Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Three Dog Night: It Ain't Easy [Dunhill, 1970]
Admitting it won't gain me any of the hip cachet I crave, but I admired and enjoyed this group's first LP. I found the second mediocre and the live job that followed it wretchedly excessive, but this one--their fourth in just fourteen months--gets back: exemplary song-finding and not too much plastic-soul melon-mouthing or preening vocal pyrotechnique. Highlights: the hit version of Randy Newman's "Mama Told Me Not to Come," with just the right admixture of high-spirited schlock to turn it into the AM giant it deserves to be, and a departure from pre-Beatles times called "Good Feeling (1957)." B