Sunday, 8 May 2011
Jive Smodern Jive! - classic instrumental jive from the '60s and '70s
JIVE SMODERN JIVE!
30 instrumental grooves from the Mavuthela Music Company
compiled from 78 and 45 rpm records from the 1960s and 1970s
The ball started rolling with Mavuthela – The Sound of the Sixties, shared at Matsuli in September 2009. This was followed up with a second installment, Classic South African Jive, shared here at ElectricJive in May 2010. We are only too happy to share whatever music we can; music that we feel deserves to be heard again… music that doesn’t deserve to be locked up in a dusty archive… music that stirs your emotions… the list goes on. That is precisely why we share what we share, and it is also why the third compilation focusing on the music of the Mavuthela Music Company is making its way to EJ readers today. Jive Smodern Jive! – a 30-track tribute to Mavuthela’s talented instrumental team.
Whereas the previous two compilations featured a healthy mix of vocal and instrumental jive, the attention has been put solely on the latter this time round. One can never underestimate the talents of the individuals who were contracted to Gallo’s Mavuthela stable, but the Mahotella Queens, Izintombi Zomoya, Mahlathini, Abafana Baseqhudeni and all the other Mavuthela vocal stars certainly owe a great deal to the men in the background. The guitar virtuosos and sax stars were responsible for a large part of their success.
'The guys in the background'... three members of the Makhona Tsohle Band, Mavuthela's house band, 1967. L to r: Marks Mankwane (lead guitar), Lucky Monama (drums), Joseph Makwela (bass)
Marks Mankwane, the guitar wizard affectionately called “umthakathi” around the Gallo studios, features on almost every track. His astonishing skills are displayed to perfection in Bela Bela No. 2, with an all-too-brief (though perfect) guitar solo. Joseph Makwela’s thundering bass forms a solid and elastic foundation for many songs here including Pheladi and Matamato Jive Matamato, two tracks in which he unashamedly takes the spotlight. Mankwane’s lead and Makwela’s bass sit perfectly alongside Vivian Ngubane’s bouncing rhythm guitar (check out Jive Smodern Jive B 5 and Ndiza Mshini for great examples) and Lucky Monama’s precision drumming, gelling together the sound of the band. In addition to these guys who so vividly formed the core of the Makhona Tsohle Band, there is the clear presence of bassist James Mukwevho on various tracks in the ‘mabone’ series, guitarists Christian Nombewu and Marubini Jagome, accordionist Delford Ngcemu, violinist Noise Khanyile (on Two Mabone and Five Mabone) and sax jive stars West Nkosi, Christopher Songxaka, Reggie Msomi, Elias Lerole (Lerole under the group name Amaphikankani) and Shadrack Piliso (a harmony expert and assistant producer whose ear for detail proved a vital part of the backbone of Mavuthela). Last but by no means least, groaner extraordinaire Simon Mahlathini Nkabinde is a special guest vocalist on two tracks: Baya Biza Ekhaya and Sithunyiwe Thokozile. The latter was a tune originally recorded by himself and the Mahotella Queens in 1966. The version included in this compilation, recorded a year later, was a 'follow-up' to the original.
A moderate history of mbaqanga can be revealed from listening to these tracks. From the early, rough jive as heard in Unana No. 2, through to the tight-knitted sound of Ndiza Mshini, Marabi Sideways and the spotlight number of this collection, Jive Smodern Jive B 5. The growing influence of the USA is clearly heard in the soul-driven numbers The Rock, Hard Way Up and Evil Ways, while the bump jive fad makes its presence felt in Crazy Bump and Tsikiza Jive. Also not to be missed is the 'mabone' craze of '73 to '74 - represented here are Two, Four, Five and Six Mabone, all of them containing the hard driving beat that personified that craze.
All thirty tracks, digitised from several 78 and 45 rpm recordings, were originally released on the “Motella”, “Gumba Gumba”, “New Sound”, “Gallo-USA”, “Smanje Manje”, “C.T.C. Star Record”, “F.G.B.” and “Soul Jazz Pop” record labels between 1965 and 1975. A huge thank-you must go to fellow ElectricJivers Chris Albertyn, who contributed three tracks including Joseph Makwela's fantastic Matamato Jive Matamato, and Siemon Allen, who contributed six tunes including West Nkosi's classic Marabi Bell.
Load this compilation into iTunes or add it onto your iPod and get ready to listen to the real deal. In the words of the formidable Mavuthela boss Rupert Bopape in his intro to Two Mabone, this music definitely is “something wonderful”. This is Jive Smodern Jive! - enjoy!
- Nick Lotay, May 2011
1. TWO MABONE – WEST NKOSI NABASHOKOBEZI (1973)
2. MAKOMKOM – MARKS MANKWANE AND HIS SHALUZA BOYS (1974)**
3. BAYA BIZA EKHAYA – MAKGONA TSOHLE BAND (1972)
4. UNANA NO. 2 – GUITAR RHYTHM SESSION (1965)
5. MATAMATO JIVE MATAMATO – JOSEPH MAKWELA AND HIS COMRADES (1967)**
6. JIVE SMODERN JIVE B 5 – MAKGOLOKGOLO (1965)
7. KHULA NGWANE – MARKS MANKWANE AND HIS ALTO SAX (1967)
8. MARABI SIDEWAYS – CHRIS SONGXAKA AND HIS HOME TOWN UNIT (1967)
9. PHELADI – MARKS MANKWANE AND HIS SHALUZA BOYS (1969)
10. SITHUNYIWE THOKOZILE – MAKGOLOKGOLO (1967)
11. SEA WATER “800” – DELFORD NGCEM' & HIS ACCORDION (1973)*
12. FOUR MABONE – WEST NKOSI (1973)
13. THE ROCK – WEST NKOSI (1967)*
14. HARD WAY UP – THE STOKKERS (1973)
15. CRAZY BUMP – AMAPHIKANKANI (1975)
16. EVIL WAYS – THE BOOGALOOS (1972)
17. MARABI BELL – WEST NKOSI NABASHOKOBEZI (1973)*
18. FIVE MABONE – NOISE KHANYILE & VIOLIN (1973)
19. JUNE JULY SKA NO. 2 – WEST NKOSI (1966)*
20. MONO SARAH NO. 2 – REGGIE MSOMI AND HIS HOLLYWOOD JAZZ BAND (1967)
21. MULENDZE PHANDA – S. PILISO & HIS SAX (1967)*
22. BELA BELA NO. 2 – MARKS MANKWANE AND HIS ALTO SAX (1967)*
23. ITSHE LIWELA ESIZIBENI – WEST NKOSI & HIS ALTO SAX (1967)
24. MARKS SPECIAL NO. 7 – MARKS MANKWANE AND HIS SHALUZA BOYS (1971)
25. SIX MABONE – THE BIG BAG BOYS (1973)
26. UNKNOWN – AMAPHIKANKANI (1975)
27. TSIKIZA JIVE – S. PILISO’S SUPER SEVEN (1975)
28. TLAPA LE WELA BODIBENG – JOSEPH MAKWELA AND HIS COMRADES (1967)**
29. TWO GUN MAN – WEST NKOSI & HIS ALTO SAX (1967)
30. NDIZA MSHINI – WEST NKOSI & HIS ALTO SAX (1967)
*courtesy of Siemon Allen
**courtesy of Chris Albertyn
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