Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Gary U.S. Bonds

  • Dedication [EMI America, 1981] C+
  • The Best of Gary "U.S." Bonds [MCA, 1984] A-
  • The Best of Gary U.S. Bonds [Rhino, 1990] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Dedication [EMI America, 1981]
This is impressive and good-hearted. Not only did B. Springsteen get a record deal for the rock and roller whose oldies have been topping B.'s show since whenever, he got him a hit. Featuring the voice of none other than B. Springsteen, who comes more naturally to these impressive, good-hearted, new B. Springsteen songs (as well as the Dylan and Browne and Lennon-McCartney oldies) than the rock and roller. For one thing, B. has more soul. C+

The Best of Gary "U.S." Bonds [MCA, 1984]
Listen to his Miami Steve-produced '80s stuff and you hear undistinguished Bobby Womack cum Bruce Springsteen. Listen to his Jerry Williams-produced late-'60s stuff and you hear undistinguished Otis Redding cum Swamp Dogg. But listen to his Frank Guida-produced early-'60s hits and you almost can't hear him at all--Guida was so inept in the studio that Bonds comes in at about the same level as the crowd noises and Gene "Daddy G" Barges's saxophone. Thus he fell into the quintessential twist singles, party records which convinced America that a rather tame and silly dance was the gateway to orgyland. The more you listen, the more Bonds's undistinguished Lloyd Price cum Little Richard fades into the ambiance. But the ambience is a gas. A-

The Best of Gary U.S. Bonds [Rhino, 1990]
It's not true he only knew one song--that's a production trick. Anyway, it's a great song, or a great party. The amazing thing isn't that a party is what mastermind Frank Guida wanted, but that a party is what he got--nobody else has ever milked live-in-the-studio for "so much fun." A-