Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Jive Nation--The Indestructible Beat of Soweto Volume Five [Earthworks, 1995]
The title is poetic license. Not only will it take a lot more than music to hold South Africa together, but the posttribal genres Trevor Herman fuses into jive aren't modern enough to do the job. Nevertheless, these 18 tracks, the series's strongest since volume one, prove how robust the genres remain. Three tipico Shangaan outfits and one supertrad Sotho group hold their own and then some against the Zulus. The King Star Brothers and especially Colenso Abafana Benkokhelo render Ladysmith's absence moot. Johnny Clegg sounds like himself and fits right in. And on his sole track, Mahlathini blows everybody else else away. A-