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Franco The Rough Guide to Franco
World Music Network (www.worldmusic.net)

cd cover The ever-expanding anthology series by the Rough Guide kicks off its single-artist category with the undisputed giant of African pop, Franco. Fortunately, they commissioned Graeme Ewens, biographer of Franco, to put it together, and he offers a well-considered collection of Francophilia. The cuts are chosen for their historical context as well as their popularity, with succinct liner notes to help connect the dots. The first cut from 1956 shows off Franco's already solid guitar work at age 17, then offers such landmarks as "Infidelite Mado" and "Mario," and arrives at the cautionary 1987 AIDS song "Attention na SIDA," a consciousness that, alas, came too late for Franco himself, who died in 1989. This Rough Guide is an excellent starting point for anyone wishing to discover the musical legacy that Franco left for the world. - John Cho

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