: I Miss You [Philadelphia International, 1972]
For most of the eight-and-a-half minutes of the title cut, one Blue Note attempts a calm rapprochement with his estranged wife over the telephone while the others shout, moan, and sob his unspoken feelings--summed up by the title, which must repeat a hundred times. But not even their top-forty breakthrough, "If You Don't Know Me by Now," matches up. Gamble, Huff & Co. show off their skill at instrumental deployment and Melvin provides gorgeous vocal arrangements, but too often it all adds up to noble banalities sententiously expressed. And sometimes the banalities aren't so noble. B