Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Rough Guide to Cuban Son [World Music Network, 2001]
Proceed to "Para Bailar Par Son," by Cañambú, previously unknown to me. Bask in or recoil from the intense nasality of Arístides Ruiz Boza, sole survivor of the five brothers who founded the group in 1940, while tracing younger accompanists' clave-linked tres, bamboo bongo, and inauthentic bass. Ruiz Boza's high pitch is indigenous to his tiny hometown, but it typifies a penchant for idiosyncrasy as crucial to this collection's success as the store of tunes and rhythms on display. Bask in Cañambú and you won't even mind the horn sections of Los Van Van, ¡Cubanismo!, and the Afro-Cuban All Stars. Recoil and stick with Buena Vista--or R.E.M. A-