Inspired by his participation in

Inspired by his participation in

Martin Scorsese's PBS series, "The Blues," Corey Harris—no stranger to musical eclecticism—cut part of the tracks for this album in Mississippi and the rest in the West African nation of Mali. Harris is, of course, looking for the connection between the indigenous music of West Africa and the Delta blues. It is too bad he could not have gone in search of this connection around the time Robert Johnson was cutting tracks, before anyone in Mali had been exposed to American blues styles. Nevertheless, Harris knocks out some fascinating tunes with his Malian accompanists—the brilliant Ali Farka Touré (guitar and njarka), Ali Magassa (vocals and guitar) and Souleyman Kané (percussion). Harris also lays down some fine Delta and North Mississippi blues with Bobby Rush, Sam Carr, Shardé Thomas and the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band. Special tracks include "Station Blues," "Charlene," "Mr. Turner" and "Tamalah."—PVV