Seventeen years after releasing his first compilation, BBC radio jockey Andy Kershaw pieced together a new mishmash of songs from around the world. The idea isn't particularly to collect "world music" per se, but instead simply to collect worthwhile singles without boundaries, and this approach seems to work well, providing an album of relative rarities and interesting pairings. Opening the disc is Shiyani Ngcobo, a maskanda musician only recently given an album on World Music Network. A pre-Clash Joe Strummer heads up the 101'ers, and country almanac Dale Watson provides an old Merle Haggard number. Some southern soul is presented by Joe Tex, an ultra-rare Dorothy Masuka number is tossed in, and the Magic Black Men, random rappers from Bamako, provide some less slickly produced (than the usual Dakar-Parisian sound) African rap. A bit of experimental British dub follows (complete with a pre-Genesis Phil Collins), as does Miracle Legion, with a sound similar to early R.E.M. More southern soul from Stanley Winston precedes some gutbucket country from the Butlers and Dan Pickett. Ali Farka Touré introduces a fine Malian songstress along with his trademark guitar playing, Parisian/Algerian Youcef Boukella provides a bass heavy loop, and English folk, speech, and Punjabi aesthetics are fused together by a collective headed by the Angel Brothers. Ethno-trance is represented by Kristi Stassinopoulou, South African reggae is represented by the MK Platoon (actually affiliated with the Spear of the Nation movement), and fiddler Jim Eldon covers some Springsteen surprisingly ably, if rather unorthodoxically. The album finishes on the somewhat unknown but seminal Surfin' Dave, with some proto-alt. The album is full of oddities, but the bulk of the music is entirely listenable. Casual listeners may be put off a bit by the sheer indie-record-store elitism of the liner notes and the attitude taken toward the music, but there are plenty of treats to be had for all listeners regardless of such.
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