Before I talk about this album, allow me to correct the track listing above - it is certainly NOT for this album!
The REAL track listing is:
1. Fafa (Live At The Thornbury Theatre) 5:51
2. Slow Jam (Live At The Thornbury Theatre) 4:10
3. Na Maïmouna Poussaniamba (Live At Colorado College) 6:35
4. Diaraby Magni (Featuring Yossi Fine) (Live At The Independent) 5:33
5. Souba Souba (Live At The Thornbury Theatre) 5:48
6. Maïga (Live At Brisbane Powerhouse) 7:24
7. Walaïdu (Featuring Jeff Lang) (Live At The Thornbury Theatre) 8:44
8. Aï Haïra (Live At The Independent) 7:39
9. Chérie Lé (Live At The Independent) 7:52
So, on to the album.
Vieux Farka Toure (VFT) has so far produced two extremely good studio albums: the first eponymous album was a mixture of styles, and he was accompanied by many of the great african musicians that played with his father, Ali.
The second, 'Fondo', showed VFT taking on more of his own style, and playing with his new, slimmed-down, more tightly-knit outfit to produce some great desert rock blues at a variety of tempos, and with some great riffs.
I saw him live about 18 months ago and saw how this new approach translated into a live format that allowed him to jam, improvise and extend his songs in a delight of playing.
VFT, a big fan of Hendrix, is taking a leaf out of the Master's book and using the live experience to go beyond what feels right in the confines of the studio and to give audinces a new and unique experience. Notwithstanding again a mixture of tempos, this album is very much that - it's not just the usual live album with very similar versions to the album tracks, it takes them and weaves them into a mesmerising hour of fantastic guitar playing.
I'm sure he makes no apologies for doing so and I certainly make no apologies for saying this is a great album which shows an african artist, though steeped in the ways of tradition, taking it on and carving out his own space with real energy and exuberance.
on 24 May 2011
I have some sympathy with the reviewer who thought that this is not a subtle record. He is correct - it is nothing like his previously available recordings. It is loud and it is guitar playing that harks back to a previous era when it wasnt shameful to be able to play properly. Its a bit like Tinariwen on amphetamines actually. Brilliant. I too, was lucky enough to catch Vieux Farka Toure live playing this material and it was a bit special. Fantastic guitar playing - a great band and unbelievable energy without hamming it up into a "show" for numbskulls whose idea of a great time is to whoop like a moron every time one of the performers farts or they recognise a song - jeez what have we become! Unfortunately this recording doesnt capture the excitement of the performance but to people like myself, it serves as a very worthwhile reminder of a great night.