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

Africa Dances [Authentic, 1973]
What The Harder They Come does for reggae this sampler attempts to do for the American-influenced urban music of Africa. Its scope is necessarily broad, but only once does an alien-sounding rhythm (Arabic tarabu) interfere with its remarkable listenability. The mood might be described as folk music with brass, for although the horn techniques are familiar from big-band jazz, r&b, and especially salsa, the overall effect is much less biting than that would imply. There's something penetratingly decent, humorous, and even civil about this music, as if the equanimity of tribal cultures at peace at least with themselves has not yet been overwhelmed by media-nourished crosscultural complexities. If this is my misapprehension, perhaps it is reinforced by the fact that the lyrics aren't in English, although I don't get anything similar from salsa. Anyway, a find. A