This isn’t gonna be a crash-course in African-American ethnomusicology - the liner notes to this disc do a fine job outlining the connection betwixt the folk music of Mali (and some of western Africa) and the blues in America (and there’s always the Public Library). From Mali To Memphis is, simply put, a fine cross-section of Mali’s and America’s guys ‘n’ gals telling stories with guitars and voices. Guy Davis (son of Ossie, incidentally) represents the neo-Delta/acoustic blues, with spacious finger-picked guitar and a down-home plain-spoken (almost Woody Guthrie-like) delivery with "You Don’t Know My Mind," which is similar (in approach) to Rokia Traore’s sublime "Sabali," with its mandolin- and dulcimer-like plucked notes and quiet gospel-derived vocal fervor. The hypnotic yet energized cyclical/repetition styles of John Lee Hooker and Jessie Mae Hemphill are reflected in the yearning, forlorn styles of Boubacar Traore and Habib Koite. Whom influenced who first is, happily, beside the point - there’s some wonderful music here, presented with Putumayo’s customarily colorful, enthusiastic and un-pedantic presentation. You don’t "have" to be a blues or African music scholar to appreciate these sounds, just an appreciator of direct-from/to-the-heart voice ‘n’ guitar music.