Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Taj Mahal: Happy Just to Be Like I Am [Columbia, 1971]
This relaxed, witty survey of musical Afro-America is strongest when its compositions verge on interpretations. You hear the steel drums on "West Indian Revelation" and realize that the foreign lilt of "Chevrolet" is Caribbean. You hear "Black Spirit Boogie" and realize how many ways there are to keep an acoustic guitar solo interesting once you've acquired a natural sense of rhythm. And you hear "Oh Susanna" and realize it's back to where it once belonged. B+