Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Mbube! Zulu Men's Singing Competition [Rounder, 1987]
In which the judge at a Durban singing meet whittles 19 choirs and six hours down to nine choirs and 48 minutes. It's the kind of record that appeals to the converted; I wouldn't have paid so much attention to a similar document from Bahia or the Caucasus or a Pentecostal church in North Carolina. But I swear the notes and song summaries are lively enough to hook the curious, and anybody whose knowledge of Zulu chorale stops at Ladysmith should check out these hymnful shouts, stomps, whistles, yodels, and ululations. The deep, muscular harmonies of the Easy Walkers get my blue ribbon, but every rock and roller ought to hear the Greytown Evening Birds, who sing about their hunger like the Beach Boys. B+