Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Du-Tels

  • No Knowledge of Music Required [Shimmy Disc, 2001] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

No Knowledge of Music Required [Shimmy Disc, 2001]
There's not for everyone, and then there's this--Gary Lucas spelling Peter Stampfel on what started out a children's album and ended up half a children's album. Stampfel is a great singer only when both voice and heart are completely in it, and here sometimes he conveys more life than inspiration, maybe because even "bad" voices age. But Lucas's quick-pick guitar and groaned originals--however they began, "Crawlspace" and "Sandman" are children's songs now--tip the balance toward give-it-a-chance-willya. Includes a reeling "Ring of Fire" ("such a dirty song," murmurs Lucas, taken with the "went down down down"), a postcanonical "Rollin' Sea" ("A wonderful place to hunt the snark/Or listen to the dogfish bark"), and three works of kidlike genius: the eight-year-old targeted "Zoe's Song," the elaborately disgusting "Rotten Family," and "Captain Kidd," begun with Michael Hurley in 1963 about one Chris Lindsey, future Deacon of the Admirality of the Fellowship of the Sea. B+