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The dual release of Ali Farka Toure
's most popular and enduring albums will come as good news for fans of his music, and will hopefully spawn many more devotees. Since their original release in 1979 and 1988, they've been two of the most in demand CD issues, and this coupling can only be a good thing. The two albums, both originally released eponymously and so named Red
due to their sleeve colours, are held in high regard by world music fans and rightly so. Essentially both albums follow the same template; the intimately recorded sound of Ali Farka Toure, accompanied only by his acoustic guitar, a second vocal and minimal percussion, but weaving irresistible melodic delights. It initially may sound foreign (in every sense of the word) to the ear of those familiar only with Western music, but perseverance reaps rewards for sure. Any novies to the genre who were taken with Damon Albarn's Mali Music
project will find much to love here, though the sound is far more sparse, almost sounding improvised in places, and the atmosphere this projects is certainly appealing. In short, an excellent release that should open a few ears, and is recommended universally. --Thom Allott