Tuesday 13 July 2010

Reggae Shhh!

This has got to be one of the most obscure LPs we've shared at electricjive. We came across the recording through a record-dealer but all our research to get more information has resulted in dead-ends. If you do have any information at all on this release please let us know.

Based on the loose ends and suggestions to date it appears that Zorro Five were a South African studio band consisting of both white and black musicians. The record was produced by Peter Thwaites and issued on the South African label Brigadiers in 1970. A single from the LP Reggae Shhh b/w Reggae Meadowlands was issued in the UK on Decca and became an underground hit on the mod/skinhead scene. It was issued in Italy in a picture sleeve and covered by Italian singer Rafaella Carra with a version entitled Reggae RRR.

The music is an eclectic mix of mostly instrumental organ and guitar led funk and reggae. Until we get some better detail we can only speculate about a studio band listening to late sixties reggae hit via LM Redio or on imports from the UK. Who knows where this story leads.

But it does provide an update to our ongoing exploration of recorded reggae in South Africa. See our earlier posts.



  1. Knock knock, anybody home?
    I know its the holiday season in the north but we share one of the deepest South African reggae & funk LPs and ZERO comments?
    OK its obscure but how do you like it?

  2. Loving it. Not every track is gold, but this is a first rate curiosity that more groove lovers should know about.

  3. Woah! Yes! The 4th track is a cover of Donovan's There is a Mountain, also covered by the Allman Brother's Band on their legendary Eat A Peach album. Difficult to say which is better because both have as much musical quality! Strange enough, the 9th track doesn't seem to have as much to do with that song as the title might imply. Misprint on the sleeve maybe? If only the original artists were together...
    The first track is of an outstanding quality too, love love love it!

  4. Hmm I think it's just been tagged wrongly guys! The first track is Reggae Shhh, not Jump Up - Turn Around. Whatever the sleeve might say! Might explain the 'First There Is A Mountain' song too!
    Quality release whatever the names of the songs are though! Thanks (:

  5. This is an amazing discovery - reminds me of the Mohawks' classic Champ album - very funky and super tight organ-led instrumentals with strong reggae touches. However, the tags are all over the place - 1 should be Reggae Shh, 11 is Reggae Meadowlands, 8 is clearly Elizabethan Reggae, while 5 should be First There Is A Mountain - can anyone help with the complete listing?

  6. I've worked it out - correct listing is the reverse of that on the record - ie:
    1 Reggae Shhh
    2 Barcarolle
    3 Molelo
    4 First There is A Mountain
    5 Rebel Rouser
    6 The Exit Song
    7 Plastic Iron
    8 Elizabethan Reggae
    9 Good Books
    10 Red Turnip
    11 Reggae Meadowlands
    12 Jump Up - Turn Around

  7. According to the History of Contemporary Music of South Africa (Chilvers, Jasiukowicz, 1994. Toga Publishing) this album is credited to Zane Cronje who also wrote the funky soundtrack to the film

    Glenda Snakedancer

  8. My mind is blown that you found and uploaded this record! "Reggae Meadowlands" is my favorite song of all time -- I found the 45 at a "charity shop" in a small town in Britain, many years ago, I suppose donated by the parents of a skinhead boy who moved out and left all his records behind.

    I even converted a section from "Reggae Meadowlands" to be the ringtone on my phone, and whenever it rings it turns heads! I've gotten hundreds of comments from people asking me to get a copy of my ringtone for their own phone, but I keep it exclusively for myself! When they ask who performed it, and I say "Zorro Five," no one ever has any idea what I'm talking about, but they're jealous that I have "the best ringtone in the world."

    I have always been curious as to who the "Zorro Five" were, or what country they came from; I had baselessly presumed that they were a white reggae band from England in '69-'70, as the production doesn't sound Jamaican, but who else was making reggae-rhythm records back in that era aside from Jamaica and (to a much smaller degree) England? It never occurred to me that they might be South African. Wild!

    And yes, I can confirm that the track listing is reversed in your mp3 version -- what you list as the 11th track, "Barcarolle," is actually the second track ("Reggae Meadowlands"), and the first track is in reality "Reggae Shhh!" and not "Jump Up - Turn Around" as listed. Just invert the order and it will be correct.

    Anyway, to have the entire album by the group is my dream come true. Thank you!

  9. anychance for a new mediafire link or perhaps zippyshare? thanks


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