Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2012-08-10


The Funkees: Dancing Time (Soundway, 2012) Accurate subtitle, take it or leave it: "The Best of Eastern Nigeria's Afro Rock Exponents 1973-77" ("Akpankuro," "Ogbu Achara") *

Guelewar: Halleli N'Dakarou (Teranga Beat, 2011) A legendary band recorded live--and in Gambia as anywhere else, studio recording can beef up your vocals and frame the rhythm players who do sometimes elevate your songs ("Tara," "Sanehmentereng") ***

Cheikh L˘: Jamm (World Circuit/Nonesuch, 2012) Just too nice a guy to make his pan-Africanism panoramic ("Jamm," "Dieuf Dieuf") **

Spoek Mathambo: Nombolo One (Motel11 download, 2011) As much tributes as covers, "township tech" remakes of 40 years of South African hits ("Jacknife," "Melodi") **

Koo Nimo: Highlife Roots Revival (Riverboat, 2012) Nearing 80, Asante palm-wine guardian relaxes with some musicians he knows and demonstrates his less-gentle-than-they-sound guitar tricks for posterity ("See Wo Nom Me [Tsetse Fly You Suck My Blood]," "Efie Ne Fie") ***

Sibiri SamakÚ: Dambe Foli: Bamana Hunters Music (Kanaga System Krush, 2011) Four raw, jamlike, folkloric Mande songs from Mali--one lead singer and three backups playing two ngonis, a scraper, and a shaker, hypnotically but perhaps also forbiddingly ("Fakoli 'Blacksmith Tribe'") *

I Have My Liberty!: Gospel Sounds From Accra, Ghana (Dust-to-Digital, 2011) Urban field recordings from the refuges where Ghanaian women sing to convince themselves that capitalism works (Divine Healer's Church: Nema Assembly, "I Have My Liberty"; Great Grace Church, "Sunday School") *

The Rough Guide to African Roots Revival (World Music Network, 2012) It was ever thus, ctd.--the poor invent urban folk musics, the better off nurture rural ones (Mbira DzeNharira, "Tozvireva Tingaputike Neshungu"; Shiyani Ngcobo, "Sevalina") ***

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