Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Knitters

  • Poor Little Critter on the Road [Slash, 1985] B
  • The Modern Sounds of the Knitters [Zoë, 2005] *

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Poor Little Critter on the Road [Slash, 1985]
With Dave Alvin and John Doe getting a chance to pick and Exene getting a chance to sing purty, this ad hoc roots excursion is often tuneful and appealing, sometimes much more. I have my silly faves, but the convincer isn't silly at all--"Cryin' but My Tears Are Far Away," in which Doe not only writes and sings (and how) a classic country ballad, but creates a paradigm of urban alienation at the same time. Unfortunately, the bad stuff can be revoltingly cute, beatnik romanticism's softfolkie underbelly, as in the Old MacDonald intro to "Rock Island Line" or the speeded-up tag to "Walkin' Cane," which seems designed to convince alienated urbans that you can get rock and roll out of this hick stuff. B

The Modern Sounds of the Knitters [Zoë, 2005]
These days folk-country is exactly their speed ("The New Call of the Wreckin' Ball," "Skin Deep Town"). *