Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Ned Sublette

  • Cowboy Rumba [Palm Pictures, 1999] Dud
  • Kiss You Down South [Postmambo, 2012] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Cowboy Rumba [Palm Pictures, 1999] Dud

Kiss You Down South [Postmambo, 2012]
My favorite tune here was also Thomas Jefferson's--the 18th-century hit "Money Musk," which Sublette appropriates the better to ensnare the "great brain of a brave new nation" in his own sweet trap. Listen faithfully and you'll find more, beginning with the geographical-anatomical title lick. But in truth I wish they weren't so subtle, just as I wish the clave aficionado had enlisted a rhythm section instead of recording these 14 songs as if his 1969 nylon-stringed Ramirez classical guitar was Leadbelly's steel, which it isn't--momentum-wise, anyway. That said, phrasing that stops you short he can do, and lyrically he's something else. "Flow" and "Between Piety and Desire," "Gangster Roots" and "The Auctioneer's Nightmare," "Drugs (Fuck All You Motherfuckers)" and "Hey God"--these deliver the requisite lyricism, complexity, and rage, respectively. The Jefferson song, entitled "Sally," delivers all three. A-