Friday, 30 April 2010

Dancing Through the Streets with the Johannesburg Street Band

"Almost all the gentleman who play this music will never be able to leave South Africa even if they were ready and able. These sounds are to be heard only in the municple "native" townships. The music is recorded for "native" consumption on breakable 78 rpm discs or played at the all-night-till-daybreak dances that come with gang stabbings, shootings and frantic dancing. Most of the music is centered around the same three chords repeated over and over and memorized by ear because of the remoteness of musical education possibilities. Everyone has to learn in these 'MARABI' or 'MBAQANGA' bands. Many of these gentlemen will leave this world through frustration, sclerosis, insanity or some homicidal accident as they did when I was learning to play, but the love with which they play their music is immortal. We dedicate these their sounds to their beautiful souls and to the hope that their beautiful music will finally be heard everywhere." -HUGH MASEKELA (from the original sleevenotes)

As Doug Payne notes at his authoritative Masekela discography Dancin' in the Streets is "A Hugh Masekela album in everything but name...credited to the non-existent "Johannesburg Street Band". It is an extremely obscure album of hi-lite jive, or African jazz, that's unlikely to ever appear on CD. Masekela recorded the majority of the album in Los Angeles in January 1968, a couple of months before laying down his number one hit "Grazing in the Grass," with several members of his band at the time (Bruce Langhorne, Al Abreau and Henry Franklin) and Wayne Henderson and Wilton Felder of the Jazz Crusaders. Like Africa '68, another Masekela album not credited to Masekela, recorded and released on UNI around the same time as this album, Dancin' Through The Streets catches a side of Masekela's personality - or his past - that wasn't exactly to be heard on the more commercial albums released at the time under his own name. Oddly, this record gives no musician credits whatsoever other than what Masekela hints at on his sleeve notes, leading one to suspect that the musicians performing the music are very much in Johannesburg, prisoners of Apartheid's terrifying régime."

DANCIN' THROUGH THE STREETS - Johannesburg Street Band (1968)
Tracklisting (edited 3 May)
1. Thimlela (Elijah Nkwanyana)
2. What's The Matter Zulu? (Dorothy Masuka)
3. Gwigwi (Ben Mrwebi)
4. Ntyilo-Ntyilo (A. Silinga)
5. Special Branch (Hugh Masekela)
6. Pata Pata (Miriam Makeba/Jerry Ragavoy)
7. Letter To Prospect Township (Miriam Makeba)
8. Foyi-Foyi (Hugh Masekela)
9. No Passport (aka Awe Mfana) (Hugh Masekela)
10. Isangoma (Bongi Makeba)
Produced by Hugh Masekela and Stewart Levine.
Also recorded at these sessions:
Awe Mfana (Hugh Masekela)..available on Hugh Masekela Chisa Sessions
Foyi-Foyi (Hugh Masekela)
Gertie (Hugh Masekela)



  1. This is terrific!

    I love the Africa 68 album and here you come with another obscure Masekela project. BIG thanks for this!

  2. great post - thank you !
    bra robs

  3. Thanks for this and for alerting me to Africa '68, hope to hear that one day!

  4. amnesia,
    it's available here on electricjive:

  5. Porco Rosso, Many thanks, I hadn't taken in the detail of that posting. Made my day!

  6. The track listing has 13 titles including "Foyi-Foyi" listed twice. The LP has 10 titles. Are "Awe Mfana" & "Gertie" available also?

  7. thanks for the heads-up...bit of laziness on my part...there are only 10 tracks on the LP...I'll see if I can work this out...give me a little time

  8. May i be of help?

    Seems like the track listing shows all tunes recorded at the session according to Doug Payne. (
    The actually published tracks start with no 04 - Thimlela.

  9. thanks Porco... I think you're spot on

  10. I have just discovered (among other gems) the Syndicate Lp post last year, what a bomb ! thanks

  11. wonderful album !!!!! many thanks

  12. thank you so much for this! i'm a huge Masekela fan so I love finding these early works of his! sounds great.


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