This fantastic compilation of South African kwela tracks (pressed in Argentina on the RCA Vik label) was probably issued around 1958. Half the album’s tracks feature the Alexandra Dead End Kids who also performed with American clarinetist Tony Scott when he toured South Africa in August 1957. On that occasion the Dead End Kids included Shakes Molepo, Benjamin Masindi, Joseph Mahlatsi and Sophonia Namini. View the Tony Scott in South Africa LP at flatinternational.
The Kwela album also includes some really early flute work by a young Barney Rachabane, a giant of South African jazz. Within a few years of these recordings, Rachabane would be performing with Chris McGregor’s Castle Lager Big Band in 1963 and the Early Mabuza Quartet at the 1964 Castle Lager Jazz Festival. View his album Special Ma-Ma (1975) posted by Dabulamanzi and Sweet Matara (1976) posted by Fortherecord. A partial discography for Barney Rachabane can be viewed at flatinternational.
It is difficult to date the recordings on the Kwela LP, but I am guessing that they were made around the same period as the Tony Scott recordings in 1957. I have tried to translate the group names from the Spanish on the labels, however if you know them to be different please let us know. Also please feel free to send us a translation of the Spanish liner notes.
VIK, RCA Victor, Argentina
1. LESLIE NKOSI AND THE ALEXANDRA DEAD END KIDS - Baleka
2. CALVIN MOHALE AND THE SHARP SHOOT BOYS - Magic Blues
3. THE ALEXANDRA DEAD END KIDS – Mavava
4. LESLIE NKOSI - Baza-Baza
5. THE ALEXANDRA DEAD END KIDS - Well! A Kwela
6. BARNEY RACHABANE AND THE ALEXANDRA JUNIOR STARS - Little Man Special
7. CALVIN MOHALE AND THE SHARP SHOOT BOYS - Calvin Special
8. LESLIE NKOSI AND THE ALEXANDRA DEAD END KIDS - Leslie's Rock
9. THE ALEXANDRA DEAD END KIDS - Tom Cat
10. THE ALEXANDRA DEAD END KIDS - Five O'clock Kwela
11. BUSH FLUTE BOYS - Sugar Special
12. BARNEY RACHABANE AND THE ALEXANDRA JUNIOR STARS - Piccannini