Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Willie Phoenix: Willie Phoenix [A&M, 1982]
Phoenix knocked me out on sheer pizazz fronting a raw, Beatley band called Romantic Noise at Max's three or four years ago; here he surfaces as a Springsteen convert and almost does it again, although after a dozen plays I wonder whether Romantic Noise's songs matched its pizazz. God knows Phoenix doesn't go for ersatz John Cougar epics--his tribute is all musical style, which since his voice outrings Springsteen's can be pretty impressive until the drama calls your attention to the words. B-