Staff Benda Bilili/Janka Nabay & the Bubu Gang
Staff Benda Bilili: Bouger Le Monde (Crammed Discs)
Insofar as these beggars and thieves qualify as "roots revivalists," those roots are pop not folk, urban not rural: the liveliest revision of Kinshasa's rumba groove since the speed soukous of Mobutu's mad decline. Horns would be extravagances to professional musicians glad enough not to be sleeping rough anymore, and the guitar parts are rudimentary, with sebene duty done by the vaults and darts of a whining homemade lute that jolts rather than lilts much less flows. But though capable lead vocalist Ricky Likabu and startling high tenor Theo Nzonza don't soar on record the way they do live, both lift audibly out of the wheeled conveyances from which a gang of polio survivors articulated their humanity and launched their inspired hustle. A MINUS
Janka Nabay & the Bubu Gang: En Yay Sah (Luaka Bop)
Before he left a war-wrecked Sierra Leone in 2002, Nabay made a name for himself by "modernizing" a Temne music called bubu. Maybe that just means electrifying, maybe more; in either case, this version suggests minimalist juju, only juju singing tends mellow where Nabay's vocals have a near-spoken roughness, with crucial melodic counterpoint from Boshra Alsaadi's sweet soprano. Translations provided notwithstanding, half the songs are basically grooves, with keyboard, guitar, bass, and electric drums all manned by Brooklyn hipsters of some renown. But these grooves vary structurally‑-hooked by a bass drone, an insistent drum pattern, some fetching keyb. And they always move. Given how stiffly white guys usually execute African beats, Brooklyn should be proud. A MINUS
Sen. Flipper calling Gov. Romney a flip flopper. Very rich indeed.
When Hussain finished: Zombie nation.
In fact a rather skillful prayer, strongly worded wrapped in velvet.
It is a good night playing Springsteen.
"Recommended to all the Commie Pinko Deviants on EW:"
I'm proud to count myself among your ranks.
The Citizens Band, "Grab a Root and Growl"
Sample titles: "I Swung the Election"; "The Debt Rattle"; "Fare Ye Well Bad Congressman"; "The Party's Over"; "Calling All Beautiful Dreamers"
Ultimately minor, but lots of fun on the way.
"Considering all that Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld & Co. put us through during those eight years and beyond, any complaints about Bill Clinton and his definition of 'is' and 'sexual relations' and that whole scandal really seems rather trivial."
you mean fight that war that Bill Clinton refused to fight? (1993 WTC bombing, Omar-abdel-rahman, 9/11 WTC) or their warning.
There's some youtube videos that I can't link here but titled "Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, and Democrats are Clueless on Freddie Mac Fannie Mae and the financial crises."
At least Rep. Artur Davis has seen the light.
And "Where were Barney Frank & Chris Dodd While the Bush Administration Tried to Get Mortgage Reform?"
about the dangers of Clinton's "Community Re-investment Act"?
Peterike - usually the criticism goes the other way around - that folks are way more likely to call hip hop performers on their misogyny than they are to do the same with, say, Stones/Dylan/Zeppelin.
* Been playing the new Dylan over and over. I think it's A territory, possibly A+, but have to live with it more.
* Lyrics for it here! http://bit.ly/P4Nb3l
* The supposedly "sexist" lines bother me not a whit.
"Play it for my flat-chested junkie whore." There are, actually, flat chested junkie whores in this world. Maybe you've never been to that part of town.
"I ain't afraid to make love to a bitch or a hag." There are, actually, bitches and hags in this world. What he says here is in the context of a brag anyway. And why do nice white Liberals happily accept such things and much, much worse from black rappers (so "authentic"), but tut-tut them from white dudes? Ever wonder what that says about what you think?
And in "Early Roman Kings" (from whence the quote) Dylan just nails it again and again.
"They're peddlers and they're meddlers, they buy and they sell
They destroyed your city, they'll destroy you as well
They're lecherous and treacherous, hell-bent for leather
Each of them bigger than all men put together
Sluggers and muggers wearing fancy gold rings
All the women going crazy for the early Roman kings."
The last line there can again raise "sexist" alarm bells or, more realistically, it perfectly describes a rather large swath of women in the world. Chicks dig Alpha jerks. Sorry beta males, but it's true (spoken as a life-long beta myself).
* Gmort said re Springsteen: "Have you ever asked yourself what Promise it is that he talks about? Who it's to, who made it, how it's carried out? How it's broken?"
Excellent thought. I love that song. Always wanted to see Xgau review that album, which I found outstanding.
* New Iris Dement on the way soon! Woo hoo!!
"But here's a question -- if those guys fail at "grand and transcendent," who succeeds in your opinion?"
Quick response? Michael Jackson, Prince, Beatles, Fela Kuti jump to mind immediately. Probably Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Elvis P and Jay-Z if I thought about it some more. My inner teen wants to say Zep, but I know that's more just grand than transcendent.
But I think your live point is an excellent one. I've seen none of those (or Bruce or U2) live, and if I did that might change some judgments, Bruce and U2 definitely included. I enjoy Green Day's records OK, but what sticks with me about that band is the great show I saw at Lollapalooza.
Now, can we stop engaging him in his tirades and gobbledygook? He's just a young Republican masturbating on his own solipsism. If we feed him, he will cum.
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Before you ask, we've removed "Bitch" from the automatic word filter for comments.
Wow Brad thanks for taking the time and engaging in a little chat with us philistines! I'm so glad you went ahead and broke me off with a little preview of the remix!
Everything I cited before is a fact. So there's nothing vague or received about saying they are lies.
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.
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