Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Brinsley Schwarz

  • Despite It All [Capitol, 1971] B+
  • Silver Pistol [United Artists, 1972] B+
  • Nervous on the Road [United Artists, 1972] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Despite It All [Capitol, 1971]
In the wake of willful hype and confused debut, this follow-up has been panned or ignored, an injustice. I'm impressed that four English guys could get the Byrds' kind of bittersweet, covertly strange c&w so right, though actually it's not so different from what the Stones started doing with r&b. My favorite line is either "Why don't you financially back her" or "Because it's so important." My favorite song is "Country Girl." My favorite title is "The Slow One." B+

Silver Pistol [United Artists, 1972]
One side of quite entertaining British Americana and one of barely interesting British Americana. Inconveniently for me, the bad side includes my fave, "Range War," which stars a deux ex machina called the Silver Surfer. That should tell you everything you need to know except who decided to drench the country-rock in Hammond organ. The organ player, I'll warrant. Marginal. B+

Nervous on the Road [United Artists, 1972]
On Silver Pistol, such songs as "Egypt" and "Unknown Number" rendered Gram Parsons irony willfully opaque. Here Nick Lowe would seem at first to be overcompensating--the side-openers, one by his innocent accomplice Ian Gomm, are genre pieces that announce a disc of straightforward country-rock. But then you notice "I Like It Like That" turning into "the place of the name," or hear that Lowe is "scumbag bound." Which prepares you for the last three songs on side one, each a pleasant country-rock genre piece, each shot through with displacement and tragedy. A-