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:

John McLaughlin

  • Devotion [Douglas, 1970] A
  • Electric Guitarist [Columbia, 1978] B+
  • Thieves and Poets [Verve, 2003] Dud

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Devotion [Douglas, 1970]
McLaughlin reminds me as much of Duane Eddy as of John Coltrane--he loves electric noise for its own sake and rocks more naturally than he swings. Here Buddy Miles provides his usual ham-handed thump, a universe away from Tony Williams's sallies, and McLaughlin just marches along on top, his tone supremely heavy by choice. But like Coltrane, though in a much more detached way, he can get enormous mileage out of harmonic ideas whose simplicity is probably one source of the spirituality he generates. Rarely has a rock improvisation been more basic or more thoughtfully conceived than on the little track, where he and Larry Young trade the same elemental motif for so long it turns into an electric mantra. A

Electric Guitarist [Columbia, 1978]
In which the top musicians in fusion are gathered by the man who made it all possible to show the genre off aesthetically--no funk vamps, no one-run solos, no twaddle about the harmony of the universe. The project has a certain stillborn aura--it doesn't swing a lot, there is a reliance on Speedy Gonzalez climaxes, and snatches of such deathless melodies as "Holiday for Strings" and "Mohammed's Radio" are audible. Still, repetitiousness is minimized, and there are good ideas and lots of sensitive interaction. And it didn't sell diddley. B+

Thieves and Poets [Verve, 2003] Dud

See Also