Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Sarafina! [Shanachie, 1988]
Maybe I should lighten up and let this album do what an original-cast album is supposed to--evoke the theatrical experience, which as it happens surpassed any phonographic one to come my way in 1987. But I've always believed evocation should be a side effect, and as a thing-in-itself, this is no South Pacific or West Side Story, not to mention Threepenny Opera or Indestructible Beat. Mbube rubs shoulders with mbaqanga sitting atop Jo'burg jazz giving way to musical-comedy declamation: the guitarist is great, the drummer isn't, and the young singers do what they're told. If you want to know what the show is like, go into hock and check it out. A complete killer. B