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Review: The Rough Guide to Desert Blues

There are more rough guides out there—dozens of them. We also got our hands recently on their second volume of Scottish folk, a Rough Guide to Bollywood, and many more. Driftwood gets more music that we love than we ever have the space or personnel to review, but our overall opinion is that these are excellent starting places for anyone looking to explore the music of a new region.

Driftwood will not publish a review tomorrow. Happy holidays from all of us here on this here website here.

Various Artists
The Rough Guide to Desert Blues
[EGNET 1238CD (2010)]

Another release in the long-running Rough Guide series, this one samples what’s become known as “Desert Blues,” where Western instruments, amplification, and song structure have been adopted by West African musicians and reinterpreted in their own individual style. Some of the names will be familiar (Ali Farka Toure and Tinariwen), but the success of this collection in the strength of some of the lesser-known musicians and groups such as Tamikrest, Terakft and Mamane Barka. The liner notes are excellent, with a brief informative introduction to the style as well as bios on all the musicians and groups.

Also included is a bonus disc by Etran Finatawa. [www.worldmusic.net]

—Jim Lee (Simi Valey, CA)

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