Saturday 20 November 2010

The Best Laid Plans of Saul Malapane

An absolutely incredible album from Saul Malapane and I suspect members of the seminal mid 70s jazz group The Drive (more from them soon!). Just three long tracks that Saul was asked to compose by John Higgins, the producer and director of the 1975 stage production of Of Mice and Men.

Saul Malapane was born in Warmbaths in 1943 and moved to Johannesburg in 1965 to earn a living. He worked as a gardener and did occasional house painting for extra income. One employer gave him a guitar as a Christmas present and encouraged him to take up music. He took some lessons with Gilbert Stroud and joined the group The Drive, who used Stroud's premises to practice.

The stage show in Johannesburg caused a stir in the newspapers and internationally as the black actor Ken Gampu had to be given permission by the department of Bantu Administration to appear on stage with white actors. "For the first time, the black man was on an equal footing with the white man," he told an interviewer. "And you know, the heavens didn't fall."

Saul was also responsible for the killer track Here We Come on Rough Trade's Soweto LP



  1. Lovely album - many thanks.

  2. What a beautiful listen ! Very pleasent and warming !
    Thanks a lot for the good vibrations


  3. Man this is gorgeous. An iconic sound, really. The contrast of the breezy guitar and punctuating hand percussion make this so compelling. Of course the back story you've provided gives this art a dramatic context to help us appreciate it all the more. Thank you so much.

  4. I would be eternally grateful for a reupload of this one!

  5. i knew saul malapane and gilbert stroud (mentioned in this article) Saul went to israel in the 70s and gilbert must be deceased by now. I played in Gilbert's gig band. Saul was actually a jazz guitarist who copied wes montgomery all day.i have some private recordings of saul playing jazz and backing me singing too. Of mice and men was recorded at this very same time


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