There's Always Music in This Joint
|Robert Christgau||Sep 22, 2019|
“It’s always Christmas in this bar/And it’s always Saint Pat’s and also Halloween,” begins the slam-bang opener of NowThen, singing neonatologist Rich Krueger’s second 2018 album and also second album. When Krueger visits Manhattan Monday night for a 7. p.m. show I’ve long awaited, I don’t predict quite that pitch of revelry at the Bitter End, a literal NYC landmark that’s been presenting music at 161 Bleecker Street since 1961 (I caught the 21-year-old Stevie Wonder there in 1972 for my debut column at Newsday). But if Krueger opens with that song he’s got a shot. I hope he also performs “O What a Beautiful Beautiful Beautiful Day,” this M.D.’s only song about his professional specialty, which is difficult births. Equally rousing but much bloodier, it also take place on Christmas and has a slam-bang happy ending, which in neonatology is never guaranteed: “Kid's poked in the arm then gooped in the eyes/As Dad’s wheeled down to ER./It's a special Christmas for the whole family/Just as overpriced ‘cept Junior ain’t Christ.”
Once again: Rich Krueger, 7 p.m. Monday September 23, Bitter End, 161 Bleecker Street, Manhattan.