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Lobi Traore
The Lobi Traore Group
Honest Jon's Records

Lobi Traore's other readily available release, Mali Blue, overcame its unimaginative title by being a ripping good example of the West African roots/American blues connection. This newer disc, also simply titled, is pretty much a natural progression from the last. It's got more the feel of the blues electrified and given the kind of extra swagger it took on when rock and rollers got hold of it. Don't get the wrong impression, this is assuredly West African music, but if you're big on those blues connections you'll likely find this raw, unadorned disc especially good. Traore's guitar and lead vocals are joined by bass, drum kit, balafon, djembe and backup singers on a set of one-take scorchers recorded at an outdoor session in Bamako, Mali. There's no attempt at field recording quaintness, though you do hear some background sounds that wouldn't pass muster in a studio. What really gets under your skin is a thrilling sense of immediacy, of musicians locked in and going all out while sharing a groove that alternately chugs and soars as testimonies of love and human foibles are sung for all within earshot. Grab this disc and get set for how deeply it will surely grab you. - Tom Orr

CD available from cdroots

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