Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Joe Ely: Down on the Drag [MCA, 1979]
Ely's songwriting pal Butch Hancock, who's beginning to sound like a great one, contributes four more; if "Fools Fall in Love" sounds like a lame title, how do you like "Wise men hit the bottom, Lord/A fool falls right on through"? But Ely himself seems to have run short of tunes, and except for "Crazy Lemon" (which gets across on the crazy force of its lyric and vocal, not on its melody), none of his songs call you back. B+