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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Hours of Jubilant Music!
I am reviewing the album based on listening to it, rather than on the clips, imagine that. While not intending to be a Greatest Hits album, the purpose was to showcase the sharing of their style of music with the rest of the world through collaboration with a variety of artists, to encourage unity through music. I was only familiar with their collaborations on Graceland,...
Published on January 9, 2012 by Vortexman

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best for Ladysmith
Full disclosure - I purchased "Ladysmith Black Mambazo & Friends" on an Amazon special at a deeply discounted price. I would not have purchased it otherwise.

This is nearly two hours of music, but it's almost all with other musicians and Ladysmith Black Mambazo is not the featured act in most songs. In a couple of songs they're reduced to background vocals and...
Published on March 12, 2012 by Sandal


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Hours of Jubilant Music!, January 9, 2012
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I am reviewing the album based on listening to it, rather than on the clips, imagine that. While not intending to be a Greatest Hits album, the purpose was to showcase the sharing of their style of music with the rest of the world through collaboration with a variety of artists, to encourage unity through music. I was only familiar with their collaborations on Graceland, that classic Paul Simon album, and those tracks are included here in original form. They are near-perfection, and are in fact among the best tracks on this compilation. However, there is plenty more to be excited about here, such as other versions of those Graceland songs by Melissa Etheridge and Sarah McLachlan. More than just acting as backup singers, Ladysmith Black Mambazo infused their unique African harmonies into the songs, transforming them. On the wonderful Natalie Merchant and Sarah McLachlan tracks, the ladies sing along with them, as if they are part of the group. Ladysmith are in fact in the forefront on the majority of the tracks, and only seem like backup singers on a handful of the songs out of the generous 30 tracks. But, even then, what great backup singers they are! Lou Rawls' 'Chain Gang' is another highlight. There are also plenty of African artists included on wonderful tracks. I rated the songs on itunes as I listened, and all garnered 4 or 5 stars. While it's $3.99 it's a no-brainer for anyone who enjoys World Music to download this.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A large collection of collaborations - from Dolly Parton to Zap Mama with - of course - Paul Simon, January 10, 2012
This review is from: Ladysmith Black Mambazo & Friends (Audio CD)
2012 marks the 50th anniversary for this South African a cappella vocal group founded - and still led - by Joseph Shabalala. And to mark the anniversary they've released this special-priced 2-CD album of performances over the last decade or so where they supported both well known singers and some that were new to me, and probably you too.

Until Paul Simon used LBM to back him on his landmark album "Graceland", the group was virtually unknown in the US. But overnight they became a household name, selling out concerts and being invited to work on recording projects with a wide range of singers. Take the opening track for instance. Her is Country diva Dolly Parton wailing the Bob Dylan classic "Knocking on Heaven's Door" with the nine members of LBM providing the perfect bass line. It works! Among the generous 32 tracks on this 132-minute album we hear the group supporting Sarah McLachlan, Taj Mahal, Phoebe Snow and others. There are two of the Simon collaborations here and one - "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" gets a second outing, this time with Melissa Etheridge takes over the lead vocals. The late Lou Rawls does the Same Cooke classic "Chain Gang" as though LBM always backed him. And "River of Dreams " (with it's chorus "In The Middle of the Night") with Bill Chapin on lead is another stand out. Yep, there is hip-hop here too and gospel and for a really odd pairing, how about LBM out front on vocals backed by new age harpist Andreas Vollenweider? I could go on, but check out some sample tracks and you'll see what I mean.

This is TRULY world music! I love this album and so will others with a taste to discover both the familiar and some new harmonies.

I hope you found this review helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best for Ladysmith, March 12, 2012
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Full disclosure - I purchased "Ladysmith Black Mambazo & Friends" on an Amazon special at a deeply discounted price. I would not have purchased it otherwise.

This is nearly two hours of music, but it's almost all with other musicians and Ladysmith Black Mambazo is not the featured act in most songs. In a couple of songs they're reduced to background vocals and if you weren't told you'd never know it was LBM. It's cobbled together from so many disparate sources it just doesn't hang together as a collection. If you're new to Ladysmith Black Mambazo there are other CDs I would recommend you start with. "Shaka Zulu" is one of my favorites, as is "Journey of Dreams" and any of the previous 'best of' collections. And of course they're a big presence on the incomparable "Graceland." I don't think there's much that can ever top that album but I must say the Melissa Etheridge version of "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" on this is terrific, but it's odd to me they've included the Paul Simon version as well.

The only thing that saves this is that there's so much music on it if you like LBM, and also like gospel and soul, you can make your own mix and get 40-45 minutes of good music out of it. For the price I paid I'm happy with the purchase because that's exactly what I did.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A handful of gems amid the ho-hum rest, January 9, 2012
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This is a good album, and about a third of it is actually pretty great. But much of the rest fails to make a compelling case.

In the weaker parts of this compilation album, Ladysmith Black Mambazo is reduced to the role of back-up singing on basically western-style pop music. That's all well and fine, and even most of these tracks are light, fun, and enjoyable for what they are. They are still a bit of a disappointment, however, because this group has a lot more to offer.

The strength of Ladysmith Black Mambazo is performing music native to their culture, or like on Paul Simon's "Graceland" album, brilliant original music designed to exploit the special talents and techniques they bring to the table. Too much of the time here, they are basically providing slightly Africanized doo-wap-type background vocals. I was hoping for something more unique to Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

However, I found about nine tracks pretty outstanding. These were the kind of music I would have liked to hear more of: "Hello My Baby", "Shosholoza", "Mbude", "Rain Rain Beautiful Rain", "Sohlabele Hasana", "Angimboni Ofana Naye", "Dlondobala Njalo", and "Mamizolo". Plus "One Blood", which features a legendary performer -- Mbongeni Ngema, co-author and co-star of one of the greatest Apartheid-era pieces of black theater in South Africa, "Woza Albert".

This collection features two tracks with Paul Simon ("Homeless" and "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes") that are taken directly from the Graceland album. There are other, later recordings of these same tracks from Graceland with Sarah McLachlan and Melissa Etheridge. Both are good recordings.

Much of the rest has Ladysmith Black Mambazo in a supporting role backing up other artists on a rather odd collection of tracks from "Knocking on Heaven's Door" with Dolly Parton, to the Billy Joel tune "River of Dreams" with Bill Champlin, to "Chain Gang" with Lou Rawls. There are a number of songs that feature lead singers who use classical or Broadway styles. In general, these tracks are fine but are hard to get really excited about.

Also, this may be my issue only, but I'm having trouble adding these songs to my library in Windows Media Player. Only two songs were added to the library. I've never experienced this issue with any other downloads from Amazon. I was still able to copy over to my MP3 player, which recognized the tracks with no problem.

Recommended at the bargain "Daily Deal" price on January 9, 2012. May be worth full price for many people, but I'm probably not in that group.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a gift!, January 16, 2012
By 
Rushmore (CHICAGO, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Ladysmith Black Mambazo & Friends (Audio CD)
I imagine there are a few people out there like myself who were intrigued by Paul Simon's collaboration with Ladysmith Black Mombazo 25 years ago on Graceland and after that were only vaguely aware of this fine group. It turns out they have been making music by themselves and in collaboration with some of the world's finest musicians for 45 years.

I absolutely love this CD set, and I love that it came out in January when a large part of the country is in desperate need of sunshine and brightness. This music makes me smile and I find it very spiritual, even the pop tunes. I know some of the other reviewers feel it is a travesty that LBM is singing such songs. It doesn't bother me at all. These songs all have a folk, R&B or gospel element. Anyway they can sing whatever they want, and they bring a fresh perspective to any song they take on.

My favorite song and the one that instantly gave me chills is Oh Happy Day with Betty Griffin. It was also wonderful to hear the late Lou Rawls on Chain Gang. I also got introduced to Jannie Moolman, the very fine South African tenor, on Paradise Road - I wish more of his music was readily available, his voice is incredible.

I think it is so nice that we get to hear other versions of their Graceland songs. So, in addition to Homeless and Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes with Paul Simon, we get Homeless with Sarah McLachlan and Diamonds with Melissa Etheridge and Joe McBride. It is really almost too much great music. This is a very special winter treat and one that I will be playing throughout the year. Highly recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Music, January 9, 2012
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Great music by great artists like Hugh Masakela joining Ladysmith Black Mambazo,Dolly Parton,Josh Grobin and Lou Rawls and Paul Simon all together add up to a fine listening and enriching experience . With songs like Amazing Grace,Oh Happy Day,which i have loved since the Edwin Hawkins singers brought it forth years ago,and the amazing price of today $3.99 you the listener are surely getting your money's worth. Get this Classic NOW!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good mix, upbeat, April 19, 2014
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Like the mix of performance. Should be good to workout to. Was recommended by a friend. Like having it accessible via Amazon devices.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love their music, March 19, 2014
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This review is from: Ladysmith Black Mambazo & Friends (Audio CD)
I have been a fan since they were on a Paul Simon album. I have almost all theeir CD's. I find their music very relaxing and calming.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Need more ... and friends, January 22, 2014
By 
S. Cole "big mike" (mecosta, mich/chicago) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Too much Ladysmith and not enough 'and friends'. Only a few really good songs from all the songs on two CDs.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My all time favorite, December 22, 2013
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This review is from: Ladysmith Black Mambazo & Friends (Audio CD)
After I visited South Africa, Zimbabwe + Botswana, I was so intrigued by the African music that I hear on the airplane both going and coming - I had to buy the double CD - money well spent. Highly recommendable for any music lover.
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Ladysmith Black Mambazo & Friends
Ladysmith Black Mambazo & Friends by Ladysmith Black Mambazo (Audio CD - 2012)
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