Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

South African Trade Union Worker Choirs [Rounder, 1987]
These groups have an aura of officialdom, as if organized at the workplace by wily fomenters of solidarity. Women make themselves heard in a traditionally male domain; the style is relatively declamatory, confident of its platform and its captive audience; American jubilee and mass-choir voicings abound; the acronym for "Federation of South African Trade Unions" bedecks six of the twenty-five titles. But for agitprop, it's long on high-jinks, with stomps and whistles erupting frequently around the exhortations. If South African pop makes the struggle of the South African people doubly immediate, this does the same for South African politicos--while apprising skeptics of how close to the people they are. B+