Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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"Birdland" With Lester Bangs [extended]

  • Jook Savages on the Brazos [Live Wire, 1981] B+
  • "Birdland" With Lester Bangs [Add On, 1986] B+

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Lester Bangs and the Delinquents: Jook Savages on the Brazos [Live Wire, 1981]
This gets over on music--Velvets meet Voidoids in Austin. But anybody who thinks the music isn't Lester should check out the Delinquents' adequate-at-best surf-punk LP--he gets great ideas out of his band, just the way he did on "Let It Blurt" with the already great Robert Quine. The singing is adequate-at-worst (his drawl no longer recalls Eric Bloom), and the lyrics celebrate one man's victory of nihilism with suitably disengaged enthusiasm. B+

"Birdland" With Lester Bangs [Add On, 1986]
Since I knew Lester, I don't entirely trust my moderate delight with this nine-cut, twenty-six-minute demo, recorded one day in 1979 with the future Rattlers, soon to kick him out (as Lester told the tale) because he was "too fat." But since Lester was a genius, I have to mention that it's manifestly more confident than 1981's perfectly acceptable Jook Savages on the Brazos, with which it shares four songs, preserved for posterity a second time after the singer had the opportunity to develop some mannerisms. He was better off relying on force of personality--musically he always had the instincts, and words were no problem. B+

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