Friday 27 August 2010

Soul Meeting!! Una Valli and the Flames (1968)

Southern Africa’s first lady of sixties Soul, Una Valli delivering Motown and Atlantic as good, say the critics who heard her, as Arethra Franklin and Etta James ever did. Our friend Eddy at Soul Safari has just shared tracks from the Soulfire recording of “The Flames”; so we thought it a good idea to share the Flames recording that came just before Soulfire.

This time, the Flames share the backing band duties with other SA soul stalwarts, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy.

Be sure to check out Bas Mollenkramer’s authoritative discog and website on the Flames here. The site contains a full review of this rare album, along with pictures and more detail on Una Valli.

A Grahame Beggs production
released in South Africa April 1968 in mono on Rave RMG 1233
released in the UK 1968 in mono on Page One FOR 019

1. Satisfaction (Jagger / Richard) 2.22 the Flames.
2. Tell Mama (Carter) 2.20 the Flames
3. I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You (Shannon) 3.36 the Peanut Butter Conspiracy
4. Reach Out I'll Be There (E. & B. Holland / Dozier) 3.12 the Flames
5. Yesterday (Lennon / McCartney) 3.13 the Peanut Butter Conspiracy
6. You Are My Sunshine (Davis / Mitchell) 2.34 the Flames
7. Respect (Redding) 2.28 the Peanut Butter Conspiracy
8. Nowhere to Run (E. & B. Holland / Dozier) 3.03 the Peanut Butter Conspiracy
9. My Guy (Robinson / White) 3.22 the Peanut Butter Conspiracy
10. Take Me For A Little While (Martin) 2.36 the Flames
11. Stop Thief (Hayes / Porter / Shamwell) 2.25 the Flames
12. Yum Yum (Frazier) 2.38 the Peanut Butter Conspiracy

RS here
MF here

Friday 20 August 2010

Malombo Jazz Makers Vol 2 (1971)

It seems the recording of Malombo Jazz Makers Volume 2 is not available elsewhere. In response to requests and kind comments, we are happy to share this 1971 gem with you.

You can buy the CD or digital download containing the hauntingly beautiful song “Sibathatu” from this album on Strut’s important compilation of SA Jazz: "Next Stop Soweto Vol 3". Explore further here and here.

This album is a follow-up to the 1967 one and the 1971 "Music of the Spirit" we shared on Electirc Jive earlier and here. All three of these albums are without Philip Thabane and feature Abbey Cindi, Lucky Ranku and Julian Bahula. Philip Thabane split  with Cindi and Julian Bahula  in 1967 and each went on to form their own versions of Malombo (Jazz Men and Jazz Makers, respectively).

As concerns the Malombo Jazzmen, around the time this "Jazzmakers" album was recorded in 1971, Philip Thabane and Mabi Thobejane did a series of six “Farewell to the USA” shows during May and June in South Africa. They then stopped in at the North Sea Jazz festival in London before making a splash in the U.S.A. from 1972 to 1975, including playing gigs with the likes of Charles Mingus at the Rafike Club in New York; Pharo Sanders at the Philharmonic Hall (NY); Miles Davis (Keystone Corner, San Francisco); Herbie Hancock (Washington DC); Max Roach and Leon Thomas; Stanley Turrentine; McCoy Tyner etc etc - someone somewhere has soundboard recordings of at least some of these concerts? They went on to play the Newport Jazz Festival and tour Japan, before returning home to play at the Mamelodi Stadium on 12th April 1975. A full listing of Philip Thabane’s important gigs can be found in a doctoral thesis, available online.

Sello Edwin Galane recently (October 2009) completed a Doctor Musicae Thesis on Philip Thabane and Malombo which was submitted at the University of Pretoria. The thesis: “seeks to investigate the origin and development of the thinking, make up, evolution, meaning, impact, essence of originality, and attempts to reclaim the true identity of African music of South Africa from 1963 to date by Philip Thabane through his concept of Malombo Music. The study introduces Philip Thabane’s biographical background, and sketches out the socio-political milieu in which he has had to do creative work, maps out the stages of development of Malombo music, and investigates how media was bent on shaping a particular public opinion about Malombo music.” The thesis also has interesting pictures and press clippings in the appendices – it can be downloaded here.
Also, be sure to check out Matsuli’s Malombo discography here. Thanks again Siemon for the original share.
RS here
MF here

Sunday 15 August 2010

Makhona Tsohle – the heart of Mbaqanga (1967)

These guys were the genesis and heart of Mbaqanga music, the essence of electric jive. The Makhona Tsohle Band have been described as doing for South African music what the Funk Brothers did for Motown. They coined the name Mbaqanga for a music that is now an iconic part of South Africa’s national identity.

Literally, ‘the band that can do anything’ Makhona Tsohle’s stalwarts were Joseph Makwela, the first black electric bass player in South Africa; Marks Mankwane on electric guitar; West Nkosi on saxophone; Lucky Monama on drums and Vivian Ngubane on rhythm guitar. Put together by Rupert Bopape in 1964, these guys  became the Mavuthela house band, backing the likes of Mahlatini and the Mahotella Queens and prospered until 1977.

In 1983 a new TV soap opera musical comedy “Mathaka” featured a garage band that was a re-formed Makhona Tsohle Band – again to much success for a year or so. You can buy two great and dirt cheap CD's of the Mathaka recordings of Makhona Tsohle from here

Much has been well written on this important band here and here.

In addition to his great article on Matsuli, Nick Lotay has constructed a number of video’s featuring the band and the Mahotella Queens - up on YouTube link here

Suffice to say, today’s share is a rare 1967 album on the Motella label pulling together Makhona Tsohle's key pieces up to that date. Thanks Siemon. Enjoy.
RS here
MF here
Missing song: Bela Bela No 2. RS here
Missing song Bela Bela No 2. MF here

Thursday 5 August 2010

Boy Masaka Special

By special request from a number of our readers we have dug deep to bring you this fantastic collection of Boy Masaka 78s, 45s and album tracks. Boy Masaka's original name was Barney Robert Masena but he also went under the alias Elim Valenti, Valenti Elim and Mr Joe. On his later records he was simply known as Boy Masaka wa Brits (Boy Masaka from Brits). We faced a real problem trying to locate photographs of Boy Masaka. Instead we thought we'd translate a number of the spoken word intro's to give you a flavour of what was going down. Whilst the majority of the tracks are from the so-called 78 period (until the late 60s in South Africa) Boy Masaka later landed up in David Thekwane's stable playing alongside the Boyoyo Boys generating session after session of instrumental jive. One of these tracks was issued in France by RCA (check the cover at the bottom). We've also included a download of his most famous seventies track "Buya Masaka". And his sense of humour kicks in with the b-side title "Groot Man". Enjoy the tunes.(Special thanks to Alkis who sourced a number of these 78s for us)

Boy Masaka Special includes the following tracks
Big Ten- Blassa'Tu- Boy Kortman - Crash - Draai Veld - Dry Veld No. 2 - Dubula Masaka - Knock Knock - Moon - Ntombana - Rock Pheph No 16 - Rock Pheph No 17 - Salanjalo - Simangele -Tatazela Guluva -Tiny- Ubuyile - Ungalile - Yes Yes Yes Man

Rock Pheph 16: " Whose photo is that on the table?, Oh my God, don’t you know its Boy Masaka. He is so short. Oh, don’t you know him? He is a man when he is with other men; I want to meet him eye to eye. Get away, he is not a layabout drunkard like you."

Rock Pheph 17: "Hey, don’t make so much noise (bicycle bell ringing). Get out of the way of my Raleigh (bicycle). Sorry, I did not see it was you Boy Masaka"

Knock Knock: "Open up, open up what is going on here (jealous boyfriend). Get away, you are not paying rent for me, I am paying this myself." Lady turns to Boy Masaka who is inside the house and asks him to play on.

Ntambane: "It is still you in my room! It does not matter) because I also play music on the radio. When I hear you singing on this radio I will smash it with an axe. Stay with your axe, I am leaving. Well, get away you! "

Crash: "Tell me Boy, why does everyone have complaints about you? Because I can play the saxophone. Did you hear that song from 1964? Keep quiet and listen"

Simangele: "Boy Masaka why are you not buying food in the house for Simangele? Because Simangele is not cooking during the day, she is staying the whole day drinking and when I get home there is no food prepared."

Tiny: "Hurry up – go and see Boy Masaka, he is jiving and play bump jive – you will find him, he is the shortest one amongst them."