Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Kings and Queens of Township Jive: Modern Roots of the Indestructible Beat of Soweto [Earthworks, 1991]
If the successors to Earthworks's epochal mbaqanga comp have been too professional, the predecessors from Rounder and such haven't been professional enough. So finally, here are the '60s/'70s hits. Though it stars the usual great names--Mahlathini, the Queens, West Nkosi--its highs surprise: a beleaguered Soul Brothers boast hooked to a rumbling organ sound effect, a Lulu Masilela one-shot as self-evidently classic as "Walking With Mr. Lee," the rest of the sax jive. I used to get an r&b rush off these folks' mature work. Little did I know how much fun they'd already had. A