Lucid Culture


CD Review: Justin Adams and Juldeh Camara – Tell No Lies

Last year’s collaboration between Justin Adams and Juldeh Camara, Soul Science (very favorably reviewed here), was more in the vein of desert blues. This time around, Adams brought a mixtape with a lot of rock on it to the sessions for the new album: he’d play something for Camara, who’d record it on his cellphone and then come up with a complementary part. Perhaps as a result, this rocks a lot harder, yet retains the hypnotic, otherworldly vibe of their first collaboration. There seems to be a more improvisational quality here based on a call-and-response chemistry between the British guitarist and the Gambian riti fiddler who, unbeknownst to each other, were fans of each others’ work before they ever met.

The album kicks off with Sahara, insistently hypnotic with layers of briskly incisive blues riffs, Camara singing a repetitive chorus in his native tongue. The second cut Tonio Yima has sort of a Texas boogie feel with big guitar screams from Adams, a repeater-box vibe straight out of How Soon Is Now by the Smiths and an amusing lyric by Camara, a guy at a party disingenuously telling someone not to stress out too much if he gets stepped on or spat on. It’s a big party, after all!

Over a burning Bo Diddley beat, Kele Kele (No Passport No Visa) rails against the exploitation of undocumented immigrants. Fulani Coochie Man rails against the hoarding and misappropriation of foreign aid to Africa: the textures of Camara’s fluid blues runs on the fiddle against Adams’ walking bassline are delicious. There’s also plenty of desert blues here along with a track that opens with a variation on an older New Order riff, a song that sounds like La Bamba gone garage rock and then to Africa, one with a calypso feel and the album’s concluding cut, Futa Jalo, a pretty, gently watery acoustic guitar know-your-roots number with swirls of electric guitar in the background and warm, fluttery, almost saxophone-derived lines from Camara. Fans of all of the above styles will find the album in its entirety richly rewarding. Justin Adams and Juldeh Camara play the Lincoln Center Festival on July 21 at 8 PM.

June 16, 2009 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments