Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Carola Dibbell
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To Do: Writings

Current standard for all writings is to provide the original publication name and year. CG columns also have month, since year alone doesn't adequately distinguish them. I would like to allow for greater precision, especially as we add articles to a bibliographic database.

Each section has an index.php which automatically generates new listings as new pages are added. These have stubs for introductions and end matter, but these stubs are rarely used. In the longer term, we may wish to replace some/all of these indexes with custom indexes.

Consumer Guide Columns

The Consumer Guide columns are largely redundant to the CG database. They add a (generally brief) introduction, historical context, and (sometimes) additional consumer news. Because they are historical, the question arises whether to update the CG reviews when they are subsequently changed (thus far, in CG books). We've tended to do just that, and have added "[Original grade: . . . ]" where the grade has changed. But this has actually been done in very few cases.

In updating, a special problem arises when the grade of a reviewed record is changed to a non-review grade (e.g., Kronos Quartet's Voices of Africa was downgraded from A- to Neither. In these cases, I've kept the original review and added a "[Later grade: . . . ]" note.

Note that the Addresses sections have been dropped. Not sure what the shelf life is on them, but chances are many are long gone. We could try to maintain address info (including URLs) in the label table, but we discussed this and decided not to try.

The columns generally have a "Dud of the Month," which is set off under a sub-head. Should we also note "Pick Hit(s)"? (These are not noted in the WP sources for the columns.)

There are several columns which still have xx marks. (I count 18.) These need to be mopped up.

Very few columns have titles. I think a title looks better, even if it is just "Christgau's Consumer Guide." Since the date is the major variation, should we include it at the top? We might want to design some sort of banner for these pages.

The stock-generated index is especially lame here, even with the trick to force the sort order. A hand-crafted index.php may be in order. There should be some introduction text, possibly in index.php, and links to other sources. Also, there is an obvious chronological browsing order here, so next/previous links on each page would be very nice to have.

Pre-WP CG columns are likely to be hard to come by: the priority should be to put the reviews into the CG database rather than the columns. However, a couple of experiments have been done, using some PHP code to fetch the reviews from the CG database:

There are more in the "not-yet" directory, missing many reviews and sometimes other text. Need some way to denote Pick Hit/Must to Avoid here. (The Voice layout had album cover scans and captions. The intro text often refers to Pick Hits in a way that would be confusing without the covers.)

Rock&Roll&

Music Essays

Music Reviews

Book Reviews

Pazz & Jop

The polls were run for 1971 and 1974-present. We currently have:

  • Year end essays for 1984, 1988-2000.
  • Dean's lists for 1988, 1990-2000.
  • Critics poll results complete for 1984, 1988-1997, 1999-2000; partial results for remaining years (except 1998).
  • No supplemental articles, quotes, or ballots.

Lists

Miscellany