Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Bob Weir

  • Ace [Warner Bros., 1972] A-
  • Heaven Help the Fool [Arista, 1978] C+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Ace [Warner Bros., 1972]
Weir can be preachy and screechy, but Robert Hunter's homiletics ("Playing in the Band") make up for John Barlow's post-hippie know-nothingisms ("Walk in the Sunshine"), and "One More Saturday Night" isn't any less a rockabilly epiphany because it strains Bobby's vocal chords--that just adds a note of authenticity. With Barlow redeeming himself on the elegiac pre-hippie fable "Cassidy" and Keith Godchaux sounding like a cross between Chick Corea and Little Richard, this is the third in a series that began with Workingman's Dead and American Beauty. A-

Heaven Help the Fool [Arista, 1978]
It should surprise no one who's kept an eye on Weir over the years that he manifests himself here as an El Lay country-rock crooner with studio-duperstar backup. But I bet thousands of Dead heads are lying to themselves about it right now, while at the same time Dead haters equate him with Richie Furay and Michael Murphey. Predictably, Weir is better--funnier, more feeling, harder to predict. But how much better can an E. L. c.-r. c. be? C+