It’s a payday Friday before a long weekend, I got my morning drill swim in early and I’m now working at my dining room table with a bowl of scrambled eggs and sausage and cup of joe while the girls are away at the gym and the kitties are asleep at my feet. At this exact moment: life is good. It’s made even better by the fact that I have something extremely cool to listen to, the ‘Talking Timbuktu‘ album by Ali Farka Toure and Ry Cooder.
In case you’ve never heard of Ry Cooder before (and you should so, if you haven’t, you should be giving your head a shake) he is a multi-instrumentalist best known for his slide guitar work, his interest in roots music, and his collaborations with traditional musicians from around the world; too many to list. He was ranked 8th on Rolling Stone magazine’s 2003 list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Ali Farka Toure is a Malian singer and multi-instrumentalist, and one of the African continent’s most internationally renowned musicians. His music is widely regarded as representing a point of intersection of traditional Malian music and its North American cousin, the blues, and Rolling Stone magazine ranked #76 on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Put these two together and awesomeness will inevitably ensue.
‘Talking Timbuktu’ is the 1994, Grammy award-winning collaboration between Touré and Cooder. Most notably from the album, the guitar riff from the song ‘Diaraby‘ was selected for the Geo-quiz segment of ‘The World’ PRI-BBC radio program and was retained by popular demand when put to a vote by the listeners.
The album features Toure singing in no less than 11 languages and playing acoustic and electric guitar, six-string banjo, njarka (whatever the fuck that is), and percussion, while teaming smartly with an all-star cast that (besides Cooder, who also doubles as the album’s producer) includes superstar fusion bassist John Patitucci, session drummer Jim Keltner, venerable guitarist Gatemouth Brown, and African percussionists Hamma Sankare on calabash and Oumar Touré on congas.
I have absolutely no freakin’ idea about what he is singing about on any of the 11 tracks, but it’s all pretty friggin’ awesome. The perfect accompaniment for the mood here at the home office today with the dreary overcast skies behind me. Thanks Joe! It did change my life. And after that last clusterfuck of a suggestion you gave me (click HERE) this has once again placed you back in my “good music” books. Cheers, mate.
In fact, I think you all need to listen to this (click HERE).
You can thank me afterwards.