Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Nigeria 70: Sweet Times: Afro-Funk, Highlife & Juju From 1970s Lagos [Strut, 2011]
As with 2008's Lagos Jump, the boon is that the "funk" is so tentative--mostly a few chicken-scratch guitars that barely qualify. The bass lines lope and what trap drumming there is owes nothing audible to Jabo Starks or Ziggy Modeliste. Strut says none of these recordings has ever been released outside Nigeria, and indeed, when I pulled down my vinyl on Dele Abiodun's 15-minute keeper "It's Time for Juju Music" I learned that it had indeed been manufactured in the mother country. Such little-heard luminaries as Victor Olaiya and Ebenezer Obey stake their claims, and I enjoyed Ali Chukwumah's un-chicken scratch "Henrietta" so instantaneously I assumed I'd already heard it somewhere--which it would appear that I had not. A-