Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Rough Guide to the Music of Romanian Gypsies [World Music Network, 2008]
Why'd ya think they call 'em Roma? Home to more Gypsies than any other nation, with Ceaucescu's urban Electrecord bureaucracy preceding and complementing Eurobizzers' deep-mountain fabrication of Taraf de Ha´douks and Fanfare Ciocarlia, Romania is the Gypsy-music motherlode--so much so that I've already A-listed albums by eight of the 20 artists on this inevitable compilation. But I'm not idealistic enough to believe that many readers have tried them all, and would be flattered if they'd tried more than one, so here's what you've been missing. The knockouts come in the first half, including Ha´douks and Romica Puceanu picks I'd never noticed or heard, respectively. But the civility of the Electrecord material and the raucousness of the Crammed Discs period are vivacious in their own distinct ways, with less renowned recent recordings splitting the difference. Maybe you wish four of the last eight featurees didn't play accordion, and maybe you're right, sort of. In the end, you'll hardly notice. A-