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

Ladysmith Black Mambazo: Always With Us (Uyohlale Unathi) [CDBaby, 2014]
Often this highly evolved, showbiz-savvy family choir have courted their international target market of congenial folkies by keeping company with their many admirers in Western pop. This has been dodgy musically, and although their filigreed tenor blend is hard to ruin, 2006 collaborations with Melissa Etheridge, Sarah McLachlan, and Natalie Merchant were not propitious. But on this self-released album a South African female provides blessed relief: semi-retired 73-year-old Joseph Shabalala's late wife Nellie, who was murdered in a murky 2002 incident just as her Women of Mambazo choir was about to go international itself. Through the earthly miracle of magnetic tape, Joseph's men and Nellie's women join their voices, and the differentiation is just the thing to make Ladysmith's fifty-somethingth album ring out. Gorgeous has never been their main thing--they're wittier and more intricate than that. But this is gorgeous. A-