Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Juluka: Scatterlings [Warner Bros., 1983]
The musical and political strengths and weaknesses of apartheid-fighters Johnny Clegg and Sipho Mchuna are best understood if you think of them as folkies. Beginning as a biracial guitar-and-voice duo committed to Zulu traditionalism, which many apartheid-fighters consider objectively counterrevolutionary, they've become a rock band out of commercial happenstance. Like most folkies, they're often corny--"Simple things are all we have left to trust" and so forth. But being a folkie in South Africa takes a lot more guts than it does in liberal societies, and that's audible all over this album--as are the melodic resources of the Zulu tradition, which happen to be vocal rather than percussive. B