Monday 26 August 2013

Game 1 - Game 2 (1970)

This isn't a groundbreaking album. But there is something quite attractive and endearing about it, from the striking cover art to the tasty, bouncy sounds gracing the grooves of this record. Like hundreds and hundreds of LPs released in South Africa during this particular era, Game 1 - Game 2 is a compilation of 12 songs from previously-released singles, comprising some of the best sax jive material of the last year. In other words - this is instrumental mbaqanga heaven.

The tunes on Game 1 - Game 2 are short, sweet and peppy - and why would one want anything more than that...? Alto saxophonist Sipho Bhengu launches the album on a bright and happy note, and he is joined immediately by the rest of the members of the Mavuthela studio band Abafana Bezimpalampala. "Inselelo" is a simple tune but, like every other song on the LP, very infectious. Bhengu, who recorded under such memorable pseudonyms as "Sammy Boy and His Sax", "Sipho and His Jets" and "Sammy Boy Nezimpisi", features in three other songs, including "Black Stick Soul", a lovely soul-type number with florid late-60s organ.

There's another soul-influenced tune on the LP, "Jungle Soul" (one of my personal favourites), as recorded by Joseph Makwela and His Comrades - yet another 'black music'-era smokescreen for the musicians of the Makgona Tsohle Band. For those wanting the sound of the original sax jive formula though, not to worry - there's plenty of that on Game 1 - Game 2, and it's seriously good stuff. Makwela and his Makgona Tsohle bandmates turn up again for "Umgqizibo", another 'little but big' tune. Marks Mankwane's hugely popular "Marks Special" series of songs isn't forgotten either, with No. 3 represented on this LP, featuring the sound of his legendary lead guitar alongside the groundbreaking Makwela on bass, the excellent (and often forgotten) Vivian Ngubane on rhythm guitar, and the rhythmic brilliance of Lucky Monama on drums.

...and speaking of Monama, let us not forget about the back-and-forth amazingness of "Phakama Masuku", a great number recorded by Lucky Monama and His Partners (yes, the Makgona Tsohle Band under yet another different name!)

There is one other tune, "Chumba", recorded by Reggie Msomi and His Hollywood Jazz Band - a fabulous number that shouldn't be missed.

Game 1 - Game 2 - a veritable melting pot of staple sax jives. Enjoy!

produced by Rupert Bopape
Smanje Manje LSJM 1002



  1. The Master of Mavuthela Music at play. Thanks for Marks Special No 3. Intriguing guitar works from Marks and Joseph.

  2. Rob, you are truly welcome. Thanks so much for your always wonderful comments. :)


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