Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Jerry Jeff Walker

  • A Man Must Carry On [MCA, 1977] B+
  • Greatest Hits [MCA, 1980] B-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

A Man Must Carry On [MCA, 1977]
Walker's Austin-based cult reputation has so much to do with looseness and charisma that it took a live double-LP featuring poetry readings and chicken imitations to convince me the man deserved it. Definitive. B+

Greatest Hits [MCA, 1980]
After running his best-of against his live double one-on-one, I can only conclude that this longtime folkie and frequent drunk, a native New Yorker upstate division, turned himself into the archetypal Sun Belt hippie the natural way: interacting nice and easy with the lost gonzos in his band and the refugees from reality in his cult or audience or whatever. Cult, I guess. His audience comprises the far-flung "outlaw" fans who made small-scale country "hits" of a few of his singles--only one of which, the live "Mr. Bojangles," is even included here. Such interactions don't normally come through on plastic, especially in a factory-tooled genre like country music. This time, though, buy the live double. B-