Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Rod Stewart: Smiler [Mercury, 1974]
Except for an embarrassingly unnatural "Natural Man" (that's right, Aretha's), the failure here is elusive, but that doesn't make it any less real--spiritual tone, energy, horns, something like that. For me, the better part of valor is to give up before the Elton John track wears out the way the Sam Cooke stuff and "Dixie Toot" already have. B-