Consumer Guide Album
Sounds of Soweto [Capitol, 1987]
If mbaqanga admirers find this contemporary compilation techno, that's their prejudice. At any acceptable level of economic development, electronic instruments are people-friendly, and music that mediates between South African blacks and the cities apartheid bars them from has its progressive function. Of course, quality can still vary. Condry Ziqubu and Lumumba burn; Lionel Petersen and the Winners kowtow. Some lyrics avoid the censors while sticking to the grit--corn, coal, crime in the streets. Others lie--if Petersen feels so damn "free to sing a song," that's another reason to suspect it doesn't mean shit. First side never lets that upwardly suave beat quit, and none of the others gets so smarmy you'll push reject.