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Schlock, Rock, Pop, Punk, Funk, Folk, Soul & Salsa


Carpenters: Forbidden Fruit, 1974


Percy Faith's Challenge to Mewzick, 1975
Anne Murray: The Woman Who Would Be Schlock, 1976


Debby Boone: The Song They Said Couldn't Be Reviewed, 1978


P-Funk: Parlentelecy v. the Placebo
Syndrome, 1978


Remembering Kraftwerk, 1978


Pearl: Act of Contrition, Evie Sands, 1978
A Kinks Review Live! 1980


A Joan Jett Fantasy, 1982


India: Reverse Crossover, 2000


My Favorite Song In German, 2002


Al Green: Playing the Audience, 2003


The Review of Norah, 2004


Iris DeMent: The Okie Aretha, 2005


The Four Seasons: Jersey Boys, 2010


Bobby Darin and Bobby Kennedy, 2010





Willie Nelson's Historical Burden, 1980


Merle Haggard
The Right Crowd, 1999
His Own Kind of Guilt, 2000


Johnny Cash 1932-2003


Loretta Lynn
A Manner of Speaking, 2004



Cerrone: An Open Letter, 1978


Weird Post-Disco Bee Gees, 1979


Gino Soccio's Ameridisco High, 1979


Disco Defense, In These Times 1979


Village People 1979


More Disco Defense, ITT 1980


Diana reviewed in The Nation, 1980



Rocky, the Rust Belt, and Grease:

How Stallone and Travolta Sabotaged the Four Seasons



 Under Construction

Those of us who remember the original stage production and its specific references to Italian and Polish working class Chicago in the 1950s can only marvel at its successful transformation into an Edenic, sitcommed, Los Angelized Fiddler On the Roof.

Nixon, and his Southern strategy helped make disaffected white Southerners stand in for all patriotic whites with class (and race) resentments.  Country music became the favored format for beleaguered patriots. 

Nixon’s strategy worked up to a point.  He was able to sell himself to the Grand Ole Opry and Country music produced some excellent resentful patriotic music.  But in the long run Country couldn’t speak for northern urban whites because its regional resignation didn’t fit the circumstances of living inside of multilayered, fluid, but existent economic classes.  Newark , New Jersey didn’t lose the Civil War, it lost the Sixties. 

The Four Seasons could have fit into the “Motown Frame” if it had continued to develop and expand to represent the stories of the other migrations to Northern cities.  But that frame cracked after LBJ split apart the country by embracing both the Civil Rights Movement and the War in Viet Nam, and then fractured as the economy bifurcated and Motown abandoned Detroit to the Rust Belt and moved to LA.