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:

E.T. Mensah

  • Day by Day [RetroAfric, 1992] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Day by Day [RetroAfric, 1992]
This isn't the music that revolutionized Ghanaian highlife circa 1948--it's the music that rationalized it a decade or so later. On the sweeter, simpler, early-'50s All for You, you can hear how Mensah must have jolted local swing worshipers when he pared down the horn sections and added beaters and shakers from Cuba and Trinidad. But like so many musicianly concepts, his synthesis flowers as his players gain assurance and chops, and for that matter so do his songs, rendered in six different languages and (at least) five different rhythms. Though the segue from the Twi "Traditional" "Kaa No Wa" to the Spanish "Congo" "Senorita" is genuinely surprising, it also makes perfect sense. It sounds like an artist at ease in a world of music that exfoliates out from the place he calls home. A-