Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Coupé Cloué

  • Maximum Compas from Haiti [Earthworks, 1992] A

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Maximum Compas from Haiti [Earthworks, 1992]
Now almost 70, Gesner Henry is a master of Creole double-entendre who chose his stage name (literally Cut Nailed) to signify Cut and Score in soccer and Fucking Fucking in sex. Yet the puns that are lost in translations-provided aren't missed, because Henry is also a master of the same Cuban guitar style that spawned Zairian rumba in the '50s. By the time these tracks were recorded circa 1980, his large, simple band--three male singers, three guitarists, three percussionists, bass, drums--had perfected a beguiling lilt free of Kinshasa's far-off fashion wars. I wish I understood the words, but I'm not greedy--the music may well be sweeter without them. A