Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Womack & Womack

  • Love Wars [Elektra, 1983] A-
  • Radio M.U.S.C. Man [Elektra, 1985] B+
  • Conscience [Island, 1988] A-
  • Family Spirit [RCA, 1991] Neither

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Love Wars [Elektra, 1983]
Though they're more purely soul music than either, this professional couple place closer to Ashford & Simpson than to Delaney & Bonnie on an urban-to-downhome axis, which may be why their soul music avoids not only nostalgia but conservatism: Al Jackson would have turned in his union card before permitting a drum floomph so loosely contemporary. Ace singers and songwriters (as opposed to singer-songwriters), their lyrics about loss and conflict are sharper than those about love and happiness. But "Express Myself" makes a passable "Is It Still Good to Ya" and their lyrics about loss and conflict--especially "Love Wars" and "A.P.B."--clearly come from lovers who wish they weren't fighters. A-

Radio M.U.S.C. Man [Elektra, 1985]
Just how low-profile the new songs are is made clear when a sweet cover of "Here Comes the Sun" snaps you from drugged semiconscious enjoyment to full attention. I love the relaxed groove and wavering back-porch harmonies that go into their unique sound--lazy, tender, patient, long-suffering, tired of fighting. But they don't have to get by on atmosphere. B+

Conscience [Island, 1988]
On stage, the shy sprite with the truth-telling voice seems way too good for the pompous baldhead she's saddled with, and his album notes don't dispel the impression: something about how a man trusts a woman and she does him wrong but he perseveres and in the end Love prevails, only not that clear. Thus what sounds at first like a great collection turns into a real good one larded with bullshit--its parts are most fruitfully enjoyed at face value, one at a time. Fortunately, Cecil sings a lot better than he talks or thinks; praise the Lord, Linda sings a lot better than Cecil. A-

Family Spirit [RCA, 1991] Neither