Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Robbie Robertson

  • Robbie Robertson [Geffen, 1987] C+
  • Storyville [Geffen, 1991] C

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Robbie Robertson [Geffen, 1987]
Once established as an icon of quality, he always took himself too seriously, and age has neither mellowed him nor wised him up. So now, casting about for a contemporary context, he hooks up with the two most sententious young artists of quality on the charts. Took some guts for such an unrepentant Americana-monger to risk Anglophobe wrath, but unfortunately, the mesh didn't take. Because whatever you think of Peter Gabriel and Bono Vox, you have to admit that unlike the old man they're a) idealistic, b) singers, and c) at no loss for context. C+

Storyville [Geffen, 1991]
Robertson's unctuous undertone is the voice of a two-bit hustler who's discovered the big lie--the good and the beautiful, rapture and immortality, my BMW's in the shop, of course I'm not married, I can't wait to go down on you. It's disheartening that people whose age and wisdom approach my own are fussing over his New Orleans "concept"--a posse of L.A. studio hacks augmented by a few ringers and the kind of second-line once-removed horn charts the Band was hiring 20 years ago. The '70s are over, gang. Now let's dispense with the '80s. C