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:

Brun Campbell

  • Joplin's Disciple [Delmark, 2001] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Joplin's Disciple [Delmark, 2001]
The pianist-turned-barber was 14 when he turned pro in 1898, 24 when he quit the road, past 60 when he began recording. So since there's no sign that his modest chops deteriorated or his ham-fisted aesthetic developed, playing this record of classic Scott Joplin creations and ungainly Brun Campbell originals is like tossing a century of deodorized air out the window. Ragtime contemporaries unheard by me may have taken a more refined approach, but Campbell's ingrained indelicacy yanks the arty veil off the style. The only good pianist I know with a heavier touch is Jerry Lee Lewis, who has more rebop if less technique and should go into training for a rag album of his own. On a lovely and necessary 1998 tribute, Butch Thompson made a point of re-emphasizing Joplin's pulse. Campbell's left would KO Thompson before he'd finished flexing his fingers. A-