Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Sweet Talks [extended]

  • Sweet Talks--Hollywood Highlife Party + A.B. Crentsil--Moses [ADC, 1992] A-
  • The Lord's Prayer [Sterns, 1995] A-
  • The Kusum Beat [Soundway, 2010] **

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Sweet Talks/A.B. Crentsil: Sweet Talks--Hollywood Highlife Party + A.B. Crentsil--Moses [ADC, 1992]
Two complete albums, both considered classics, both featuring the colorful character who saved Ghanaian music from James Brown--and Osibisa, who were so impressed they bankrolled a band for him when his luck went bad. How Ghanaian Crentsil's music is I couldn't say, since highlife was Westernized to begin with, but at least he brought in palm-wine guitar and African narrative strategies, as the goofy translation of "Moses" makes as clear as is appropriate. The seven earlier cuts, recorded on a 1978 U.S. visit, fall in the five-minute range and will charm if you give them a chance. The two later ones, recorded in 1983, fall in the 16-minute range and will recede unless you read along. A-

Super Sweet Talks International: The Lord's Prayer [Sterns, 1995]
A.B. Crentsil wanted to be liked, and he was ready to sweet-talk anyone who got in his way. The least of these six circa-1979 highlife tunes is subtly ingratiating, and the charm of the three English-language numbers subsumes the Christian politesse they promote. Then again, "Adjoa"'s quiet 10 minutes of dazzling polyrhythm probably wouldn't be as nice if you could understand the words, in which Ghanaian women are advised to service whatever soldiers are walking around Accra like they own it. A-

The Kusum Beat [Soundway, 2010]
As with Ghanaian highlife just like heavy funk, no groove band hits it every time ("Akampanye," "Oburumankoma"). **