Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Rough Guide to the Music of Senegal [World Music Network, 2013]
As someone who mistook Youssou N'Dour's warmup guy for the boss several times back in the day, I agree that Senegal brims with impressive singers. The strategy of showcasing winners by such longtime crossover hopefuls as Cheikh Lo, Ismael L?, Mansour Seck, and Baaba Maal honors and exploits this plenitude: make sure you check out the Thione Seck, Sister Fa, and Amadou Diagne picks. But put on either of the Music in My Head collections and find out why you could miss them if you didn't make an effort. The bows to Orchestra Baobob and Etoile de Dakar here pop out every time because one band cooked and the other exploded. In fact, even the Westernized folkloricism of Daby Balde's worthy bonus disc powers a more striking collective identity than most of these tracks. B+