Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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K.T. Oslin

  • 80's Ladies [RCA Victor, 1987] B
  • This Woman [RCA Victor, 1988] B
  • Love in a Small Town [RCA, 1990] A-
  • Greatest Hits: Songs from an Aging Sex Bomb [RCA, 1993] A-
  • "My Roots Are Showing . . ." [BNA, 1996] Neither
  • Live Close By, Visit Often [BNA, 2001] *

Consumer Guide Reviews:

80's Ladies [RCA Victor, 1987]
After "Do Ya'," side two is dreck, squeezing its sob stories down to the last overripe chord change, but when she asserts herself this countrypolitan career woman can tell you more about the vagaries of erotic love than two male neotraditionalists half her age combined. Not surprisingly, she asserts herself only when she writes a song all by her lonesome--on "80's Ladies," "Younger Men," and "Do Ya'" too. And the only tune she didn't have a hand in is a sob story that should convert anyone who thinks lady songwriters shouldn't launch singing careers in the prime of life. A voice she's got. B

This Woman [RCA Victor, 1988]
The songwriting may never kick in full time, though it sure has its moments--when a girl with a new used car invites a cute young thing out for a spin, or a single begins her status report with a quiet "I'm overworked and I'm overweight." But there are other reasons to root for this full-timbred New York-based outsider--not only does she challenge Nashville's hidebound gender roles, but she doesn't cotton to neotraditionalist canons. In fact, her music hints at pop, and if you think that has to mean schlock or rock, don't tell the guitarists. B

Love in a Small Town [RCA, 1990]
She's rooting around in her catalogue for material, and except for the incorrigibly infatuated "Cornell Crawford" ("the first song I ever wrote," and it could keep you going), the old stuff lacks the CMA-sweeping experience of "'80s Ladies" or "Didn't Expect It to Go Down This Way." But the 1990 copyrights come close, the old stuff beats most folks', the covers are perfect, and she sings like Dusty Springfield. With a drawl. Her own. A-

Greatest Hits: Songs from an Aging Sex Bomb [RCA, 1993]
A greatest-hits it may be, a best-of it's not. Only "80's Ladies" hints at the desperate edge of "Younger Men" and "Didn't Expect It To Go Down That Way," the sexually aggressive young "Cornell Crawford" would make a dandy companion to the sexually aggressive young "Hey Bobby," and the sexually aggressive old "Oo-Wee" would make a dandy companion to the sexually aggressive old "This Woman." Oslin deserves to be famous, but if she really wants to break pop, she should convince her handlers that taking risks means more than putting 11 cuts on your retrospective where Nashville would hold the line at 10. A-

"My Roots Are Showing . . ." [BNA, 1996] Neither

Live Close By, Visit Often [BNA, 2001]
senior moments of an aginger sex bomb ("I Can't Remember Not Loving You," "Neva Sawyer") *