|Description:||Talking Timbuktu is a groundbreaking record that vividly illustrates the Africa-Blues connection in real time. Ali Farka Toure, one of Mali's leading singer-guitarists, has a trance-like, bluesy style that, although deeply rooted in Malian tradition, bears astonishing similarity to that of John Lee Hooker or even Canned Heat. It's a mono-chordal vamp, with repetitive song lines cut with shards of blistering solo runs that shimmer like a desert mirage. Toure may be conversant with some blues artists, but it is unlikely that artists like Hooker or Robert Pete Williams ever heard these Malian roots, which makes the connection so uncanny. Ry Cooder, well versed in domestic and world guitar styles, is the perfect counterpoint in these extended songs/jams, his sinewy slide guitar intertwining with his partner's in a super world summit without barriers or borders. --Derek Rath
|Review:||Mojo (1/95, p.52) - Included in Mojo's "25 Best Albums of 1994" - "A sprung cushion of boneless rhythms conjured up by the rich ringing West African guitar of Toure...and the loose spiritual blues of Cooder."
Village Voice (2/28/95) - Ranked #40 in the Village Voice's 1994 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.
Musician (6/94, p.86) - "...Toure's home village of Niafunke nestles between the Sahara and the Niger River, his farm plots carefully cultivated in a precarious symmetry between two inexorable forces. It's fitting that TALKING TIMBUKTU achieves its own quiet balance among several roots and branches of the blues...."
Stereo Review (5/94, p.91) - "...a very different tapestry of cross-cultural musical threads that co-exist happily and beautifully..."