Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Ladysmith Black Mambazo: Classic Tracks [Shanachie, 1990]
Having beaten Graceland to the gate with the first (and till now best) U.S.-available Ladysmith album, Induku Zethu, and then gotten sandbagged by Warners, Shanachie gives up on the easy way out: instead of licensing yet another high-generic LP whole, it shuffles a dozen of them into a great one. By selecting for "musical quality" from the wealth of product Joseph Shabalala has conceived for his group's presold Azanian fans, Randall Grass concentrates the lively and tuneful while respecting the intricately harmonized and subtly dramatic. One man's sustained vibrato and a whole language's clicks, trills, and amens. A-