Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Phil Alvin

  • Un "Sung Stories" [Slash, 1986] A-
  • County Fair 2000 [HighTone, 1994] Neither

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Un "Sung Stories" [Slash, 1986]
He loves a good lyric, and if he can't write them or order them up, he has only to ransack his record collection for oldies that are just strange enough. Mixing country blues with Cab Calloway, Peetie Wheatstraw's murderous "Gangster's Blues" with a supremely mournful country song called "Collins Cave," he goes for narrative and gets it. The arrangements range from very spare to orchestral, and never mind Tower of Power--Alvin goes to Sun Ra when he wants Ellingtonia, Dirty Dozen when he wants polyphony. The only exception to all this smart stuff is a perfectly OK "Daddy Rollin' Stone." I hope it breaks AOR, I bet it won't, and I wish he didn't have to bother. A-

County Fair 2000 [HighTone, 1994] Neither