Monday 19 October 2009

Blue Notes (1962) Go Musical: Mr Paljas

Chris McGregor and Stanley Glasser team up here to bring us a 1962 musical story of dwindling fish stocks, lonely wives, and ‘bergies’ (tramps) being appointed to run the Village Management Board. The tramps start levying outrageous taxes on the villagers so they can build a ‘lighthouse in the sky’. Funny thing how the subject matter of so many musicals can always seem relevant, no matter how dated the music may feel and where you may live.
Recorded in January 1962 at the Manley Van Niekerk Studios in Cape Town, Mr Paljas presents some key Blue Notes members along with some other stars:
Chris McGregor - piano, leader;
Dudu Pukwana - alto sax
Nick Peterson - alto sax;
Cornelius Kumalo - baritone sax, clarinet;
Hugh Masekela - trumpet (see Blue Notes discography)
Dennis Mpali - trumpet;
Blyth Mbityana - trombone;
Joe Mal - bass;
Columbus Joya – drums.

Stanley (Spike) Glasser was also musical director of King Kong - he wrote some of those songs too. Glasser left South Africa for England in 1963 and was Professor and Head of Music at Goldsmiths College, University of London from 1969 to 1991. He retained close links with the country of his birth and studied the music of the Pedi and the Xhosa people.

Adam Glasser – Stanley’s son – is an accomplished jazz harmonica player, having recently released an African-jazz album entitled “Freedom at First” – which features Pinise Saul on vocals. It really is well worth getting hold of a copy. You can find out more about it here.

This recording of Mr Paljas was very kindly made available to EJ through artist and collector extraordinaire, Siemon Allen. If you have not seen his installation of Miriam Makeba records (amongst other wonders), that is another web-visit worth making. Siemon tells us that, in the near future he will be setting up a website for an archive of South Africa audio at In the interim he can be reached at Thanks Siemon for sharing!

Mike Fowler has built up a valuable "Blue Notes" discography and archive here
Mr Paljas
1. Daeraad (Daybreak)
2. Paljas
3. Stick Around
4. Sophia
5. To The Boats
6. More Fish In The Sea
7. One Bright Day
8. Fish Galore!
9. Overture To Act II
10. Lighthouse In The Sky
11. Ghoema Song
12. Unpredictable
13. Goodbye Paljas
14. When You’re At Sea
15. Rock Lobster
16. Sing Tomorrow
LP released on Gallo: GALP 1207


  1. Utterly shockingly gobsmackingly breathtaking!

  2. Great moment in History: lost for a long time now back in the ear.

  3. Wow! Many many thanks for sharing this, you have done our ears a great favor. Cheers,MB

  4. Many thanks for this, really adds to the SA jazz musical picture. Do you know if the show Township Jazz was ever recorded with Lo Six, the Manhattan Brothers, etc.?

  5. Siyabonga Umlungu for that question - as we do not know the answer, we will start by "asking the audience" - see the side-strap

  6. Yikes...

    Astoundingly rare, this is! Even Chris McGregor's brother Tony does not have the original of this LP. WOW!

    Thanks so so so so much for sharing.

    Now, you don't happen to have the Cold Castle Jazz 1962 compilation album by any chance (not the Castle Lager Big Band LP, but the previous year's festival release featuring various acts inc McGregor et al). I'm also yet to find the very rare first album by Dudu Pukwana "Dudu Pukwana and The Spears" (Quality LTJ-S 232, May 1969). See the top entry at

    Again, WOW!

  7. Owen, yes that 62 Festival and the Pukwana are in the archives.....along with a few other super rarities...stay tuned

  8. Thanks so much for this! I did not have a copy, as mentioned by one of the commentors, except for a cassette dub given me by Rob Allingham of Gallo, so these files are extraordinarily welcome!
    I'm interested to know how you got the name "Dabulamanzi" as that is a name I have been called by some!
    Love and peace

  9. Hi Tony, thanks for getting in touch and glad that you have now got a cleaner copy. You have our dear friend Siemon and his big wallet on eBay to thank for that! As for the name Dabulamanzi it was given to me by the Zulu drummer in my band. This was during a hectic time in KwaZulu Natal when local Inkatha bosses didn't want him playing with ANC-alligned students. It seems to be quite a common name given to people who speak straight and direct....

  10. Please take this as a collective thanks for so gems on the site - REALLY looking forward to Dudu and the Spears!

  11. I see that Dudu Pukwana and the Spears (Quality) appeared elsewhere briefly, but has now disappeared. I would be really grateful if you could post this as I missed it while I did not have internet access. Hope I can reciprocate the favour one day, thanks for so much great music.

  12. Thank you — for this and other rare S.A. jazz. Amazing website, really the best I've seen: incredibly informative and wonderfully surprising by all measures. Greatly appreciated!

  13. Many thank Shuffle for your kind and encouraging words of appreciation

  14. Just discovered there any chance at all of a reup? Thank you

  15. A new download link has been added MIT - enjoy

  16. A point omitted in the introductory text is that the lyrics were written by my mother, Beryl Bloom. She is credited as such on the original album cover, as is my father Harry Bloom, who wrote the book. - Stephen Bloom


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