Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Holy Modal Rounders and Friends

  • I Make a Wish for a Potato [Rounder, 2001] A

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

I Make a Wish for a Potato [Rounder, 2001]
This 20-song megacomp steals three songs from 1976's impregnable Have Moicy! and four from 1999's vulnerable Too Much Fun. But I'm too big a fan to blame it for cramming two secret coded messages into one package proving that, as the Bard once put it, age cannot wither nor custom stale their infinite variety. The variety part came with an indelible classic cut on no money and less forethought by whoever dropped in, the age and custom part with a career album cut in their dotage and rural Quebec or vice versa. "Friends" include the ageless Michael Hurley and the late Jeffrey Frederick, fully credited cocreators of Have Moicy! who chime in here from their own stubbornly inconsistent solo albums, and Steve Weber, the not unholy rounder who's been Peter Stampfel's opposite number for 40 years. But Stampfel's spirit dominates, as it should. It's he who discovered that Henry Clay Work's 1862 "Kingdom Coming" was the first true pop song. And it's he who put one of 20 otherwise awful-I-bet songs called "Nova" on the Rounders' spotty-I-know 1975 Alleged in Their Own Time: "Time is on my side/Slime is on my tide/I ride my time slide all the time/I'm a lazy [ellipsis in original]." A