Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Laba Sosseh

  • Volume 1 [Syllart, 2012] B+

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Volume 1 [Syllart, 2012]
Of griot family, the seminal Senegambian salsero sang forcefully from the sternum and grooved unshakably from the fundament, a principled disciple-evangelist who recorded regularly with Orquesta Aragon in Paris and occasionally with his Manhattan heroes as well. In Dakar he was the dancing master of the postcolonial elite, steadying his bands' Congo-rooted "Latin" beats so that they signified for West Africans. In what I assume is completist grandeur on a two-CD set whose fran?ais-seulement notes are impeccably free of useful detail, these 26 ('70s?) ('80s?) (classic?) (early?) tracks are solid and resonant once the recording quality rights itself. Seldom, however, do they rise above, with the biggest exception the same "Marie Gomis" available in somewhat duller audio on the Sosseh album I've puzzled longest over, Monguito El Unico and Laba Sosseh. Three of the other four tracks on that record also repeat here, with the bonus that this "Yamanekh" adds a speedy and welcome three-minute coda. A titan, definitely, and near as I can tell--compared to Sar's easier-to-find Laba Sosseh, for instance--this is as good as you're liable to find until some saint does a proper comp. B+