Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Mary McCaslin & Jim Ringer

  • The Bramble and the Rose [Philo, 1978] A-

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The Bramble and the Rose [Philo, 1978]
On record as much as live, two folkies whose solo work runs from pleasant (Ringer) to special-if-flawed (McCaslin) make up a whole equal to the sum of its parts, which is quite enough--her precise, slightly astringent soprano is the other half of his offhand baritone. In addition to the only version of "Geronimo's Cadillac" you need to own, this revives traditional mountain songs so matter-of-fact and out-of-this world that you can understand why folklorists devote their lives to the stuff. And on the finale, "Hit the Road Jack," the dry, intelligent humor they share--hers mock-prim, his nice-gruff--finally reaches the surface. A-