Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Azagas and Archibogs [Original Music, 1991]
Most of these 22 pre-Biafran War dance-band highlifes are just 45s with names on them from the Decca West Africa vaults in Lagos--only three decades later, almost nothing is known of the multilingual Charles Iwegbue & His Archibogs beyond the band intro on "Okibo," or of the raucous Aigbe Lebarty & His Lebartone Aces except that he seemed to be from around Benin. There's not even a consistent style to grab onto, and the overall effect is a lot less suave than that of stars like E.T. Mensah or Sir Victor Uwaifo. They take a long time to sink in. But in the end I get a kick from every one. The will to fun that's palpable in this music isn't anonymous. It's--and I don't give a fuck if this is a naughty word in these anti-essentialist times--universal. A-