Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Vieux Farka Touré

  • Fondo [Six Degrees, 2009] ***
  • The Secret [Six Degrees, 2011] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Fondo [Six Degrees, 2009]
The easier, more worldly version of his father you'd expect, more interested in pleasure than edge ("Fafa," "Sarama"). ***

The Secret [Six Degrees, 2011]
He's not a bluesman either. Is there an African who is? But it's a tribute to his raising that Vieux takes to internationalism more easily than the ambitious genius who oversaw his upbringing, getting his groove on with a mostly African band anchored and often defined by American drummer Tim Keiper and juiced up just enough by spot-on spots from Derek Trucks, John Scofield, and Dave Matthews--and also his father's last session before heading off to die in a French hospital. Palpably less austere than Ali, Vieux is known to do Hendrix shtick onstage, and his 2010 live album is showier than is advisable outside a show. But he plays enough guitar to carry the hypnotic "Amana Quai" and the rushed "Borei" altogether on his own. Knows where the flute and ngoni go, too. A-