A peculiar but endearing collection, 1997's Senior Superlatives features very little new original material by R. Stevie Moore. Nearly everything bearing his songwriting credits on this two-disc set is either a piece of found-sound audio autobiography or a bizarre experiment; the primary exceptions are the trippy, largely backwards guitar extravaganza "99 to 1" and the lovely, wistful instrumental "Listing Attic." Over two-thirds of the 100-minute set consists of covers, ranging from an utterly charming and completely straightforward take on the Captain Kangaroo classic "Horse in Striped Pajamas" to a trio of Residents obscurities, culminating in an audio vérité 17-and-a-half-minute recording session that finds Moore trying repeatedly to nail the lead vocals on a version of Sly & the Family Stone's "Family Affair" amid revealing studio chatter. On the other disc, he does an excellent, almost Beatlesque version of Stevie Wonder's "Village Ghetto Land," right next to a guitar instrumental take on Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies." One surprising winner is the hypnotic "A Prayer to Any God," an old home recording from 1983 of Moore's wife, Krystyna Olsiewicz, setting a Sumerian prayer chant to an oddly new wave-ish vocal melody, augmented by later keyboard overdubs by Moore. It's odd, unexpected, and endearingly sweet, as is most of the rest of Senior Superlatives.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason