Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  Expert Witness
Books:
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Writings:
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Playboy
  Blender
  Rolling Stone
  Billboard
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
  Recyclables
  Newsprint
  Lists
  Miscellany
Bibliography
NPR
Web Site:
  Home
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
  Archive
Venues:
  Noisey
CG Search:
Google Search:
Twitter:

Consumer Guide Album

Afro Latin Via Dakar [Syllart Productions/Discograph, 2011]
With its ill-organized, ill-translated notes and obscure sequencing, this two-CD collectorama is a puzzle to think about. But not to hear--it listens great. Dates run late '60s to early '80s, though without a decent scorecard it can be hard to tell what's when, and tempos trend medium, presumably to flatter the dignity of Senegal's post-independence elite, which was the core audience for what we'll call Senegalese salsa even though it was made by musicians from all over West Africa and often recorded in Abidjan. This elite audience the notes don't note amid their oft-told tales of Louis Moreau Gottschalk and Cuban sailors bearing precious 78s, but if you'll compare Addis Ababa's mood in the Éthiopiques comps you'll hear what I mean. Even the dance numbers are pretty contained. Key players include Orchestra Baobab in its many iterations (six of the 32 songs, only the climactic "Papa Ndiaye" known to me), master vocalist Laba Sosseh (get this man a best-of), and such relatively big names as Papa Seck, Thione Seck, and droll saxophonist Issa Cissoko, who got around. Though the annotator's boasts of rare 45s and student bands make one fear collectibles for their own sake, there are few clinkers and not many generics. Baobab fans especially will know where this music is coming from and be happy to hear more. A-