Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Coulson, Dean, McGuiness, Flint

  • Lo and Behold [Sire, 1973] A

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Lo and Behold [Sire, 1973]
Comprising ten unfamiliar-to-unheard songs written (or anyway, copyrighted) by a well-known singer-songwriter between 1963 and 1971, this organizes scraps of persona the man himself couldn't handle and might as well be called Bob Dylan--"Yesterday" and Today. Dennis Coulson knows Dylan's lyrics for the lazy, flirtatious embraces of perception they are, and so never sops over into literalness--Baezesque prettifying or Bandesque uglifying. And where American folk-rockers can be counted on for the just-so flourish, the swelling rhythm, these guys (aided by producer Manfred Mann, world's most sensible Dylan nut) keep it ragged--the music rocks and rolls, but it also seems to stop short every now and then, and it's catchy, hooking with a tabla here, a build arrangement there, clownish horns that signify an entire side. Cynical ("Open the Door Homer") and idealistic ("The Death of Emmett Till"), self-pitying ("Sign on the Cross") and self-reliant ("Let Me Die in My Footsteps"), but always tough and intelligent. And let us not forget funny. A