Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Hakim: Live in America: The Lion Roars [Mondo Melodia, 2001]
The Egyptian sha'bi style reigned over by this good-looking country lad cum college grad remains sufficiently exotic stateside to resist piddling distinctions, but one thing can surely be said about his 95-minute virtual best-of: It never stops. The Cairo horns that sound so stately in most Middle Eastern pop are riotous, and while I couldn't tell you which percussion interlude goes where without consulting a scorecard, any one can get you going. What it evokes for me is a classic James Brown show with fewer rest stops and a less brilliantly elaborated bottom-the kind of high-energy ritual fools think primitive but we know as a specialty of urban society in the electric age. A-