Other than Fela and arguably King Sunny Ade, few afro-pop lights burned brighter than the Congo's Franco Luambo. A guitar prodigy and auto-didact who taught himself to play at age 7, Luambo amassed a sprawling discography of over 2,000 songs before dying in Belgium in 1989. Thankfully, the recently released Francophonic compilation does the unenviable task of collecting his work and assembling it for world music dilettantes to download and front like they're polymaths (scores major points at Williamsburg/Silverlake/18th Century Prussian PBR parties).
The widely acknowledged master of African Rumba (also known as Soukous, Vampire Weekend stans,) Franco's music boasts equal appeal for those well-versed in the genre, with the dean of music crits, Robert Christgau, recently naming it his favorite album of 2008. Were I to re-calibrate my own Best Reissues list, it would surely rank near the top. As far as greatest hits albums from African musicians who share the same sobriquet as facist Spanish dictators go, it doesn't get much better than this.
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