Monday, 22 December 2014

Love, Peace and Goodwill at the Office Party

Welcome to Electric Jive’s Durban Office Party mix-tape, featuring selections from an imagined 1970’s township 45rpm juke-box: anchored in soul, bumping into a little funk, dropping a slither of Shangaan roots, skirting with disco, and uncovering a gem - that blaxploitation classic “Shaft”, courtesy of “The Drive”, live at a seventies Soweto festival.

Every musician featured on this mix will have been part of the Johannesburg seventies township scene, shaping and being shaped by the multiple and intersecting musical influences available. Going on a count of recordings made, mbaqanga must surely qualify as the ”mainstream” at the time. However, there was also sufficient demand to justify the “black” labels making a mint from selling: soul, folk, reggae, country, psychedelia, rock, R&B, and traditional.

These jukebox selections showcase a small sample of the diversity of musical ‘sub-cultures’ that thrived within the same urban space and time.

The afro hair, clothing and sense of style evident in Ian Huntley’s photo (above) at Langa Stadium  in 1972, to me, oozes identity and confidence, but also a collective middle finger at the prescriptive and hostile apartheid system. Explorations in Black urban style and subculture were causing the system discomfort – black hippies, for example, must have really confused things for the average policeman.

Defiance does not always have to be hostile in its expression, witness the history of carnivals. Looking at the staggering number of recordings made in Johannesburg during the 70s we can see that the promotion of fun, love, peace and goodwill were also abundant.

So – in the spirit of love, peace and goodwill, herewith twenty five tracks from the juke-box.

We kick off with Black Funk, whose members have to be the same Pelican House Band that backed Dick Khoza in recording Chapita. West End Soul can only be the likes of Khaya Mahlangu and Ezra Ngcukana whose brass refrains sample Khoza’s Lilongwe, .. or, was that the other way around?

No matter what your ambivalence over the blaxploitation genre, you surely would be interested to hear The Drive giving Isaac Hayes’ “Shaft” extraordinary African horns? It is about time we upped the ‘grateful’ volume towards David Marks for capturing this and many other important live performances in South Africa. He has recently donated his entire Hidden Years Music Archive Project to the University of Stellenbosch.

From here, the mix flows through soul,soul- bump, a little disco-soul, some northern-soul-type vocals exploring alienation in love, and in the city, a ballad honoring South African jazz greats, some uptempo roots music, and a dash of 1971 mbaqanga from Joseph Makwela.  Hopefully there is something for everyone this year-end! Thanks for dropping by at Electric Jive. 

Wishing you:

Love Peace and Goodwill 

Electric Jive Durban Office Party 2014

1. Black Funk: West End Soul. (1975) H. Lebona. 45rpm Black Music (BMB44).
2. The Drive: Shaft. Circa (1975). Recorded by Dave Marks at unidentified Soweto Festival.
3. Hardways: Mameshane Ijuba (undated). Dlamini. 45rpm Score (SCO 145).
4. Mavis and the Shasha Boys: Take A Walk (1972) Mavis Maseko, Rupert Bopape. 45rpm (SJM 101).
5. The Apaches: Apache Way. (1974). R. Mbele, D. Thekwane. 45rpm soul.soul (SSB 027).
6. The Soul Explosions: Groovy Night. (1977). Uncredited. Black Music (BMB2006).
7. The Soul Masters: Steam Up. (undated). H. Ways. 45rpm Star (STB 422).
8. The Big Time Boys: Super Bump. (undated) Smitta, Hardways. 45rpm Jet (Meritone) (JET345).
9. Mavis and the Shasha Boys: Give it Stick. (1972) R. Ngcaphalala. 45rpm (SJM .101).
10. Shumi: Gideon, Early & McKay. (1974). Holler/Arr: Masingi. 45rpm (BUA8803).
11. Walter Dhlamini: Lonely City (undated). Z. Ngoma, E. Mabaso. 45rpm Fire (RE104).
12. The Hurricanes: Rich Man’s Daughter. (1975) Jacob Macheli, Donald Mbowane. 45rpm (RPM7756).
13. Sam Evans: Social Whirl (1970) Sam Evans. 45rpm Parlophone (SPD3014).
14. The Tycoons: What is a Man? (1976) The Tycoons. 45rpm Black Music (BMB 63).
15. The Butterflies: Facial Appearance. (1978) arr. Joseph Makwela. 45rpm Ziya Duma (ZD1013).
16. Jeremiah and the Shamings: Undisemba Usondele. (1976). 45rpm (Ring261).
17. The Meritones: Soul Bump. (undated). Lerole, Masingi, Ntaba. 45rpm Lita Records (LA 46).
18. Irene And The Sweet Melodians: Mfana we disco. (1978). I. Mawela, R. Bopape. 45rpm Ziya Duma (ZD1019).
19. Samuel Mabunda: Vusiwana. (1979). S. Mabunda. 45rpm Fast Move (BFM163).
20. Samuel Mabunda: Vuhlevahleva. (1979). S. Mabunda. 45rpm Fast Move (BFM163).
21. Joseph Makwela Nabafana Bezishingishane: Shibetana. (1971) Joseph Makwela. 45rpm (SJM .65).
22. Dali’s Beauty Queens: U-Mama. (undated). Naftali Dali. 45rpm Ilizwe (WZ 1108).
23. The Creations: Midnight Lover (1976). Z. Ngoma, M. Dibango. 45rpm Gallo (PD 1270).
24. Soul Explosion: Soul Five. (undated) 45rpm Atlantic City (AYB1108).
25. The Drive: Love and Peace (1974). Off the album “Slow Drive To Soweto”.

Mix-tape Mediafire download here
Individual tracks download here


  1. The office has never been the same since EJ started spiking the phonograph! Thank you, Mr. Albertyn, and all the generous souls at Electric Jive for another fantastic year!

  2. The Drive's "Shaft" track is sublime! Thanks Chris for another tight set!
    Hope you, Matt and Nick have a wonderful holiday!

  3. Thanks, Chris. Something for everyone, indeed - for me for sure. Peace!

  4. your generosity is bottomless....and is only matched by the quality and soul of the music.
    thank you


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