Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Johnny Darrell

  • California Stop-Over [United Artists, 1970] B+
  • Water Glass Full of Whiskey [Capricorn, 1975] C+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

California Stop-Over [United Artists, 1970]
In which the first man to record "Green Green Grass of Home" and "Son of Hickory Holler's Tramp" makes something of the literate modern-country approach typified by Mickey Newbury. Among his finds: two songs by Nico's favorite Orange County poet, Jackson Browne, and "Willing," which keeps on trucking. Unfortunately, Darrell sounds too sensitive to project the kind of dumb authority that puts corny puns like "Bed of Roses" across, and the two songs from coproducer Larry Murray are irredeemable. But old folkie away from home Dick Rosmini is Murray's better half, and Clarence White picks real good. B+

Water Glass Full of Whiskey [Capricorn, 1975]
The five years of obscurity since California Stop-Over seem to have made him permanently lachrymose. When he tries to sound bright, he also sounds clumsy, as if he hasn't stretched that particular muscle in quite a while. Q: Can a tearjerker have a formal precision of its own? A: Nope, gets too soggy. C+