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Author: Subject: Robert Christgau Disses ABB in AXS Lynyrd Skynyrd Bio

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  posted on 6/2/2016 at 05:14 PM
I just finished watching this 3 hour documentary, "Gone With The Wind: The Remarkable Rise and Tragic Fall of Lynyrd Skynyrd" on AXS TV.

Overall I have to say that it's VERY good. It has lots of interviews with people like surviving Skynyrd members Ed King, Artimus Pyle and Bob Burns, Alan Paul, and Andy Aledort (Dickey Betts and Great Southern). They talk a lot about Skynyrd's early struggles and one of the things discussed was how critics nearly universally panned them and often said "They sound too much like The Allman Brothers". You can rest assured as most of you would already know that nothing negative regarding ABB came from Alan Paul's mouth.

The documentary goes on to say that later on, some more perceptive critics began to separate Skynyrd's sound from The Allman Brothers. Then they aired an interview with Robert Christgau of Village Voice that REALLY stopped me in my tracks. I took the time today to grab a pen and paper and write down exactly what Christgau said, word for word:

"The Allman Brothers were a jam band, Lynyrd Skynyrd was a song band. That's the difference. Ronnie Van Zandt was a great songwriter. Duane Allman was not a great songwriter. He wasn't. Great player, sure. Knew a great song when he heard it? Damn right. But he wasn't a great songwriter. The good songwriter in that band was Dickey Betts, for better or for worse. And he wasn't so great, either. Ronnie Van Zandt, on the other hand............I mean, they put out, what, six albums? Eighty or ninety percent of those songs are top rate. It's amazing."

WOW. No mention of Gregg Allman, who was the source of many of those tunes that Duane, "Knew a good song when he heard it." I wanted to be accurate here so I just checked: Gregg wrote 5 of the 7 tunes on ABB's self-titled debut, 4 out of 7 on their second record, Idlewild South. Yet Christgau doesn't even think that's worth mentioning. And apparently he doesn't think that Dreams, Midnight Rider, Don't Keep Me Wonderin', In Memory of Elizabeth Reed or Revival compare to anything that Skynyrd ever did.

In the interest of full disclosure, the documentary is not entirely critical of ABB. Early on they mention that ABB was the first Southern band to garner both public and critical acclaim and also that they blazed the trail for all Southern bands like Skynyrd which followed them. There also was a quote early on from one former Skynyrd member, I believe it was Bob Burns: "Duane heard us and told us that we really had something great going on. But you'll never make it until you start playing your own stuff. We took that to heart."

Also, Ed King has this quote: "The Allman Brothers were virtuosos. We were not. Ronnie liked to hear the same thing every night. It was very scripted. We were lousy improvisers. But that's OK. We're still in The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame."

That Christgau quote REALLY pissed me off, though. I wanted to jump into the TV and strangle the guy.

Just thought I'd add one tidbit from the documentary regarding the plane crash: On the previous leg of the tour, the plane had flames coming out of one of it's engines. THEY KNEW THIS. Yet they chose to take the same plane to just one more destination, Baton Rouge, because that's where their mechanic was.

And that supremely idiotic decision cost Ronnie Van Zandt, Steve and Cassie Gaines, as well as three members of their entourage, their lives. You risk driving a car that has mechanical problems. YOU DON'T DO THAT IN AN AIRPLANE!!!








[Edited on 6/5/2016 by robslob]

[Edited on 6/5/2016 by robslob]

 

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  posted on 6/2/2016 at 05:36 PM
Its only ONE guy's opinion.
 

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  posted on 6/2/2016 at 06:32 PM
I love both bands and I'm not really bothered by his statement, I doubt he has much knowledge of the Allman Brothers Band.

 

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  posted on 6/2/2016 at 07:16 PM
"mr. christgau" should have put down the crack pipe before agreeing to be interviewed....

Not even mentioning Gregg and relegating Dickey's song writing ability as just "good" is laughable.

I believe it was said after Sweet Home Alabama was finished they finally had their "Ramblin Man" seems like they had a benchmark in mind...

 

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  posted on 6/2/2016 at 08:46 PM
Christgau has been in the game long enough that he gets tons of respect - "the Dean of rock journalism" or whatever. I'm not a fan myself; I've always found him to be a hipster contrarian.

Some people listen with the desire to dislike. That ain't no way to live.

 

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  posted on 6/2/2016 at 09:14 PM
He was a huge fan of Duane's.

That said Robslob makes good points.

 

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  posted on 6/2/2016 at 09:20 PM
Sample review of his of the ABB:

The Allman Brothers: Shining at the Beacon

A next-gen 21st lineup sustains the Deep South rockers' star power

The Allman Brothers have played New York's Beacon Theatre almost every March since reuniting in 1989. For fans of this Deep South band, Broadway and 74th Street in Manhattan is Mecca: By the time 2013's 11-show "Beacon run" ends March 16, they will have sold out the 2,984-seat venue well over 200 times. Personally, I think they've made their best music there, specifically preferring 2004's One Way Out: Live at the Beacon Theatre to the renowned NYC date that is 1971's Live at the Fillmore. But I'd never seen them there till two Southern friends who make the pilgrimage annually took me to this year's second night on March 2.

The Allmans' current lineup has been stable since 2000: remaining original singer-organist Gregg Allman, drummer Butch Trucks, and drummer Jaimoe Johanson, all in their late 60s; 50-ish long-timers Warren Haynes on guitar, Marc Quinones on drums, and Oteil Burbridge on bass; and the new kid, Butch Trucks' 33-year-year old nephew Derek Trucks, who joined on guitar when he was just 20. Note: three drummers where once there were two, with salsa-based Quinones no longer there for texture and color because he now bangs his big Latin-style kit with sticks and mallets. Note: Given its D.C.-born black bassist and Bronx-born Puerto Rican drummer, the structure has long been three white-blues leads atop a rolling, African-identified rhythm base. Note: Derek Trucks is why this remains a great band.

Except for the "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" finale and the "Whipping Post" encore, the set featured few first-rank crowd-pleasers: the upfully hippieish "Revival," a few slow ones like "Come and Go Blues." But to me the music sounded awful strong, and my guides as well as the audience agreed. Both Allman, who almost died twice around when he had his liver replaced in 2010, and Johanson, who weighs 50-75 pounds more than a 68-year-old should, have been unsteady presences of late--one reason Quinones now makes more noise is that the former lead drummer doesn't always finish. But neither flagged March 2, especially Allman, who in 2011 released one of the more impressive studio albums by this fabled aggregation of undistinguished songwriters, Low Country Blues.

It's been two decades since the Allman Brothers Band itself bothered to record new studio material, and neither Haynes in Gov't Mule nor Derek Trucks solo-with-backup is much of a songwriter either. Indeed, Low Country Blues is mostly covers, and better for it. But looking at the worn, somewhat sunken-cheeked face of a guy who always projected a little too blankly for a blues adept, I felt like he was a different person--a prophet who's seen the other side and come back to moan about it. Because he maintained leadership throughout, ceding fewer lead vocals to Haynes, the show retained unusual focus and power, with lean, mustachioed Butch Trucks, who replaced Johanson in the center drum chair, the symbolic middle.

There were highlights aplenty, including the surprise covers these shows are famous for: a first-ever "Long Black Veil" done acoustic, and Haynes' diddleybeat rendition of Ann Peebles' "I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody's Home Tonight," which none of my friends recognized. The surprise guests the shows are famous for were limited to an up-and-coming Texas guitar hotshot, David Grissom, on a "You Don't Love Me" that Haynes called to a somewhat premature halt. There was the standard "Elizabeth Reed" passage when Burbridge finished his unassumingly virtuosic solo and took over Butch Trucks' chair so the old man could rumble on tympani for a roiling four-drum fusillade. But it was Derek Trucks who got the fans going loudest.

With pianist Chuck Leavell and bluegrass-schooled guitarist Dickey Betts departed, the Allmans are a heavier band than in their first heyday--more earth, less sky. They no longer perform their biggest and fleetest hit, Betts' rippling "Ramblin' Man," and Haynes' guitar is very much in the grimacing, squeeze-out-those-fundamentals white-blues tradition. Trucks is also a bluesman first, but like Duane, he's much bigger than that, prone to sudden jazzy licks and a master of the difficult trick in which he slips off his slide and flexes through a verse or two of startling fluidity. At least half the moments that left us all gasping and then cheering came on his solos. It would be facile as well as sacrilegious to say he's Duane reincarnated with all the extra chops, range, and maturity another eight years on earth have afforded him. They're both too singular to equate. But it's not too facile to be glad to hear the dead live on in the spirit of what they created.

Set list:
"Done Somebody Wrong"
"Come and Go Blues"
"Every Hungry Woman"
"Dusk Till Dawn"
"Low Down Dirty Mean"
"Stand Back"
"You Don't Love Me"
"The Sky Is Crying"

Intermission
"Long Black Veil"
"I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody's Home"
"Dreams"
"Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?"
"In Memory of Elizabeth Reed"

Encore:
"Whipping Post"

 

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  posted on 6/2/2016 at 09:29 PM
Sorry this is not the critic I was thinking of. I was thinking of Robert Palmer.

This tool actually did not like Fillmore East.

 

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  posted on 6/2/2016 at 09:35 PM
Here is a review from Robert Palmer that came out when the "Dreams" album was released. From the NY Times.

RECORDINGS

RECORDINGS; A Band That Gave An Age of Excess A Good Name

By ROBERT PALMER; Robert Palmer, a former Times music critic, is working on a book on the origins of rock-and-roll.

Published: June 25, 1989



THE FILLMORE EAST, A DILAPIdated old vaudeville theater on New York's Lower East Side, was host to more than its share of unforgettable rock-and-roll shows during its heyday in the late 60's and early 70's. The promoter, Bill Graham, usually herded soon-to-be-legendary bands on and off the stage with an almost military punctuality, but when the Allman Brothers Band was performing, even Mr. Graham stopped watching the clock. When the Allmans really felt like playing (and they usually did), he would often announce that he was locking the doors of the auditorium, and that anyone who had to leave should do so. Then the Allmans would play on through the night - and often into the morning.

Those years marked the beginnings of rock's age of excess: 30-minute guitar solos blasting through mountainous stacks of Marshall amplifiers, meandering three-hour blues jams. Of all the rock bands that were then essaying extended improvisations, the Allman Brothers Band was arguably the only one that consistently justified long group and solo jams with unflagging musical creativity. The late Duane Allman, the band's extraordinary lead guitarist, had a great deal to do with making those shows special. But the entire group played with a teamwork and camaraderie that were the exception rather than the rule in those years of rampant bombast, ego and flash.

The reconstituted Allman Brothers Band, with the singer and keyboard player Gregg Allman, the guitarist Dickey Betts and other original members, will be playing in New York City for the first time in many years next Friday at the JVC Jazz Festival. Their performance should provide listeners who missed the Fillmore East shows with a chance to experience the special Allman Brothers Band chemistry. And so will ''Dreams'' (Polydor 839 417; four CD's, four cassettes, six-LP's), a new boxed set that includes highlights from several Fillmore East shows, along with unreleased tracks, archival material and selections from later Allman Brothers Band lineups and related solo projects. Listening to this music again, and especially to concert recordings such as the familiar ''Whipping Post'' and ''In Memory of Elizabeth Reed'' and the previously unissued ''I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town,'' ''Drunken Hearted Boy'' and ''You Don't Love Me/Soul Serenade,'' can be both satisfying and perplexing. Perplexing because one begins to wonder why few if any subsequent rock bands have recorded extended improvisational performances that even approached Allman Brothers standards. Why have the band's achievements been given such short shrift in so many rock chronicles? And why is Duane Allman's name seldom mentioned in the same breath as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and other 60's guitar heroes - the company in which Mr. Allman so evidently belongs?

An answer to the last question, at least, suggests itself when one compares the performances collected on ''Dreams'' to ''Duane Allman: An Anthology,'' Volumes 1 and 2 (Polygram 831 444-2 and 831 445-2; CD only). There were, it seems, two Duane Allmans - the resourcefully discursive guitarist who spun out winding, quicksilver improvisations, and the studio musician whose concise, eloquent fills and breaks enlivened late 60's sessions by artists ranging from Aretha Franklin to Boz Scaggs to Derek and the Dominos.

Sixties guitar heroes tended to make their reputations with one readily identifiable innovation. Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck expanded the instrument's sonic range and vocabulary; Jimmy Page perfected electric-guitar orchestration with the help of studio multitracking; Eric Clapton boasted a ravishing tone and technique and the authority of a master bluesman. Perhaps Duane Allman did too many things too well. The tone he got from his cherished Gibson guitars was as distinctive as Mr. Clapton's, and Mr. Allman was an equally authoritative blues interpreter. He was also an exemplary session guitarist for other artists, and a brilliant soloist whose improvisations, no matter how long and picaresque, always exuded confidence and an inexorable structural logic. Listening to ''Dreams,'' and to the material on the two volumes of ''Duane Allman: An Anthology,'' I was assailed by memory images - hazy, often fragmentary, but indelible nevertheless. There were late-night conversations with Duane Allman backstage at Fillmore East, and at informal jam sessions in Greenwich Village. Mr. Allman was soft-spoken, sometimes reclusive. But he had a smile that could light up a room, and it was music that made him smile.

One spring night in 1971, around the time of the Fillmore East recordings, Mr. Allman noted in a conversation that he had been listening obsessively to Miles Davis's ''Kind of Blue'' album and to various John Coltrane recordings. He said these were the musicians who had mastered the art of melodic improvisation on the simple vamps and modes favored by most rock groups. In his opinion, no rock band, including the Allman Brothers, had ever come close to equaling the standards set by ''Kind of Blue.''

But I also remember walking out of the smoke-filled Fillmore East as the sun rose over Second Avenue, after marathon Allman Brothers Band shows, thinking that if the musicians hadn't quite scaled Coltrane-like heights, they had come as close as any rock band was likely to get. Listening to the recordings on ''Dreams,'' one finds little reason to alter that assessment today.

Why, to return to an earlier question, have so few of our rock histories given the Allman Brothers Band credit for its accomplishments? For one thing, the Allmans were deeply, unabashedly Southern, steeped in country music and the blues. Most of our leading rock chroniclers have come from the East Coast or West Coast, and were, perhaps, predisposed toward intricate, brainy pop-rock song forms, as opposed to the blues and country music basics favored by the Allmans.

It also seems likely that the Allmans' reputation suffered somewhat for the excesses of other jamming bands of the period. Even bands as musicianly as Cream tended to run their lengthy blues improvisations into the ground. The Allmans rarely did, but when extended jamming went out of fashion, critics tended to dismiss the entire phenomenon, forgetting that the Allmans consistently justified the length of their performances with superior pacing, melodic invention, carefully modulated dynamics and superior ensemble cohesion. If Duane Allman's contribution to the art of the electric guitar has been undervalued, the other members of the Allman Brothers Band have received scant critical attention indeed. But even before Duane Allman's death in a motorcycle accident in the summer of 1971, the band's second guitarist, Dickey Betts, had developed into a soloist and team player of rare skill and imagination. Gregg Allman was always a powerful vocalist and a savvy keyboard player, equally adept at solo and accompaniment. The original Allman Brothers Band rhythm section, with Butch Trucks and Jaimoe on twin drum sets and the late Berry Oakley on bass, was definitive.

''Dreams'' brings these players' individual and collective gifts into sharper focus by collecting early selections from their various pre-Allman Brothers Band projects, and several examples of their post-Allman Brothers solo recordings. Polygram's Bill Levenson, assisted by the Allmans historian Kirk West, programmed ''Dreams'' astutely, making it consistently enjoyable and frequently gripping.

Mr. Levenson's work on the similar Eric Clapton set, ''Crossroads,'' was widely but not uniformly praised. One suspects there will be fewer quibbles over the track selections on ''Dreams.'' Additional material is readily available on ''Duane Allman: An Anthology,'' and ''The Allman Brothers Band at Fillmore East'' is still in print on CD, cassette and LP.

''Dreams'' duplicates nearly half of the ''Fillmore East'' album, but it duplicates almost nothing from the anthologies and contains some two hours of music unavailable elsewhere. It may or may not be the last word, but at the very least it provides ample evidence that a critical re-evaluation of these musicians' 20-year career is long overdue.

Photo of the late Duane Allman (Star File/Chuck Pulin)

 

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  posted on 6/2/2016 at 10:06 PM
skynyrd yawn!

 

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  posted on 6/2/2016 at 11:40 PM
If you've ever read any of his reviews christgau has never had much good to say about the brothers in general and gregg in particular. I mean he gave at fillmore east a B- for cripes sake!

 

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  posted on 6/3/2016 at 01:49 AM
Could be editing. Also sometimes these interviews go on and on so people ramble. He may have mentioned Gregg in other statements that did not make it.

Either way - just his opinion.

Besides the obvious Gregg omission he makes sense to a degree. Perhaps worded a bit differently. As far as lyrics go I take Ronnie over Gregg. Prefer the ABB songs from what the rest of the guys bring. But Gregg's lyrics are pretty short. WP, Dreams barely have lyrics. They just repeat. Ronnie always tells a complete story. I don't think there are many that truly have that storyteller gift and Ronnie was one. Dickey is more of a storyteller and love his songs more as a whole but again I would give the nod to Ronnie in the lyrics dept.

He is right about Duane also. He didn't write. But man could he play. Those solos were his version of writing.

Also agree that LS songs were more structured where the ABB left room to flow. Which one that I want to hear depends on my mood. Luckily we can like them both.

 

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  posted on 6/3/2016 at 01:35 PM
To be fair by the time LS was hitting ABB was going down, as much from drama as musical slump.

Yes LS was a song band and RVZ was a prolific writer.

LS was also a note for note, non improvising band. They seriously declined after the crash. The current records are cartoonlike.

I have that doc dvr'd and look forward to seeing it, the original band was a powerhouse.

But yea, gone with the wind.

 

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  posted on 6/3/2016 at 02:09 PM
1. Lynyrd Skynyrd loved the Allman Brothers, and were greatly inspired by them. They aren't in a contest with the Allmans. They are two completely different bands.

2. Little Brother is often going to feel inferior to Big Brother (or at least, their fans will), and Big Brother usually doesn't notice. You rarely hear the Allman Brothers members or pundits ragging on Skynyrd because they don't feel threatened by (or very interested in) Skynyrd. I remember reading the back of a Dave Clark 5 album cover that went on and on about how they sold as much as The Beatles or knocked The Beatles out of #1. Meanwhile, I'm sure John, Paul, George, & Ringo felt real threatened and were inspired by the Dave Clark 5.

3. I will take QUALITY of lyrics over QUANTITY. Gregg's writing is more evocative, I appreciate his economics, than anything I have every heard from Skynyrd. Skynyrd has some great songs, but no one will ever mistake Ronnie Van Zandt for Bob Dylan.

4. I have never heard of Christgau, but (I have just read) this is a guy who gave up on jazz after he listened to Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain. Another contrarian Village Voice "critic" (prefers One Way Out over Fillmore East? Uh...). And that review is written like hell - chill with the semi-colons and colons, dude. Just end the sentence already!

5. Anyways, just one pundit's opinion.

 

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  posted on 6/3/2016 at 02:49 PM
quote:


3. I will take QUALITY of lyrics over QUANTITY. Gregg's writing is more evocative, I appreciate his economics, than anything I have every heard from Skynyrd. Skynyrd has some great songs, but no one will ever mistake Ronnie Van Zandt for Bob Dylan.




Well said.

 

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  posted on 6/3/2016 at 03:36 PM
I don't think this will be popular on this site but I think Toy Caldwell was right up there with Van Zant, G. Allman and Betts. Very good and prolific writer.
 

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  posted on 6/3/2016 at 03:49 PM
quote:
I have never heard of Christgau, but (I have just read) this is a guy who gave up on jazz after he listened to Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain. Another contrarian Village Voice "critic" (prefers One Way Out over Fillmore East? Uh...). And that review is written like hell - chill with the semi-colons and colons, dude. Just end the sentence already!


He's one of the most insufferable, self-serving, arrogant and vile persons to ever put pen to paper. They say he basically invented rock criticism, and he fits the mold to a T.

"Dean of American Rock Critics" <---that's the title he gave himself.

Everything everyone hates about critics? Yeah, that's him.

 

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  posted on 6/3/2016 at 05:05 PM
Toy is right up there with Gregg and Dickey. Never can get enough of the original MTB!

 

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  posted on 6/3/2016 at 05:22 PM
quote:
He's one of the most insufferable, self-serving, arrogant and vile persons to ever put pen to paper. They say he basically invented rock criticism, and he fits the mold to a T.

"Dean of American Rock Critics" <---that's the title he gave himself.

Everything everyone hates about critics? Yeah, that's him.


Have to agree. My favorite Christgau rant was from Lou Reed on the Take No Prisoner's Album:
He calls him all sorts of names, asks about his sexual preferences, calling him a "Toe F-er" and telling him to Eff off, after saying something about "Working for a year and you get a B+ from some a-hole in the Village Voice. F-him, I don't need him to tell me I'm good!" If you haven't heard it, it's classic. He says that the club owners want the good reviews, so you get these A-holes right up front, bored, doing coke, asking "When is this **** te over?"

 

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  posted on 6/3/2016 at 05:37 PM
Don't know Christgau. Don't doubt what anybody says about him here; however, (I love semicolons) what Rob quoted him saying comparing the ABB and Skynyrd was a valid call certainly during the seventies IMHO. RVZ was a hell of and prolific lyricist. I dig quality as much as the next guy, but (I love commas too)Gregg's output since the first two albums speaks for itself. Betts essentially carried the band from Brothers And Sisters till his departure in 2000 as much as some fans and band members will hate to admit it. What I'd disagree with Christgau's statement is that Betts wasn't/isn't a great songwriter. As a lyricist ... maybe on the simple side. Yet simple songs are the hardest to write that aren't cliche ridden. How Christgau can't appreciate Betts composition skills is beyond me. He probably doesn't dig Bach or Beethoven either. Also to the poster who commented on Toy Caldwell I agree. Toys work is totally unappreciated IMO. And IMO he may have been the best.

 

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  posted on 6/3/2016 at 05:42 PM
i find Lou Reed's rant both funny and ironic in that he owed his career to the Village Voice certainly not on any merits of his.

 

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  posted on 6/3/2016 at 07:08 PM
quote:
Don't know Christgau. Don't doubt what anybody says about him here; however, (I love semicolons) what Rob quoted him saying comparing the ABB and Skynyrd was a valid call certainly during the seventies IMHO. RVZ was a hell of and prolific lyricist. I dig quality as much as the next guy, but (I love commas too)Gregg's output since the first two albums speaks for itself. Betts essentially carried the band from Brothers And Sisters till his departure in 2000 as much as some fans and band members will hate to admit it. What I'd disagree with Christgau's statement is that Betts wasn't/isn't a great songwriter. As a lyricist ... maybe on the simple side. Yet simple songs are the hardest to write that aren't cliche ridden. How Christgau can't appreciate Betts composition skills is beyond me. He probably doesn't dig Bach or Beethoven either. Also to the poster who commented on Toy Caldwell I agree. Toys work is totally unappreciated IMO. And IMO he may have been the best.


Hey, I like semicolons and commas, and proper punctuation in general, just not cluttering up every single sentence. ; )

I guess my problem with this guy (and music critics in general) is the quality of a songwriter is impossible to quantify and he is arbitrarily comparing two (well, three) very different songwriters. Gregg has written some amazing songs since those first two albums, even if he has slowed down his production over the past 30 years (what songwriter doesn't). Dickey isn't quite the same lyricist as Gregg is ("Back Where It All Begins" and "Just Another Lovew Song" and others being among the exceptions), but he has written some of the greatest melodies of the 20th century.

Since music is so subjective, I immediately discredit a music critic or reviewer who speaks in absolutes. I don't think he knows much about songwriting itself - the Allman Brothers' drew from a much more diverse pool of genres, so we are not just talking about lyrics, but song structure and style as well. The Allman Brothers have amazing jazz, blues, and country songs. Skynyrd mostly has swamp rock songs, they have a very specific and consistent sound. Finding your specific sound and voice is great, but it's not as dynamic as the Allman Brothers' catalog. Doesn't make it better just a different approach. I certainly wouldn't put 80-90% of Skynyrd's songs "top rate". But hey, likers gonna like.

I agree regarding Toy. He also wrote some great songs born out of a variety of influences.

Also, I read that about Lou Reed as well, but who hasn't he bitched at in a song?

Anyways, these days everyone has a documentary about them. They need a talking head in their corner. They found one. Good for them.

 

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  posted on 6/4/2016 at 08:32 AM
quote:

I guess my problem with this guy (and music critics in general) is the quality of a songwriter is impossible to quantify and he is arbitrarily comparing two (well, three) very different songwriters. Gregg has written some amazing songs since those first two albums, even if he has slowed down his production over the past 30 years (what songwriter doesn't). Dickey isn't quite the same lyricist as Gregg is ("Back Where It All Begins" and "Just Another Lovew Song" and others being among the exceptions), but he has written some of the greatest melodies of the 20th century.

Since music is so subjective, I immediately discredit a music critic or reviewer who speaks in absolutes. I don't think he knows much about songwriting itself - the Allman Brothers' drew from a much more diverse pool of genres, so we are not just talking about lyrics, but song structure and style as well. The Allman Brothers have amazing jazz, blues, and country songs. Skynyrd mostly has swamp rock songs, they have a very specific and consistent sound. Finding your specific sound and voice is great, but it's not as dynamic as the Allman Brothers' catalog. Doesn't make it better just a different approach. I certainly wouldn't put 80-90% of Skynyrd's songs "top rate". But hey, likers gonna like.


That just about says it for me. Great analysis.

 

____________________
Don't let the sounds of your own wheels

Drive you crazy

Lighten up while you still can

Don't even try to understand

Just find a place to take your stand

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