Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Afro-Latino [Putamayo, 1998]
African salsa derivatives tend toward a relaxed retro, guitar-dappled with a charanga feel, avoiding merengue hyperdrive and reducing hectic horns to a synth wash or solo obbligato. And while it wouldn't be Putumayo without the Peruvian-American subway musicians who write as flat as they groove or the conceptually slack if musically deft Cuban son selections, this opens the niche nicely, expertly promoting label debuts by Sam Mangwana and Ricardo Lemvo and locating an ace lead by the obscure Tam-Tam 2000 as well as picture-card filler by the overpraised Africando. A-