Ladysmith Black Mambazo – Long Walk To Freedom (2006)
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 53:58 minutes | Full Artwork | 4,29 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Artwork | 1,06 GB
For more than 30 years, South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo has infused its township sound of Isicathamiya with rich gospel harmonies. LBM’s unique sound was brought to American audiences thanks to Paul Simon’s landmark Graceland, and the group has toured and recorded tirelessly since. Long Walk To Freedom is a new retrospective in which the group rerecords new versions of songs from throughout its career with help from such guests as Emmylou Harris, Sarah McLachlan, Taj Mahal, and Zap Mama as well as several popular countrymen. As with the Simon album, the North American guests’ voices fit hand-in-glove with the group’s warm harmonies. Highlights include “Nomathemba,” which was the band’s first hit in 1973, the popular “Hello My Baby,” and the Graceland tunes “Diamonds on the Soles Of Her Shoes” and “Homeless.” Though ostensibly a career retrospective, this new recording actually proves that Ladysmith Black Mambazo has never sounded better.
It was a collaboration with a famous American pop star that broke Ladysmith Black Mambazo as an international act in the mid-’80s, and on Long Walk to Freedom they enact a variation on the theme — only in this case, the project is under their control and the American guests are an eclectic assortment of rock, folk, and pop musicians, who are also joined by pioneering Afro-European chanteuses Zap Mama and a veritable chorus of South African colleagues including Lucky Dube, Hugh Masakela, Thandiswa, and others. You’re getting nervous now, and you’re right: this is one of those projects that could easily go either way, and in fact it goes both ways. Natalie Merchant brings absolutely nothing of substance or consequence to “Rain Rain Beautiful Rain,” nor does Sarah McLachlan contribute much to the group’s rather desultory remake of “Homeless.” The new version of “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” features Melissa Etheridge and Joe McBride, and is underwhelming until the end of the a cappella intro, at which point the band kicks in — only it’s not a band, it’s Ladysmith singing all the instrumental parts, and it’s electrifying. The Afro-pop summit meeting that is “Shosholoza” works nicely as well. But the album’s best tracks are those on which the group sings by itself: “Nomathemba,” the opening track, is one of the album’s best, and leader Joseph Shabalala’s solo “Thula Thula” ends the program on a very strong note. The disc adds a generous program of CD-ROM tracks including music videos for “Raise Your Spirit Higher” (from their previous album) and “Long Walk to Freedom.” Imperfect, but recommended.
02. Hello My Baby
03. Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
05. Rain Rain Beautiful Rain
06. How Long
08. Amazing Grace/Nearer My God To Thee
09. Nkosi Sikelel ‘IAfrica
10. Inkanyezi Nezazi “Star And The Wiseman”
12. Long Walk To Freedom “Halala South Africa”
13. Thula Thula [Bonus Track]