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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just great!, 16 May 2011
By 
Ian Williams "ianw" (Sunderland, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beginner's Guide to African Blues (Audio CD)
Not the longest of these 3-CD Beginners sets at just under 3 hours, but it's certainly one of the best I've bought. There's the usual guff about African roots of the Blues but over the last 50 years or so there's been so much cross-fertilisation of musical genres that with contemporary artists it's chicken or the egg situation especially when the first track of the third CD is a duet by a British and a Gambian artist reworking Hoochie Coochie Man as Fulani Coochie Man.

The first CD features Senegalese and Malian musicians and are mostly likely to be the artists you've heard of -Ali Farka Toure, Rokia Traore, Boubacar Traore, and Toumani Diabate- and it's as good and varied as you'd expect.

But it's the second CD which is, and to my great surprise, my favourite as it features North African, Ethiopian, and Toureg musicians and I've never really got into Tinariwen (who aren't featured). Instead there's a wide range of styles which come over often as soundscapes. But there is also some amazingly powerful emotional music here, particularly Ethiopian Tlahoun Gessesse's horn-driven Sema. The last track on the disc is by Libya'sTouareg De Fewet and again it's great -I just hope they are okay, given the current situation. This is all really quite revelatory music. It doesn't exactly sound like the Blues but it sure does feel like it.

As Phil Meadley in his concise notes remarks, CD3 is most Blue-Blues sounding of the set in terms of structure, though that structure is played around with quite a lot too. So it's the most accessible and immediately enjoyable of the three. But it's the other two discs, particularly the second, which repay focused attention and contain the most rewards.

This is a terrific compilation and highly recommended to anyone who'd like their musical taste buds refreshing, not just fans of Blues or African music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic value, 31 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Beginner's Guide to African Blues (Audio CD)
What a brilliant buy - 3 cd's for the price of one. I've only listened to the first 2 so far, but they seem excellent quality. Love the music - plenty of variety, and supporting a whole bunch of African musicians (hopefully) - spread the love. Especially love the 2nd cd (African jazz blues?). Think i'll see if they produce any more cd sets in this series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At this price, who can complain/, 17 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Beginner's Guide to African Blues (Audio CD)
Comprehensive introduction. The sleeve notes are skimpy, but the range across all three cds, and the way they are themed on each cd is excellent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Catch this train, 9 Feb 2012
By 
Gonzales (Poole, Dorset, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beginner's Guide to African Blues (Audio CD)
I must admit I've not yet completed the compilation.

Andy Kershaw's shoved me. I have never dipped into 'world music' before. Then I read his book over Christmas. The famously blunt northern style got me to exploring previously unvisited areas of music retail. The spirit of risk, engendered by the man who survived three journalistic trips to North Korea and shared a studio with John Peel, has so far been vindicated.

Be warned - it don't all sound like blues, a few tracks are not even close, but sometimes (as the old blues singers once growled) you gotta catch that train. The three discs are a bit of a mix. There's all of the wonder and some of the irritation that's customary in a place where you can't speak the language but your ears are tuned in to the sounds. My first impression is of a culture both strangely familiar and rewardingly new. I'm staying a bit longer. Try it.

Andy Kershaw's autobiography, 2011, No Off Switch.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good but not life changing!, 24 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Beginner's Guide to African Blues (Audio CD)
enough good and better stuff but not as consistently surprising and excellent as the african funk one; but worth a punt
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Beginner's Guide to African Blues
Beginner's Guide to African Blues by Various Artists (Audio CD - 2011)
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