Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

In Griot Time: String Music from Mali [Sterns, 2000]
I doubt I would have gotten this without having scarfed down compiler Banning Eyre's eponymous book about his seven-month stay in Bamako studying guitar with Rail Band headman and CD centerpiece Djelimady Tounkara. Mixing home- and street-recorded tape with commercial releases by the renowned and obscure Malians who populate his memoir, Eyre thinks like a guitarist and induces us to hear like one-Oumou Sangare and Habib Koite tracks I'd barely noticed spring to life in this context. The Music in My Head it's not. But Eyre's book is so much better than Mark Hudson's it could suck you in. B+