Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Long Burn the Fire [Janus, 1972] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Long Burn the Fire [Janus, 1972]
A follow-up to There's a Riot Goin' On by a group identified as "Black Mer-Da" on the disc itself, before someone at Janus got cold feet. No more riots here than with Sly, or course--just self-hate, misogyny, desperate poverty, and senseless violence, as out-of-tune voices declaim strangely catchy tunes over loitering funk patterns and jagged guitar. "Sometimes I wish I'd never been born," they announce flatly, and they can really get flat. But the most surreal passage comes toward the close of "My Mistake," when "I should have killed her instead" (author's note: of the friend he caught fucking her), horrifying enough as a surprise endline, is transformed into a little piece of art-funk, repeated amid various instrumental configurations by an off-key chorale that sounds positively transported. B+