Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Peter Hofmann

  • Rock Classics [CBS, 1983] D

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Rock Classics [CBS, 1983]
If all ten selections were as hilariously wrong as "The House of the Rising Sun," which kicks off this chenu-wine Cherman heldentenor's bid for the unwashed market, it might qualify as a camp masterpiece. Instead it's merely dreadful, an object lesson in how poorly the technical paraphernalia of European good-and-beautiful serve American pop. You can hear why the effortless purity of Hofmann's three-octave range gets over with opera enthusiasts--Judy Collins would kill a whale for it. But "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has never sounded lovelier than in Simon & Garfunkel's original because their fragile harmonies underscore the modesty that makes the melody soar. And if not even Ray Charles could make much of "The Long and Winding Road," he also had the good sense to avoid "MacArthur Park" and "Nights in White Satin" altogether. What is it they're supposed to have over in Europe? Oh, I remember--taste. D