Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  Expert Witness
Books:
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Writings:
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Playboy
  Blender
  Rolling Stone
  Billboard
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
  Recyclables
  Newsprint
  Lists
  Miscellany
Bibliography
NPR
Web Site:
  Home
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
  Archive
Venues:
  Noisey
CG Search:
Google Search:
Twitter:

Ernest Tubb

  • Live 1965 [Rhino, 1989] A-
  • Country Music Hall of Fame Series [MCA, 1992] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Live 1965 [Rhino, 1989]
You may never love his amazingly resonant baritone--he always sings flat, and by his own admission can't hold a note for longer than a beat. After nearly 50 years on the road, though, his two "live" albums were applause-added phonies, so this posthumous find is something new. Cut by an engineer friend when Tubb was 51 (not so bad when you consider that he rerecorded his compilations for stereo and full rhythm section in his mid-forties), it documents a show that evolved but never really changed--unhurried, genial, skipping from Tubb standards to chart fare to honky-tonk classics to band features to climax with his first and greatest hit, "Walkin' the Floor Over You." Reliable, reassuring, the man who invented honky-tonk belies truisms about how great pop music is always passionate or urgent or necessary. And sounds weird as hell. A-

Country Music Hall of Fame Series [MCA, 1992]
Snotnoses who think Hank and Lefty make them country fans won't believe how slow, flat, and sentimental the first honky tonker was. And though except for one hymn these 16 selections were all hits, there are livelier and more poetic possibilities that might help dilettantes comprehend his primal unflappability. Then again, so would a quick listen to Red Foley, who wasn't Pat Boone's father-in-law for nothing. Every genre needs an acid test. You may never be the same. A-