Aside perhaps from the necessary hype to introduce a Malian musician to Western listeners who don't know where or what Mali is, I don't hear much similarity to American blues music in this Ali Farka Toure release. Except maybe the pentatonic scale, but that's used in Japanese and other musics too. And certainly the comparison to John Lee Hooker is bizarre. In this album, Mr. Toure exhibits some serious guitar chops across a wide swath of tempos, rhythms and styles. Most important, his seemingly effortless yet complex guitar playing is employed over beautiful compositions, vocal melodies, percussion and singing. The first track, "Goye Kur" is a tour de force with ringing, fluid chorused guitar, a bright bold vocal chant and melody, rumbling and precise calabash percussion and a haunting njarka line that anchors the whole shebang. Hawa Dolo reminds me weirdly of Ben E. King and the Drifters doing a solemn, yet hopeful prayer song. The solo instrumental, Cinquante Six, has a nice Chet Atkins vibe with its delicate and nimble fingerpicking. Excellent recording, mixing and production top it all off.