Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

John Denver: Poems, Prayers and Promises [RCA Victor, 1971]
Denver is everything an acoustic singer-songwriter might be--pretty, vapid, and commercial. "Take Me Home, Country Roads" is a genuine pop archetype, and as an inhabitant of the temperate regions of earth I find that sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy, too. But usually his voice and his songs are tepid rather than temperate, as is the mid-'60s folk sensibility and stringless/hornless instrumentation. There's more originality and spirit in Tom Jones--maybe even Engelbert Humperdinck. If James is a wimp, John is a simp, and that's even worse. C