Various Artists

Rhythm Riot!

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This sixth entry in the landmark guide to township jive is, like most collections, a mixed bag. Some songs offer up delicious grooves and inspiring harmonies, while in others the beatbox, synthesizer, and American influence are all that come through.

Standout tracks include Chicco's "Sixolele Baba (Forgive Us Lord)," which sets a message of dire need delivered by male chorus and a lone, wailing woman against a background of catchy beats and increasing complexity and one of the last songs recorded by the late Simon Mahlathini Nkabinde and a bragging song entitled "Sihambile (We Traveled)." There's not much point in enumerating the lesser works; suffice it to say that four of five tracks out of a total of 15 sound like outtakes from the Graceland sessions. Interestingly, two or three tracks evince a strong Jamaican influence that works very well. If you are a big fan of South African popular music, you need not hesitate about South African Rhythm Riot. But if you do not already love the genres of the region, approach this disc with caution.

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