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:

Little Charlie and the Night Cats

  • Captured Live [Alligator, 1991] Neither
  • Night Vision [Alligator, 1993] B+
  • Straight Up! [Alligator, 1995] A-
  • Shadow of the Blues [Alligator, 1998] *
  • Nine Lives [Alligator, 2005] *

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Captured Live [Alligator, 1991] Neither

Night Vision [Alligator, 1993]
They get your attention by surpassing the potential of such titles as "My Next Ex-Wife," "Can't Keep It Up," and "I'll Never Do That No More"--the finest Coasters routine since "D.W. Washburn," and Jerry Leiber doesn't know it exists. Then they sail out on a groove. For white blues, as we used to call it, positively innovative. B+

Straight Up! [Alligator, 1995]
It would be nice to think Rick Estrin cares that his persona is an anachronism--that in 1995, the streetwise standard of automotive savoir-faire is the Lexus, not the Cadillac. But houserockin' bands are proud to be retro, so thank whomever there's one that doesn't stop at fleet solos and beer-soaked boogies. Estrin sings in the voice of a natural sophisticate whose day is made by a few pithy lines of well-chosen vernacular. He punctures phonies, rolls with the woman problems, has trouble buttoning his lip before his foot jumps in. And his best buddy is a guitarist who can play the blues and tell Charlie Parker jokes simultaneously. A-

Shadow of the Blues [Alligator, 1998]
Ain't love a bitch, ain't Stratocasters bitchin' ("New Old Lady," "Dirty Dealin' Mama"). *

Nine Lives [Alligator, 2005]
Cool cats confront or deny their own inevitable decreptitude ("Circling the Drain," "Quittin' Time"). *