Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2011-06-03


Group Doueh: Zayna Jumma (Sublime Frequencies, 2011) In which another Hendrix fan, the West Saharan named Salmou Bamaar who performs as Doueh, is induced to record an entire album that lives up to the frantic weirdness of the first two tracks on 2009's Treeg Salaam. Don't anticipate virtuosity as mortals such as you and I conceive it. Performed primarily by members of Doueh's family, with women providing much of the percussion if the photos I've seen are any guide, this music is rough and crude the way garage revivalists, for instance, only wish they could be, because in their own way these people can play, and it isn't your way. It helps that the recording quality improves vastly on his previous home-taped standards. But it also helps that somebody convinced him he was free to let loose. A-

Vieux Farka Touré: The Secret (Six Degrees, 2011) He's not a bluesman either. Is there an African who is? But it's a tribute to his raising that Vieux takes to internationalism more easily than the ambitious genius who oversaw his upbringing, getting his groove on with a mostly African band anchored and often defined by American drummer Tim Keiper and juiced up just enough by spot-on spots from Derek Trucks, John Scofield, and Dave Matthews--and also his father's last session before heading off to die in a French hospital. Palpably less austere than Ali, Vieux is known to do Hendrix shtick onstage, and his 2010 live album is showier than is advisable outside a show. But he plays enough guitar to carry the hypnotic "Amana Quai" and the rushed "Borei" altogether on his own. Knows where the flute and ngoni go, too. A-

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