Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Thomas Mapfumo: The Singles Collection 1977-1986 [Zimbob, 1996]
The 16 cuts on this remastering of a cassette compiled by Mapfumo circa 1993, all of which originally surfaced as Zimbabwean seven-inches, consume pretty much the same 70-plus-minutes as the 12 on the Hemisphere collection. Which means that, relatively speaking, they're more about song than groove, and that their groove has a little more reggae/herb skank and a little less benga/whatever propulsion--they're gentler, more ruminative. The earlier dates are also a plus in theory, although I can't claim to distinguish the fresh from the formulaic even so. In fact, I doubt the artist knows the difference himself. A-