Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Doctors, Professors, Kings & Queens: Big Ol' Box of New Orleans [Shout! Factory, 2004]
This box wasn't assembled by the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, but the way it trades on the city's status as a musical wellspring to showcase professional revivalists running rampant, it might have been. Ignoring chronology, it mixes classic polyphonic jazz, irresistible piano r&b, and seminal proto-funk with Cajun and zydeco and overrated contemporary locals of every provenance and stylistic orientation. Sure there are great tracks few nonexperts have heard--Dave Bartholomew's "Shrimp and Gumbo," Balfa Toujours's "Marshall's Club." But they're overwhelmed by pleasantly ordinary ones that make it a labor to find the gems. And for some reason, the Crescent City's most original contemporary musician is totally absent. Mannie Fresh, back your azz in here. [Blender: 3]