Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Youssou N'Dour: Raxas Bercy 2017 [self-released, 2017]
N'Dour having uploaded all the songs from this live Paris concert to YouTube, none with video and most preceded by ads, I have my physical from a friend who took the trouble--in a maneuver well beyond my own know-how--to download them and burn them sans ads onto a CD-R that runs over an hour. Sequence: "El Fénomeno"-"Djino"-"Mbeguël Is All"-"Djamil"-"New Africa"-"Africa Remembers"-"Sama Gamou"-"Serigne Modou Boussou Dieng Mbacké"-"Bul Nangu." Earlier versions of four of these songs are already in my N'Dour iTunes collection, with "Djino" dating all the way back to the strange 1998 Best of '80s. The recent "Mbeguël Is All" is diminished here by a dexterously pro forma guitar intro; "Serigne Modou Boussou Dieng Mbacké" and "Djami" are intensified by female vocals from I don't know who. N'Dour is in undiminished voice as sabar drums clatter everywhere, although after all these years that voice finally has some grit to it--among other things, of course. The nearest thing in my collection is the bootleg (?) Le Grand Bal Bercy 2001 Vol. 2. This is more songful, yet so intense I've played it more than any recent N'Dour except Senegaal Rekk. Happy hunting, reconfiguring, whatever. A-