Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Country Joe McDonald

  • Thinking of Woody Guthrie [Vanguard, 1969] C
  • Paris Sessions [Vanguard, 1972] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Thinking of Woody Guthrie [Vanguard, 1969]
It's the concept of this album that I don't like. Musically, it's not bad--a nice selection of Woody's tunes rendered agreeably by Joe and some Nashville sidemen. As an educational project I suppose it could be called, er, worthwhile. But anyone who has read this far may consider himself educated; the real thing is easy to swallow and can be purchased at better record shops. C

Paris Sessions [Vanguard, 1972]
Amazing. The man (repeat: man) has written feminist songs that are both catchy and sensible. Despite the real/honest prison poem and the silly, outdated record fan routines, his best in about five years. B+

Further Notes:

Subjects for Further Research [1970s]: The proud author of "Bring Back the Sixties Man" has dated worse than John Sebastian because he has no pop sense. I liked Paris Sessions a lot in 1973 and it still sounds OK, but it's hard to, er, relate to the self-righteous feminist songs of a man who's subsequently proved much more dedicated to self-righteousness than to feminism. Still, he has a knack for the topical, and with Phil Ochs dead we may learn to appreciate him once again.

Everything Rocks and Nothing Ever Dies [1990s]