Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Morells

  • Shake and Push [Borrowed, 1982] B+
  • The Best Bar Band Ever! 'Live' in '84 [Almeron, 2009] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Shake and Push [Borrowed, 1982]
These four permanent residents of Springfield, Missouri, and environs unearth minor classics Dave Edmunds would give his doctorate for. New rockabilly doesn't come any more authentic or less purist than "Eager Boy" (he wants to be a senator) or "Ugly and Slouchy" (she won't cheat) or their own "Red's" (eats). But Rockpile, the Blasters, even the Stray Cats fire their roots into the future with an edgy intensity that's missing from the performances and recording here, which makes the difference on a record that might have been a minor classic itself. B+

The Best Bar Band Ever! 'Live' in '84 [Almeron, 2009]
This Missouri quintet never much rocked the house, playing their "Rockabilly/Beach Music/Psychedelic Bubblegum" for fun rather than intensity--a looser kind of release that helps flat patches pass before you know it. And did they have a nose for a certain kind of unprepossessing good song. The Strangeloves' "Cara-Lin" and their own "Growin' a Beard," two of the six selections they hauled out for both of the shows these matched 79-minute discs document, each rely on a repetitive chorus of no great import that any sentient human will memorize involuntarily within two minutes. That leaves 37 songs played once, mostly covers you've never heard in your life--a life that will be just slightly happier after you get to know them. B+