Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Charlie Patton

  • The Best of Charlie Patton [Yazoo, 2003] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Best of Charlie Patton [Yazoo, 2003]
Although Revenant's seven-disc Patton box remains reissuedom's preeminent fetish object, its completism, including its massive documentation, turns the principled crowd-pleaser into a confusing combination of obscure great artist and pro who led the Delta in studio time. The JSP label is selling all the Patton titles on Revenant's first five CDs, in reportedly superior audio, for a fraction of Revenant's price, but you can live with a single disc like this improvement on Yazoo's Founder of the Delta Blues. The sound is no harsher or dimmer than Revenant's, and the seven new selections emphasize tune, humanizing Patton's raw power--he's a formal wellspring, but also an independent songster with a lot of ideas. Docked a notch for cutting "High Water Everywhere" off at the knees. A-