Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Rich Man's War [Ruf, 2008]
Bad protest music, as in the forced rhymes and scansion of Norman and Nancy Blake's "Don't Be Afraid of the Neo-Cons," diminishes the cause of justice by making both preacher and choir sound like smug slobs. But nowhere else here does this unlikely cherry-pick of blues survivors, hacks and unknowns fall on its face. They're just mad, that's all. Blues scholar David Evans lifts a title from Freda Payne and adds a "bring the girls back home" verse for Jessica Lynch and Lori Piestewa. Candye Kane, whose many album covers all feature her large breasts, eavesdrops on "Jesus and Mohammed." Sometime Marcia Ball guitarist Pat Boyack spins out a nine-minute ramble in which Bushie nightmares help you hit today's number. After all that, the tireless Eddy Clearwater has every right to sing "A Time for Peace." And when journeyman Doug MacLeod climaxes the proceedings with "You gotta get off your butt if you're gonna implement change," it sounds idiomatic as all get-out. A-