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World Music CD Reviews Africa

Ali Farka Toure

By Chris King
Published August 1, 2005

Radio Mali
World Circuit/Nonesuch

Malian guitar-slinger Ali Farka Toure’s laid-back, upcountry style has famously been compared to that of bluesman John Lee Hooker, attracting attention from international gadfly Ry Cooder. Radio Mali is a reissue of Toure’s first release after his Grammy-winning collaboration with Cooder, Talking Timbuktu. Compiled from recordings of 1970s radio broadcasts, it captures this thoughtful musician at his most introspective. When plugged in, Toure can grind with the best of them; unplugged, he sounds like a worried mind stretched between six guitar strings.