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:

Ethel Waters

  • The Incomparable Ethel Waters [Columbia/Legacy, 2003] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Incomparable Ethel Waters [Columbia/Legacy, 2003]
Born 1896 in a red-light district to a 12-year-old rape victim, Waters was the record industry's first crossover star by age 25. She made her mark distilling dirty blues through timbre and diction clear as a glass slipper--on the long-deleted Greatest Years, "My Handy Man" and "Organ Grinder Blues" are further eroticized by how supplely she restrains the hot mama inside her. But with only two tracks that predate 1930, this collection documents the Broadway fixture who'd win an Oscar nomination and back Billy Graham. Listen through her protective decorum, which takes effort after half a century of radio raunch, and you'll encounter not just a gifted vocalist but a born actress who delivers every lyric and walks off with several--most famously, "Stormy Weather." A-