Monday, 1 November 2010

Spirits Rejoice do disco funky with City Soul

Its true, Duke Makasi, Robbie Janssen and Mervin Afrika of Spirits Rejoice cut a disco album with Julian Laxton and some others in the same year (1977) they produced their cult-status Afro-Jazz Fusion "African Spaces". A pretty funky effort at what they call "disco-jazz" it is too!

Producer Patrick  Van Blerk had this "Soul of the City" thing going in the mid seventies, bringing together trop-drawer black and white South African recording artists to produce rather interesting hybrid sounds. So far EJ has knowledge of two albums and one additional song on a compilation - all of which we share with you today.

 In his 1975 "Soul of the City" offering, the African jazz oriented "Diagonal Street Blues" boasts Kippie Moeketsi (alto sax), Mike Makhalemele (tenor sax); Themba Mehlomakulu (trumpet) Trevor Rabin (guitar); Kevin Kruger (drums) Malcolm Watson (guitar).

"THE SOUL OF THE CITY were born out of JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, and reflect the music and feelings of "Egoli" - the City of Gold. ... Get down and feel the soul of the city; the warmth, energy, love, violence, rhythm, gold, soul, hate and passion; THE SOUL OF THE CITY". (from the 1975 back cover).

In the 1977 "disco-jazz" offering, "Dazz", we have two extended tracks totalling just over twenty nine minutes of 70s looping dance-floor disco that just begs and deserves to be played for an "up-for-it" audience again. The line-up includes three core members from Spirits Rejoice along with Julian Laxton (guitar); Neil Cloud (drums); John  Galanakis (keyboards); Rene Veldsman (vocals); Frankie  Gibb (vocals). The album notes give a "very special credit: To the wonderful Spirits Rejoice for joining the Jo'Burg Records Family. Welcome!".

It was perhaps a sign of the times that artists spent a lot of time in the studios in the mid seventies - thrown together in various combinations  - and less on the road playing concerts as specific bands with a set membership. In the same year (1977) Duke Makasi and Kippie Moeketsi teamed up with Pat Matshikiza, and two other Spirits Rejoice members, Sipho Gumede and Gilbert Matthews to record "Blue Stompin" with Hal Singer on Rashid Vally's As-Shams label.

A bonus track from Soul of the City project is "Hustle Bump" off a "Super Jazz" (Vol 2) collection.

Enjoy the upbeat diversity produced by a bunch of creative South Africans pushing all sorts of boundaries in mid-seventies Johannesburg! If anyone has other recordings of the "Soul of the City" adventure, please do let us know.
Dazz: Rapidshare here; Mediafire here
City Soul: Rapidshare here; Mediafire here
Hustle Bump! Rapidshare here; Mediafire here


  1. hi
    there is another Soul of the City recording: "My Name is Snowball", in two parts, on a Jo'Burg 45.


  2. The cover a rip off of betty Davis' Nasty Girl album !

  3. But it has gone both ways,look at Playtime reggae to see the them rip off the Ice Cream and Suckers cover.

  4. Nice one ej! Greetings from Nairobi!

  5. hi there,

    thanks for yet more great posts. wondering if you could clear up some confusion for me? the mp3 for 'diagonal street blues' has artwork from super jazz vol 1 which seems to list winston mankunku on it. but your personnel listing doesn't mention him (and i can't read the print on the album cover jpegs)


  6. SuperJazz is a compilation of various artists, one of whom is Winston Mankunku Ngozi. City Soul are another of the artists featured.

  7. Huge thanks for City Soul and Diagonal Street Blues, was given a tape of it 1981 when i worked and lived with a South African family in the UK. Now in Australia and i have a better copy made me a happy man23

  8. I'd be interested to hear the Blue Stompin cover!..

  9. Its complicated Polmarfi - within the EJ team there is an informal thing to avoid sharing stuff from the As-Shams label, especially when some of them are likely to be re-issued


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