Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens: Thokozile [Earthworks/Virgin, 1988]
The great groaner's 1983 reunion with his greatest backup groups--not just the Queens, returned to the life after a decade of domesticity, but Makgona Tsohle, featuring nonpareil guitarist Marks Mankwane and ubiquitous saxophonist-producer West Nkosi--culminates for the nonce in this 1986 showcase. Not counting "I Wanna Dance," exactly the sort of "disco" that's supposed to be against his principles, it's unexceptionably indestructible, bottomless baritone flexed inexorably against stout sopranos, with Mankwane's licks and Nkosi's pennywhistle darting like traffic up top. Professional dance music at its finest and roughest. A-