Thursday 23 December 2010

Holiday Special

As 2010 draws to a close its time for a special treat - a rarely seen Barney Rachabane outing with instrumental soul band the Sound Proofs. Just five tracks with the title stretched over the first side. This one pre-dates our earlier Sweet Matara offering from 1976.

And from me - Dabulamanzi - all the very best for 2011. We'll keep the electricity flowing and you just keep on jiving!

Barney Rachabane and the Sound Proofs - Special Ma-Ma (1975, SSL0108)
1. Special Ma-Ma 13:14
2. Lovely Betty 4:15
3. Sunday Special 5:07
4. Crazy Boy 5:23

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Electric Jive Office Party Mix 2010

An upbeat mix of South African (from 1950s, 60s and 70s) mbaqanga, funk, ska and jazz in celebration of the annual ‘office party’ here in Durban. Slipped into this hour-long continuous assortment is a number of tracks from 78rpm records recently added to a small collection.

Mkhumbane in Durban (1956) by G.R. Naidoo
After a fine mbaqanga-esque introduction from 70s cult radio persona, ‘Wouter Marais’, we kick off with classic mbaqanga from Jospeh Makwela and his Comrades – same personnel as the legendary Makgona Tsohle band, plus West Nkosi on lead saxophone. Next up is a teaser from a second Izintombi Zomoya album we hope to share with you in the new year.

The mix changes gear into another sneak preview, this time Almon Memela’s simply sublime A.M. Stragglers. The album “Soul Bandit” was recorded in 1969. After Dick Khoza’s fantastic “African Jive” ("Chapita" on special offer at Matsuli) the dancefloor slants back towards mbaqanga, landing up with two recently found tracks on 78rpm from the Killingstone Stars. The Makhona Zonke band get us jiving before Kippie Moeketsi pops up, clarinet in hand.

On the home straight we embark upon a few 78rpm cultural warps, which if we must be honest, are quite easily accommodated in South African music (today is the national day of reconciliation) … Niek Potgieter and his konsertina doing an Elvis cover; Ted Heath and His Music versioning “Sarie Marais” into a rendition of “Tom Hark”, followed by Louis Armstrong’s joyful (instrumental) ‘Skokiaan’. The last track in this offering is the only one recorded after the 1970s, but serves as a great “book-end”.

Not too long ago I had the pleasure of experiencing Guy Buttery and Madala Kunene play an inspiring set – Durban is still blessed with some special people and musicians. “Sibanisizwe” comes off Guy’s recent album “Foxhill Lane” – it won the 2010 SAMA Award for best instrumental album. 
Guy Buttery's Album
Contact Guy here and he will post you one – you won’t be sorry.

Electricjive Durban Office Party 2010

1. Intro – from Wouter Marais’ Totally Ridiculous
2. Matamato Jive Matamato - JOSEPH MAKWELA & HIS COMRADES
3. Tlapa Le Wela Bodiben - JOSEPH MAKWELA & HIS COMRADES (1967)
4. Esandleni Sokhoho – IZINITOMBI ZOMOYA (1977)
5. Fully Licensed – A.M. STRAGGLERS
6. Blue Pumps – A.M. STRAGGLERS (1969)
7. Easy – ELITE SWINGSTERS (1968?)
8. African Jive (Moto) – DICK KHOZA (1976)
9. Respect is Important – REGGIE MSOMI (1976)
10. Sunlight Soap Ad – MVN STUDIOS
12. Lalela Mntanami – THE KILLINGSTONE STARS
13. Phata Six – MAKHONE ZONKE BAND (1979)
16. Hart van Steen (Wooden Heart) – NIEK POTGIETER EN SY KONSERTINA
18. Skokiaan – LOUIS ARMSTRONG
19. My Boy Lollipop – ELITE SWINGSTERS
20. Suikerbossie – STAN MURRAY (1975)
21. Sibanisezwe – GUY BUTTERY (2010)


Sunday 12 December 2010

Keep on Moving

A very special treat today of what was know as Soweto Soul, inspired by the likes of Brooker T & the MGs, Richard Groove Holmes and Jimmy Smith amongst others. In a career that lasted over ten years the Movers were incredible prolific and managed to straddle this early Soweto Soul genre, to bump jive, jazz and then disco. Their take on Abdullah Ibrahim's Mannenberg is an interesting excursion which we will share with you shortly.

About last June, The Soul Group now know as "The Movers" was formed in Alexandra by Kenneth Siphayi (know to this friends as Kenny). This is how it happened - a youngester called Oupa Hlongwane and his brother Norman (both guitarists) approached Kenny. They got together with drummer, Sam Thabo, and Kenny's friend Sankie Chonuyane the organist ... and now we have the successful sound of "The Movers". Shortly after launching of the spaceship "Apollo 11" the group recorded the hit single "Apollo 14", and so great became the demand for their records that top hits were collected into a great LP - "Movers Greatest Hits". Since then there has been a clamour for more "Movers" - and now - "Movers Greatest Hits Volume 2".- from the original liner notes.

The Movers - Greatest Hits Vol 2 (CYL 1004, 1970)
1. Back From the Moon
2. Love Me Not
3. The Best of Away
4. Toasted Chops
5. Mountain Breeze
6. Slow Down
7. Soul Crazy
8. Norman's Road
9. Lets Have It
10. Move for More
11. Crying Guitar
12. Beat Corner

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Elite Swingsters groove the "Funky Mama"

A special offering today – funky township grooving meets American soul-jazz in a most successful manner. And “that’s not all!” … this album throws in a generous sprinkling of sumptuous ska with a township twist. Stand back John Patton, it is for good reason that “Funky Mama” became an international hit for the Elite Swingsters. Their version of “Green Onions” isn’t half bad either.

Band leader and main composer Peter Mokonotela remains recognised as among the best saxophonists that South Africa has produced. He died of a stroke in May 2005.

Formed in 1958 the Elite Swingsters were a prolific hit-factory, at least until mbaqanga captured their target market’s music fashion sensibilities. “Funky Mama” was only the Swingsters’ third album, and was most likely produced before Dolly Rathebe joined them in 1964. (there is no date on the album and a discography cannot be found). See here for more on Dolly Rathebe.

“The Elites were first brought together in 1958 as a once-off combination of session musicians hired by Teal Record Company to record four songs for release as 78rpm singles on their RCA label. A Teal executive, Herbert Friedman, decided to issue the records using the name ’Elite Swingsters'. Rather unexpectedly, one of the four recordings, a tune called ‘Phalafafa' which had been composed for the session by the company’s African producer/talent scout, Lebenya Matlotlo, became an enormous hit. The musicians then decided to form a permanent band to capitalize on the success of ‘Phalafala' and adopted the Elite Swingsters moniker by way of advertisement.

“For the next ten or so years, the Elites were one of the most popular attractions in African music. Dubbed ‘The Magnificent Seven' by their township admirers, the band maintained an active performing profile that was centred around Johannesburg, the Vaal Triangle and down into the Orange Free State to Bloemfontein. The Elites also regularly toured Natal and the Eastern Cape under the auspices of the ‘Batfairs' sponsored by United Tobacco Company.

“The regular core of the Elite Swingsters' classic lineup consisted of the leader and string bass player, Johannes '‘Hooks'’Tshukudu, drummer Louis Molubi, Rex Ntuli on guitar, Jordan Bangazi on trumpet and Paul Rametsi on tenor sax. The two man alto saxophone section changed around more frequently and at various times used the following players: Jury Mpehlo, Chris Songxaka, Tami Madi, Shumi, Peter Mokonotela, Albert Ralulimi and Mike Selelo. Other musicians who sometimes formed part of the lineup were Elijah Nkwanyane and Johnny Selelo on trumpet, Blyth Mbitjana on trombone, Chris Columbus on baritone, and Dolly Rathebe on vocals." Excerpt from
As mbaqanga took hold and the original Elite Swingsters got older, injured, and tired of touring full-time they took on day jobs but kept playing gigs on the weekends, and still produced some hits in the 70s.

In the 1990s the Swingsters were reconstituted, including with original members Dolly Rathebe, Paul Ntleru (bass) Daniel Ngema (piano/sax/accordion) and Philip Mbele (keyboards) and delivered two successful CD’s – Woza and A Call for Peace. These and some other Elite’s recordings can still be found at Kalahari and elsewhere.

Produced and arranged by Chris Du Toit – Afrikaans master guitarist who you will hear more of on Electric Jive sometime soon. Du Toit composed two songs on this album: ‘Elite Ska’ and ‘Easy’.

We are looking for the two earlier known LP’s by the Swingsters: TEAL TL 1037 – “Happy Africa”; and R.C.A. 31-718 – “The Elite Swingsters Go Jazz”. Anyone?

Rapidshare here
Mediafire here

Thursday 2 December 2010

Le Royaume Mangalepa

Today a re-posting of a wonderful lingala album that first appeared at matsuli. Enjoy!

"Based in Nairobi, Les Mangalepa are sovereigns in their own musical kingdom 'Le Royaume Mangalepa' - which extends far beyond Kenya to encompass Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi, Zambia and DR Congo (ex-Zaïre).

"The story of Les Mangalepa starts in the 1960s when, as members of Baba Gaston’s band in Lubumbashi, they led the migration of musicians out of Zaïre and into Eastern Africa, via Tanzania and on to Nairobi. Striking out on their own, they played their first gig as Les Mangalepa at the Park Inn, Nairobi, in July,1976.

"The name was corrupted from the French ‘Marquez le Pas’ meaning 'marching time', in which they parodied the army style, laying down an irresistible beat, which became the stylistic expression for their ever-growing 'marching army' of fans. The songs in this collection are taken from the period when Les Mangelepa were in their full pomp. They conjure memories of a golden period of East African music when the crowds flocked to Uhuru Park, Garden Square, Tents Club and Park Inn. Those coming to the floor for the first time can anticipate a sense of surprise at the joy and vitality of these recordings."

"This LP had been sitting, dusty and undisturbed for at least 10 years before being rescued from the humidity, dust and heat of a warehouse in Durban. Previously we'd had a number of ideas as to the origins of the Sango label and no-one seems quite sure about its origin or history. The best guess so far is that it was an "export" only label for countries such as Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa." (MATSULI)
"The second part of the Sango story is as a late 1970s-early 1980s label of convenience for East African records from the ASL, African Beat and Polydor catalogues that were evidently pressed up for export, many retaining their original catalogue numbers for those labels." (Tim at KenTanzaVinyl)

Orchestra Mangelepa - Live Recording of the Malawi Tour (Sango, ASLP 921, 1980)
1. Ole Pts 1 & 2
2. Saad Pts 1 & 2
3. Malawi Zikomo Pts 1 & 2
4. Kanemo Pts 1 & 2