Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Koko Taylor: The Earthshaker [Alligator, 1978]
Considering its size, Taylor's voice has never been what you'd call rich--she flubs the pitch quite a bit, and on the slow ones she's often sounded flat emotionally as well. But it retains amazing presence--by now it's deepened and roughened so much that her late work for Chess sounds girlish by comparison. Two or three of the slow ones here really drag, always a crippling flaw in Chicago blues, but the uptempo stuff is exemplary--the songs are fun as songs, and the guitar on her latest remake of "Wang Dang Doodle" is ace. B+