Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  And It Don't Stop
  Book Reports
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  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
Xgau Sez
  And It Don't Stop
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
Web Site:
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
CG Search:
Google Search:

Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens

  • Thokozile [Earthworks/Virgin, 1988] A-
  • Paris-Soweto [Celluloid, 1988] A
  • Rhythm and Art [Shanachie, 1990] Dud
  • The Lion Roars [Shanachie, 1991] **
  • Mbaqanga [Verve World, 1992] Dud
  • Stoki Stoki [Shanachie, 1996] **

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Thokozile [Earthworks/Virgin, 1988]
The great groaner's 1983 reunion with his greatest backup groups--not just the Queens, returned to the life after a decade of domesticity, but Makgona Tsohle, featuring nonpareil guitarist Marks Mankwane and ubiquitous saxophonist-producer West Nkosi--culminates for the nonce in this 1986 showcase. Not counting "I Wanna Dance," exactly the sort of "disco" that's supposed to be against his principles, it's unexceptionably indestructible, bottomless baritone flexed inexorably against stout sopranos, with Mankwane's licks and Nkosi's pennywhistle darting like traffic up top. Professional dance music at its finest and roughest. A-

Paris-Soweto [Celluloid, 1988]
He no longer sings as goatishly or as much, which is a loss, but until someone compiles his best-of, this will be proof he deserves one. The songs are new, many with far from embarrassing English verses and hooks you swear you've heard before, but it's production values that make it his first export album to soar. Soukous audio gives the beat bite. Strong support--not just Makgona Tsohle and the Queens, but West Nkosi second-stringers Amaswazi Emvelo--helps carry that weight. And I bet they took the time to get it right, too--blessed by the relief of a European tour, they waited till the spirit was more than willing. A

Rhythm and Art [Shanachie, 1990] Dud

The Lion Roars [Shanachie, 1991]
for his supper ("Masole A Banana," "Amaqhawe Omgqashiyo") **

Mbaqanga [Verve World, 1992] Dud

Stoki Stoki [Shanachie, 1996]
after 30 years, not everything (or everywho) they used to be ("Ilamba Lidlile," "Umgqashiyo") **