Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Scott Goddard

  • The Genius of Ray Charles [Atlantic, 1960]
  • Your Fool [Enigma EP, 1984] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Genius of Ray Charles [Atlantic, 1960]
An eclectic standards collection ranging from "Alexander's Ragtime Band" to "Come Rain or Come Shine" to the Percy Mayfield blues "Two Years of Torture" was the brainchild and love child of producers Jerry Wexler and Nesuhi Ertegun, who noodged five different arrangers into the subtlest charts of Charles's career. Charles tried many times, but except for Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music he never again assembled such a consistent album in this mode. [Rolling Stone]

Your Fool [Enigma EP, 1984]
Though the former Surf Punk is in it strictly for laughs, "I know it's been done before/All my songs about boring stuff" is as close as these six tracks some to a quotable joke. Though he varies his singing comedian's monotone with the occasional inflection or preverbalism, delivery isn't his secret either. And though the generically catchy, vaguely apt arrangements can make me smile all by themselves, I couldn't tell you why. Maybe there's something intrinsically funny about Southern California. B+