Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Beat Farmers

  • Tales of the New West [Rhino, 1985] B
  • Van Go [Curb, 1986] B

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Tales of the New West [Rhino, 1985]
Like so many roots bands, they write good songs and cover better ones--even in a nonpurist movement, Velvets-to-Springsteen-to-Spoonful is a broad-minded parlay. And like so many roots bands, their singers aren't sharp enough to bring it together--can't understand the difference between having fun, making fun, and being funny before mixing them up, can't at least be soulful instead of something vaguer, like "genuine." B

Van Go [Curb, 1986]
Except for the deadpan "Gun Sale at the Church" and maybe the Johnny Cash impressions, their country-rock is now proudly generic. In a world of lame concepts this approach is jake with me, and if their sharpest song originated with Neil Young, well, they didn't write the flattest one either. B