Blue Stage Session
Third Man Records
Third Man Records is easily the best thing Jack White’s ever done – and for proof we need only look at at things like this, limited edition, direct-to-vinyl recording sessions that showcase the best of popular and fringe acts.
Here Tuareg guitarist Mdou Moctar lets his spidery, psychedelic-jam guitar loose over crawling spirals of drum rhythm. His hypnotic weave of desert blues and new-frontier jam-band styles is so easy to get caught in, the music sways and catches you in it – it’s like Ry Cooder and Tinariwen meeting by the river…only to find they’ve been beaten to the punch.
Mdou is on the verge of releasing his first full proper studio album – but was discovered by the wider world for his soundtrack album to his own version of Prince’s Purple Rain movie (which he also starred in). No really.
That album – and subsequent recordings – brilliant! But this. This is something else. It’s a relaxed live set, the crowd blown away by the command of music here.
These are relentless guitar and drum workouts (Ibitilan) with moments of spiralled guitar charm (Taliat). These are blues songs from another dimension.
These are reminders of what people from the western world went searching for in the 1960s. And so many are still aiming for this or searching for a version of it now.
This is the sound Peter Green was chasing. Cooder and Richard Thompson too.
But it’s more than that. It’s a set of politically charged folk songs from one of the finest guitarists on the planet.
And serves as further reminder to get on board, to hear what he’s doing. Moctar is the guitar-hero we need right now. No ego. Only music. It flows through him. He is the conduit. These tunes pulse and writhe and thrive. He and his band breathe life into these new ideas which are in fact as old as the hills.
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