Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Boubacar Traoré: The Best of Boubacar Traoré: The Bluesman From Mali [Wrasse, 2003]
Though his thoughtful melancholy is his own, Traoré is one of those Africans so indigenously immersed that he sounds like a sage to us--the chorus on "Kar Kar Madison" could be chanting "Honor thy father and thy mother" until you learn that Kar Kar is Traoré's nickname and the Madison the old dance novelty gone Malian. Because he's a sage, you have to be in the mood for him, so I figure 1990's Mariama caught me at the right time. I now prefer this post-1996 sampler while recognizing that it won't be for everyone. Eternal recurrence only goes so far. B+