Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Mem Shannon

  • A Cab Driver's Blues [Rykodisc, 1995] B+
  • Mem Shannon's 2nd Blues Album [Hannibal, 1997] *

Consumer Guide Reviews:

A Cab Driver's Blues [Rykodisc, 1995]
This semipro is an accomplished musician and a better writer. Otherwise, couldn't no concept lift him out of the generic welter of New Orleans bluesmen plying their trade in an entertainment center with scanter historical claim on blues--as opposed to jazz, funk, rock and roll, and countless pianistic celebrations of the second line--than Memphis or Houston, Clarksdale or Chicago. But what distinguishes Shannon's songs about his love life and his work life, Oprah Winfrey and his right to sing the blues, is their context--taped conversations from the back of his cab with locals who've seen their pleasures ruined by the pleasure industry and out-of-town assholes who got their idea of revelry from old tit magazines. Makes one wonder how much joy can be left in a city fogged in by the rosy mirage of a tourist economy. And gives Mem Shannon the right to sing the blues. B+

Mem Shannon's 2nd Blues Album [Hannibal, 1997]
the saddest sound he ever heard ("Old Men," "One Thin Dime") *