Lobi Traore/Sorry Bamba
Mali Gets Loud
Lobi Traore: Bwati Kono "In the Club" (Kanaga System Krush)
Although I've never heard this Malian guitarist's Bamako or Bambara Blues, I admired his quick, clean, tightly hypnotic 1996 Segou‑-which hardly prepared me for either of the two albums to appear since he died last year at 49. Rainy Season Blues is one of those solo acoustic sitdowns that authenticity fetishists pine for and I'm too crass to get through twice when the songs are in English. This is the opposite‑-loud, electric band jams from a late-night club in an early-to-bed city and "a well-known Nigerian `Hotel,'" whatever that means. I do ask myself why I'm more likely to enjoy the form from the number five Malian guitarist than from, say, Jeff Beck. Intensity of self-creation, partly, plus I remain a big Hound Dog Taylor fan. Traore cuts Taylor. But the 10-minute "Ya Time" ("Someone who has lost their mother and father") could actually pass for blues in the land of Ali Farka Toure, which claims blues a lot more often than it gets within 3000 miles of them. A MINUS
Sorry Bamba: Volume One 1970-1979 (Thrill Jockey)
Before there was a Rail Band, this nobly born singer-trumpeter-flutist led a dance troupe and a musical ensemble in the provincial Malian city of Mopti. The Rail Band was more elegant and complex‑-Bamba was no Salif Keita or Mory Kante vocally, and when Rail Band stalwart Kanté Manfila steps up for a track here, the delicacy of his guitar technique makes for a nice change. Bamba doesn't put forth a consistent sound. He was in show business, and though his core audience was more provincial than the travelers who came through Bamako station, they liked having clave and Ethiopian horns and baby-got-back mixed in with their griot-approved staples. But that's a positive--fun, really. Combined with amenities only Bamba could provide‑-his trumpet, his flute, his specialty in Dogon culture, and most spectacularly a thousand-year-old showpiece featuring an impossible hectoring chant for a long-departed emir‑-the groove that asserts itself has crude satisfactions all its own. A MINUS
'It's much, much faster than Firefox.'Wrong. I would whap out some charts and such, but I don't want to be a nerd/dick! (Yes, I see the irony.)
I thought I remembered reading in one of Kerouac's biography's that Snyder had sent Kerouac an angry letter after Dharma Bums was published--something about a special circle of hell for mendacious or dishonest poets. But maybe I've confused him with Kenneth Rexroth, whose dislike of Kerouac and his work (apparently, the feeling was mutual) was a matter of some public record.
Jason, thanks for the correction. I thought I remembered reading in one of Kerouac's biography's that Snyder had sent Kerouac an angry letter after Dharma Bums was published--something about a special circle of hell for mendacious or dishonest poets. But maybe I've confused him with Kenneth Rexroth, whose dislike of Kerouac and his work (apparently, the feeling was mutual) was a matter of some public record.
LATER: Turns out songs are wrongly named and thus reversed in MP3 download.
[I use print-outs of Xgau's reviews as liner notes in the other side of the CD sleeve. Makes even the C-minuses worth having? If I'm curious for more info, I can find plenty of it online.]
(Although, this one's pretty funny, too/NSFW: http://goo.gl/0mKt4 [yes, I'm link whoring!])
'...this recent backlash against a perfectly good item of punctuation...'Moi?! Never! I like the em dash! (From a web design point of view, an em dash is this: —. Hah, I am so gonna give Xgau a heart attack [no age joke]! http://goo.gl/yh7nd)
I just downloaded International Affair last week. i was happy to get it after all this time. The website is not exactly high touch, but I had no problems paying by paypal and being issued a download link to my email account.
I have Together on vinyl only, so i may have to follow the link Cyclops graciously provided when I am at home.
Seems like a fair number of the comment team here actually makes music (as well as solo dance/air guitar.) But yeah, I fall into the category of people whose singing has dried up. I play my hands, though, and more than live up to my percussionistic name (although I imagine it originally comes from drummer, i.e. salesman, of the itinerant door-to-door sort, hence my ancestors' peripatetic nature.)
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.