August 7, 2011

Samba Toure | Crocodile Blues

ARTIST:  Samba Toure 
TITLE:  Crocodile Blues 
LABEL:  Riverboat 
REVIEW:  Samba Toure is a Malian guitarist, singer and songwriter from the desert region of Tombouctou.  Samba toured with Ali Farka Toure (no relation) for several years in the late 90’s, put out two albums in Mali and now has another two on the international market.  Farka’s relaxed, rootsy style is being supplanted these days by more rock-influenced artists like his son Vieux and the band Tinariwen.  Of all the many Farka followers, Samba is, I think, the best at capturing the sound that turned so many of us on to desert blues in the first place.  (Toumani Diabate must agree: Samba played all of Farka’s parts on Toumani’s recent Ali Farka Toure Variations tour.)  He uses the classic instrumentation: calabash (played by his brother Bouri Sere), congas (Oumar Toure from Farka’s band), and someone scrapes on a one-string njarka fiddle on a few tracks.  For a fuller sound, Samba adds bass, ngoni and talking drum as well.  And for a special treat, Oumou Sangare duets with Samba on track 5, a tribute to the women who have helped build Mali.  A fine album of classic desert blues.
TOP TRACKS:    1    5    10    12 
ALSO RECOMMENDED:    4    6    7    8    9

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