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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba

1960

Buy At Rough Trade
Miriam Makeba
Album Summary

Miriam Makeba is a self-titled, debut album by Miriam Makeba. It was released in 1960 by RCA Victor. Zenzile Miriam Makeba (4 March 1932 – 9 November 2008), nicknamed Mama Africa, was a South African singer, songwriter, actress, and civil rights activist. Associated with musical genres including Afropop, jazz, and world music, she was an advocate against apartheid and white-minority government in South Africa. Makeba was among the first African musicians to receive worldwide recognition. She brought African music to a Western audience, and popularized the world music and Afropop genres. She also made popular several songs critical of apartheid, and became a symbol of opposition to the system, particularly after her right to return was revoked. Upon her death, former South African President Nelson Mandela said that "her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us."

Wikipedia

Rating

3.16

Votes

11518

Genres

  • Jazz
  • World

Reviews

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Fri Jun 04 2021
4

Really pleasant surprise as I don't normally listen to anything like this. Loved her voice and the blues influences in here. Super cool to hear 'Mbube' and to get some context for 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' (even though Miriam's version is a cover)

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Sun Sep 19 2021
5

If I had to put together a short list of the musicians who had the most influence on my taste in music, she would be in the top 5.  I didn't  fall in love with African music until I bought  Miriam Makeba's Welea album, Frustrated with most of the music I was being fed by radio, I was sifting through the "Music I Never Heard Of" section in the local record store and randomly picked this since she looked like a warm and interesting woman who I hoped would play music that would be more interesting than FM. Her music was peaceful and optimistic which in itself is quite remarkable given her life.  I would play that album before going to work when I knew I had stressful meetings.  I later found the Click song, among others, and learned  that she played with Harry Belefonte, played at the concert festival held in conjunction with the Rumble in the Jungle, and backed up Paul Simon on his Graceland tour. There are many lovely songs on the 1001 offering. The Click Song is charming and her story about the name is  cute. Saduva is one of my favourite songs. She had a longer (and better) version with excellent instrumentation on her Welea album. Lakutshon and One More Dance, both innocuous musically,  demonstrate how beautiful her voice is. At the end of the day I like Welea more than the 1001 offering but this is her first album and  her role in bringing South African and other African music to western audiences is second to none. Yeah Paul Simon played a big role and touched more people in North America and Europe but he likely was influenced by her.  

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Mon Oct 17 2022
5

Good lord, we need more albums like this! Never heard of Miriam but she absolutely killed her debut. A mix of some fantastic native African songs and some more modern songs, including covers like "House of the Rising Sun." "Mbube" blew me away because it's essentially an original, proto-version of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" that feels 100x more authentic and lively. She's got a hell of a voice too, on some of the slower tunes like House of the Rising Sun, I was reminded of the power that someone like Nina Simone has in her voice. Lots of great call and response all over this too, which I always enjoy. The way Charles Coleman was laughing on "One More Dance" was a little bit much and distracting at first, but I couldn't help but love that song by the end too. I can't imagine hearing this album in 1960 and not being completely gobsmacked, considering I'm impressed more than 60 years later. Screw it, five stars. Good luck beating this next week. Favorite tracks: Mbube, Retreat Song, Click Song, Lakutshn Ilanga, Naughty Little Flea, Where Does It Lead, House of the Rising Sun, One More Dance, Iya Guduza. Album art: Just a portrait type shot of Miriam, but it's got that warmth and texture that lots of albums from the '50s and early '60s had, which I can't get enough of. It's the type of album that I'd buy at Goodwill with 100% certainty. 5/5

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Sun Feb 07 2021
5

Que música incrível! Me fez aprender muito mais sobre a história dela, descobri q o Sivuca trabalhou com ela na decada de 60 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3znK08BoKfU). Me fez ver um outro contexto da revolução musical dos anos 60

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Mon Jul 12 2021
5

Wonderful energy, great singing and a wonderful person behind it all.

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Sat Aug 14 2021
5

What a delicious album this is, the talent, the music, the resistance. Her generation brought down apartheid on South Africa, from pariah to hero. She spoke she sung, hope more of her records are on the list.

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Tue Jan 11 2022
2

This was boring to the point of being irritating. Sounds very much of it’s time. The track with the guy laughing all the way through was horrible. This is a generous 2*!

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Fri Jul 23 2021
1

I listen to a few tracks and it’s interesting music but I don’t know that I will revisit this.

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Tue Jun 29 2021
5

Primeira vez escutando musica tão diferente de meu gosto musical, de primeira já curti, me lmbrou de minha infancia assistindo rei leão e kiriku. Ai ela é muito calminha, amei essa mulher! Ela ta morta :o wtf. triste. Amei a musica, salvei o album, escutarei mais vezes com certeza!

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Sat Jul 23 2022
5

I very much enjoyed this album. Some moments I felt like I may be in church and others at a party. I appreciate the exposure to an artist that I would otherwise likely never have listened to.

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Sat Jul 23 2022
5

I first learned about Miriam Makeba some years ago when I was researching South African music for a school project, and I immediately became a fan. "Pata Pata" has been in my playlists ever since. This was a wonderful album and I loved listening to this amazing voice so much. What an interesting collection of songs! I love when this project brings us to artists I haven't known so well, but really appreciate, such as this. Love Love Love.

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Tue Aug 30 2022
5

Where was Miriam Makeba all my life? What a delightful album - funny, haunting, bold, beautiful - I’m totally in love. So far the best new discovery for me from this list.

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Fri Jan 06 2023
5

I do tend to get a lot of enjoyment out of music in other languages. I think that when I can’t understand what the lyrics are saying, I can enjoy the voice more as an instrument rather than a means of conveying a message. I quick google tells me that Miriam Makeba sang in Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho. I’m not sure which of those the songs on this album (or any combination of them), but I’m excited to listen! Songs I already knew: none Favourites: Mbube, The Naughty Little Flea, One More Dance This was a very enjoyable album. There are a few songs sang in English as well as African dialects, and the variation is very enjoyable. Miriam’s soft voice is a pleasure throughout, whether I can understand the lyrics or not. The styling of the music sometimes sounds somewhat similar to samba which I wasn’t expecting. Mbube (a version of The Lion Sleeps Tonight) was fantastic and even more enjoyable than the Tight Fit version which I do also like. Overall, a very enjoyable album which I’d recommend to anybody with an interest in music from around the world.

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Tue Mar 02 2021
2

african outdated but not ugly

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Tue Apr 05 2022
2

so where the fuck did the naughty little flea go? This is another album on the Nandos playlist.

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Thu Jun 27 2024
2

Great voice, enjoyed this album until “The naughty little flea” and “One more dance” which were utterly terrible.

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Tue Sep 27 2022
1

Beautiful voice but otherwise, not my thing. Felt like I was listening to a 1940s movie musical. Again, talented and voice is great. Just not for me. 1 - 2 range

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Mon Apr 12 2021
5

Amazing voice and awesome afro-American album. Variety is great and the click songs are unique. I don’t even mind not understanding half of the album that isn’t English.

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Wed Mar 03 2021
5

Magnifique album, très heureux d'avoir découvert cette artiste.

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Wed Apr 14 2021
5

Great african vibe, super fresh!

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Wed Apr 14 2021
5

WOWOWOW!!! i read up about her and i love her lmaooo her voice is amazing and lover her stuff and this album was pretty good! i wanna show my future kids her songs :)

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Tue Apr 20 2021
5

This is absolutely beautiful.

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Sun May 16 2021
5

really nice voice, and really nice music with a twinge of cynicism in places most joyous

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Mon Sep 27 2021
5

Very positive album. Smile all the songs!

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Tue Sep 28 2021
5

Loved it. Worthy of a Jain song dedicated to her.

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Wed Jan 19 2022
5

Miriam Makeba is the self-titled debut album by Miriam Makeba (aka Mama Africa) released in 1960. She brought African music to a Western audience, and popularized the world music and Afropop genres. Miriam has nice and warm voice! The most interesting songs for me: Suliram, The Click Song, Holilili, The Naughty Little Flea, One More Dance.

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Mon Jan 24 2022
5

Wow, I was blown away by her voice! I can’t believe I’ve never heard of Miriam Makeba before. Really emotes in her singing.

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Wed Mar 02 2022
5

that was a super cool album 10/10 I don’t know how she’s able to sing The Click Song but that was impressive af

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Tue Apr 12 2022
5

First time listening to this one. Love her voice and the influence was huge.

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Mon Apr 25 2022
5

Brilliant, and exemplifies why I was keen to do this: I would probably never have listened to this album otherwise. The click song and a couple of the covers were the only ones I recognised on first listen, but I loved pretty much every track. Wonderful

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Sat Apr 30 2022
5

Wow! Wow! Wow! Paul Simon can stay home, we got Miriam now

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Mon Jun 06 2022
5

i hope shes a 4! No this is probably a 5 star album.

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Tue Jun 28 2022
5

These are fantastic songs. I liked e.g. the guitar in Saduva.

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Sat Jul 16 2022
5

Classic slice of time, incredible voice and unique narrative perspective. A la Ella Fitzgerald. Naughty Little Flea top 10.

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Sat Jul 23 2022
5

Wonderful! A terrific voice and variety of styles. Very very enjoyable. More please!

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Fri Aug 26 2022
5

Will definitely be coming back to this album

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Wed Aug 31 2022
5

Takes me back to the 60s, South West Africa, parties, dancing. I LOVE Miriam Makeba

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Sat Oct 01 2022
5

Would never have a reason to come across this if not for the list. Loved it.

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Tue Oct 04 2022
5

What a voice! This album is such a treat to listen to. Beautiful melodies, great musicianship, and perfect singing. I’ll listen to this again for sure and more of Miriam Makeba’s albums.

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Tue Oct 25 2022
5

canzoni molto belle, voce perfetta, canzoni diverse e che trasmetotno emozioni bello

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Tue Nov 08 2022
5

VERY good I really loved this

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Mon Nov 21 2022
5

A beautiful album to say the least. The vocals are effortlessly gorgeous with equally amazing music to accompany them. Favourite songs: The Retreat Song, Lakutshn Ilanga, and House of the Rising Sun. I love her voice — it is so smooth and claming and sets the mood of the album perfectly.

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Fri Dec 09 2022
5

a perfect summer album personal favourites: [Where Does It Lead?] [Olilili] [House of the Rising Sun] [Lakutshn, Ilanga]

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Mon Dec 19 2022
5

A beautiful voice and a huge force for change in South Africa at the height of apartheid.

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Mon Jan 02 2023
5

Sensational. Xhosa is such a beautiful language.

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Wed Feb 08 2023
5

Probably wouldn't end up in my collection but I can see why it's part of this collection. Makeba has a powerful and beautiful voice that reminds me of Nina Simone. A wonderful world music album.

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Wed Feb 22 2023
5

This is not an album I would have come across any other way, but I'm SO GLAD I did. Her voice is so beautiful and is incredibly comforting and soothing. It didn't matter if she was singing in English or other languages, upbeat or more serious - each song captured me in a way I was not expecting. I don't feel this way about many albums, but I didn't want it to end!

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Sat Mar 04 2023
5

This was probably the most interesting thing i got so far, and i absolutely loved it

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Sat Mar 04 2023
5

Absolutely magical album. My first 5/5

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Mon Mar 06 2023
5

Rating benefitted from it being a Friday album, but I kept coming back and listening throughout the weekend. Amazing covers and humorous songs mixed with beautiful music.

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Fri Mar 31 2023
5

I thought this might have been a bit too much to start with, but it's just right. Still sounds fresh and exciting even though it's over 60 years old.

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Mon Apr 17 2023
5

A wonderful vocal texture. Its basically a world jazz vocal album, and her voice just sounds great. Where Does It Lead kills. House of The Rising Sun is a great cover. The laughing on One More Dance is charming, and her voice soars. What a fabulous album.

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Mon May 01 2023
5

This is the kind of thing I had hoped this entire list would be like! This was great. Wish I spoke the language but the wiki was helpful context.

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Wed May 24 2023
5

Miriam Makeba was incredibly influential in the spheres of music and social activism. Her music walks the line between South African and Western forms without truly fitting into either. She is happy to sing in Xhosa or Zulu with western backing band creating a more overtly African music than later western musicians who were influenced by African music would go on to do. This is appealing because here, the control is being given to the African musician instead of the western musician. Makeba's voice is smooth, controlled, and expressive. This was truly a great album to be exposed to.

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Fri Jun 02 2023
5

Wonderful voice, wholesome vibes album, and beautiful languages. I don’t think I ever would’ve listened to this if not for this gen, and I’m so glad I got the chance to.

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Fri Jul 14 2023
5

I was anticipating this one. This project has revealed a fondness for African music I was not aware that I carried, and this project only solidified my love for Paul Simon. So imagine my delight upon finding an African musician who has toured with Simon! I was immediately captivated. Makeba's voice is delightful, powerful, and passionate. There's a quiet intimacy, but unlike many other albums with sparse use of instruments, this doesn't feel cold, but warm. So very warm. There's many other albums that feel more impressive on a technical scale, larger in scope, but Makeba's voice quite literally carries you through fourteen lovely little songs. It helps that this album isn't a beefy one. Many of these songs are short and sweet, breezing from one to the next onto its conclusion. When I opened this album, I intended to save it for later, only for me to realise that my plan had failed seven songs in.

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Mon Jul 17 2023
5

Lovely album and if nothing else took me down a fascinating rabbit hole on "Mbube/The Lion Sleeps Tonight"

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Fri Jul 21 2023
5

The best kind of throw back.

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Mon Jul 24 2023
5

I admit I'm probably rushing to a 5 because something different, but I really enjoyed this start to finish. Sounds great all round.

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Mon Aug 07 2023
5

so far im loving it the vocals of makeba wow

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Wed Aug 23 2023
5

Mais uma opção extremamente interessante para escutar música africana. Vocal envolvente e instrumental magnético.

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Wed Oct 11 2023
5

Beautiful. Had me hooked from the start.

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Fri Oct 20 2023
5

What an incredible album! I really wish the Europeans weren't such dickheads to Africa so that their music and culture could flourish a lot more, it's so unique and beautiful. The rhythms are so fun it feels like it was made to be danced to. And to me the harmonies sound very spiritual, not sure if they're meant to be or if that's just how I perceive them based on my cultural experiences but either way they're fire.

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Fri Oct 20 2023
5

Absolutely stunning. She has such power and control and her emotive range is so freaking wide. Didn't take notes on individual tracks but just really enjoyed relaxing into her voice.

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Fri Oct 20 2023
5

Kinda loved it. Would listen to this album more

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Thu Oct 26 2023
5

Tykkäsin. Ei välttämättä lenkille, mutta muuten ehdottomasti kuuntelulistalle.

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Wed Nov 29 2023
5

Listening to this while commuting in a dense and freezing Seattle fog was surreal. And anything that establishes Timon and Pumba as frauds halfway through the record gets an automatic five stars from me.

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Sun Dec 03 2023
5

Absolutely a gem. What a cool person and her music is lovely!

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Thu Dec 07 2023
5

Doesn't have my favorite song of hers, Pata-Pata, but I really like this kind of music.

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Fri Dec 08 2023
5

5/5. I'm usually disconnected from albums that are not in English, just due to nature of understanding, but I don't need to know what Makeba is saying to feel that emotion and power from her vocals. Instrumentation is simple, to let her shine. The songs in English are dark and brooding mostly, despite the lyrical content. The uplifting non-English songs are beautiful and calming, I feel welcome in her voice, I don't know how to describe it.

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Wed Dec 20 2023
5

Wow. Albums like this are what make me glad to be participating in this list. This felt like a real discovery for me. I loved this album. It’s so full of heart and is just beautiful. Also, One More Dance is hilarious.

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Sun Dec 24 2023
5

This is a really cool album, and many of the songs are in African dialects, rather than English. "The Click Song" is really fun Also enjoyed Mbube, which is the original "Lion Sleeps Tonight," and a fantastic cover of "House of the Rising Sun."

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Fri Jan 19 2024
5

New favorite that led me down an entire genre I knew nothing about. It was fun, eye opening, and wow she can sing. No skips, and a few repeats.

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Wed Jan 24 2024
5

This is absolutely exceptional. My first five star that I had never heard beforehand. What an amazing voice. Jesus.

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Wed Jan 31 2024
5

Enjoyed listening to the entire album during my office hour!

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Tue Feb 06 2024
5

I don't know what she's singing, but Miriam Makeba's eponymous album is sad, happy, kind and patient. I don't toss the word beautiful around too much, but there is no better way to describe the tune of this songbird. 5/5.

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Wed Feb 14 2024
5

BANGER BANGER BANGER BANGER BANGER

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Fri Feb 16 2024
5

Beautiful vocals, a unique and effective variety of song styles, and an amazing artist history to go with it. If you are unfamiliar with Miriam Makeba do yourself a favor and read up on her career and life in general.

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Fri Feb 23 2024
5

Love this album! Had heard a couple of her songs before, but not a whole album. The flow is perfect!

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Thu Feb 29 2024
5

This is an excellent album by an artist I have never heard of before. THIS is what this list is for, not endless promotion of mediocre british musicians. 5/5

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Thu Feb 29 2024
5

This is one that grows on you. Multiple listens, surely, unlock new subtleties, reveal nuances.

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Sat Mar 02 2024
5

Absolutely love this. It's just gorgeous in places, fun in others. Just makes me smile and feel warm. I know her a little from her Collab album with Harry Belafonte, which is also well worth checking out. An interesting life for sure, always an activist, married Stokely Carmichael of the black panthers, was also briefly married to Hugh Masakela another great South African musician. Tbh I want to hear 1001 albums from the 50s and 60s as it seems to force the editor into more interesting choices.

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Sat Mar 02 2024
5

This is what heaven sounds like.

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Fri Mar 08 2024
5

Not my cup of tea but that bass was great

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Fri Mar 15 2024
5

Awesome 60's singer! Loved the origin of Lion sings tonight, beautiful sound, top notch.

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