Monday 30 December 2013

Rock Jive - Volume 2 (1952-1968) plus FXEJ Series

We close this year with a second volume of South African jive tracks loosely themed around the influence of rock n' roll. Volume One was featured here at Electric Jive earlier this month. All tracks are sourced from the Flat International archive and this compilation marks the 14th in the FXEJ series. If you have not had a chance to hear some of the other material in this series check out the comprehensive list with links below.

As with Volume One all tracks here are digitized from 78 rpms except for the beat version of Strike Vilikazi's Meadowlands by The Meteors which comes from a 45. And like those on Volume One, these tracks cannot strictly be categorized as rock but show a range of eclectic global and indigenous influences including swing, ska, kwela and majuba.

Fans of LPs like Taxi Jive and Ice Cream and Suckers will find much joy here. The later half of this compilation includes material that could be termed "sax jive" and documents a transitional period before South African popular music became dominated by the heavier bass sounds of mbaqanga.

Like before, this comp features some real gems including tracks by Kippie Moeketsi and his Hot Rocks as well as the African Symphonics featuring Ntemi and Shadrack Piliso. Also of note is the track Taxi Ride by Danny Boy that comes from a unique vinyl (and not shellac) 78 rpm disc. The label name, Plastik, says it all — a truly transitional artifact! 

Happy New Year!

(Flat International / Electric Jive, FXEJ 14)

01) Philemon Mogkhosi - Sasihlezi Nentombi Yami (c1952, Bantu Batho, BB 100)
02) The Meteors with Archie Coker - Meadowlands (c1962, Rave, R 209)
03) Roland Mqwebu - Emakete (c1960, Winner, OK 018)
04) African Symphonics - Zulu Roll (1957, Troubadour, AFC 491)
05) Roland Mqwebu - Bayakhala Emakhaya (c1960, Winner, OK 018)
06) Betty Khoza and her Sisters - Yebo (c1965, Winner, OK 211)
07) SDV Swing Band - Braai Vleis (c1966, Winner, OK 267)
08) Sparletta Rockers - Sparletta Rock (1962, Big Beat, BT 405)
09) Billie the Kid and his Zombies - Zombie Phatha Phatha (1959, Zonk, TV 134)
10) Third Avenue Cellars - Niza-Niza (1960, Big Beat, BT 296)
11) Third Avenue Cellars - Ka Marao (1960, Big Beat, BT 296)
12) Danny Boy - Taxi Ride (c1968, Plastik, PL 27)
13) Jimmy Masuluke - Mamabolo (FM, FM X116)
14) Prince Paul Morgan - Thatha (c1967, Modden Jive, MOD 54)
15) Prince Paul Morgan - Thu Thu Ka Paul (c1967, Modden Jive, MOD 54)
16) King Marshall - Mojo Dance No. 5 (c1967, Hit, HIT 363)
17) Soweto Stokvel Septette - Soweto Ska (1966, Stokvel, ST 002)
18) Samuel Levuno - Stock Sweets and Ice Mints (1968, Stokvel, ST 050)
19) Billie the Kid - New Year Kwela (c1960, Winner, OK 105)
20) Kippie Moeketsi and his Hot Rocks - Stick Up Rock (1957, Troubadour, AFC 472)
21) Sore feet Boys - Ugweva (1962, Hit, HIT 226)
22) Swingather's Band - Peter's Sister (c1956, Bantu Batho, BB 1026)
23) Simon Hlatshwayo Crazy Crackers - Pingo Ke Ngoana (c1956, Philips, SB 52)

(Compiled by Flat International for Electric Jive)

(1958-1998) — FXEJ 1
Over her prolific career, from 1954 up to her death in 2008, Makeba issued no less than 29 individual albums along with countless 78s, 45s and EPs, pressed in at least 33 countries. In addition, over 28 compilations of her works have been and continue to be issued on compact disc. For the most part this compilation featured tracks that either had never been reissued on CD or if they were, were seldom, if at all, included on her “best of” compilations. I was surprised to see the number of significant hits and gems remaining un-reissued.

Volume 1 (1927-1952) — FXEJ 2
Volume 2 (1954-1964) — FXEJ 3
Almost every text on maskanda usually opens with a mention of this scene: a seemingly lonely figure walking the streets of Durban, decorated guitar in hand, strumming away and singing to himself. The ambulating musician and the cyclical, repetitive structure of the music almost suggests a journey or even a kind of nomadic life. Maskanda is often described as a Zulu neo-traditional style of music and is most famously linked to the guitar, though not exclusively. This compilation traces the early beginnings of this music.

Volume 1: Swing to Majuba (1953 – 1956) — FXEJ 4
Volume 2: Majuba to Sax Jive (1957-1961) — FXEJ 5
Volume 3: Sax Jive to Mbaqanga (1962 – 1967) — FXEJ 6
As this compilation grew, I realized that it was becoming something closer to a survey of a golden age of South African Jazz and it revealed how that music was transformed, over a decade, into something else that was distinctly more African. I suppose the subtitle of the post could have been how American swing became mbaqangaMajuba, msakazo, or what is more commonly referred to as African Jazz is a quintessentially South African sound. Originally it was a big band sound that took American swing and indigenised it with elements of marabi. From its hey-day in the 1950s it was created by and produced some of the key figures of South African Jazz. Volume 2 and 3 cans be viewed here.

Volume 1 — FXEJ 7
Volume 2 — FXEJ 8
This compilation features a cross-section of mostly South African music in exile. For purposes of definition, "exile music" here covers a thirty year period from 1959 to 1990, during the heart of the apartheid years. This survey is by no means comprehensive, nor is it representative of all South African exile artists or even their ‘best’ work. Rather it is a collection of some of my favorite, more personal tunes. Tunes that for me capture some of the darker but also more ecstatic moments of exile.

(1956-1960) — FXEJ 9
Mabel Mafuya in the mid to late 1950s was one of South Africa’s top-selling jive vocalists. At Troubadour, she was only second to Dorothy Masuka. Remarkably very little material by this legendary artist has been available. In many ways the collection of 26 songs captures Mafuya at the peak of her singing career and is a unique and valuable window into a dynamic social period.

Volume 1 — FXEJ 10
Volume 2 — FXEJ 11
A compilation of South African disco-soul-jive material from the mid to late 1970s through the early 1980s. This mix developed quite serendipitously — I had been putting it together for the better part of a year by adding interesting tracks to a folder as they turned up. Let me just say, invest in some serious shoes before your listen to these two volumes!

(1955-1959) — FXEJ 12
A follow up to Tracks Less Travelled with more, equally rare, sounds by Miriam Makeba on 78 rpm. The tracks on this compilation all come from the period before Makeba left South Africa in August 1959 and in many ways trace the growth of her early career — first as an individual (after many recordings with the Manhattan Brothers) and then with the all-female, close-harmony groups: the Sunbeams and the Skylarks. To my knowledge, none of the material here (save for one track) has been reissued in any subsequent format.

Volume 1 (1952-1968) — FXEJ 13
Volume 2 (1952-1968) — FXEJ 14
While jazz and swing were the dominant styles influencing South African music of the 1950s and 60s, the impact of rock music was inescapable. Rock was marginally adopted by some black South African musicians in the late 1950s, and yet the principle focus still remained with jazz, jive and kwela. These compilation loosely document the impact of rock music on various South African styles.

Monday 16 December 2013

Electric Jive Durban Office Party 2013

What a year, and what a last week it has been. In saying good-bye to Tata Mandela over this last ten days it has been a privilege to feel part of a country-wide outpouring of grief, love and gratitude for the great man.  On this, South Africa's day of Reconciliation (16th December) may the remarkable spirit of goodwill and peace continue throughout your holiday season!

Of course, as a nation we will wake up after the year-end break and get on with the cut and thrust of our contested national project, all the way through to national elections ... with some daring to push the boundaries a little more, knowing that as the fissures and fractures re-appear in our national fabric, we also have the capacity (when most critical) to see the bigger picture and overcome those differences that we do feel.

Until then - it is time to dispense with your inhibitions, suspend your critical faculties, switch off your cheese-o-meter, (yes some of this is deliciously cheesey), kick off your shoes, find your loved ones and submit your groove to a feel-good bygone era of disco soul, swing, twist, funk and a little mashed up jazz from South Africa's 60s and 70s.

Thank you all for being part of the Electric Jive experience this year - it has been another wonderful ride. Thank you to everyone who has left words of feedback, thanks and encouragement - it means a lot to us. I look forward to picking up the conversation again in the new year when we will be able to announce a launch date of the dedicated Electric Jive Ian Bruce Huntley Archive pages.

This Durban Office Party is a mix-tape gleaned mostly from single tracks especially digitized from various under-played LPs and 78rpms.  There is a second link containing separated tracks.

1. Sonny and His Booi's: Funky Sax (1967) (King-Doggett)
2. Stan Lee's Boys: Rock Lobster Twist - (196?) (Glasser)
3. The Soul Brothers: Wonderful World - (197?) (The Soul Brothers)
4. Golden Disco: Makhelwane - (197?) (Babsy Mlangeni)
5. The Moonlight Expressions: If You Ready (1975) (H. Banks, R.Jackson, C. Hampton)
6.  Lionel Petersen: Swing Your Daddy (1975) (Nolan)
7.  Friends: Shoowa Shoowa (1976) (Cambridge Matiwane)
8.  Wanda Arletti: Love Power (1969) (Vann)
9.  Disco Six: Disco Six (1977)(Zane Cronje; Rene Veldsman; M. Horowitz)
10. Una Valli and The Flames: Tell Mama (1968) (Carter)
11. Lionel Petersen: That's The Way I Like It (1975) (Casey/Finch)
12. The Invaders: Shockwave (1970) (The Invaders)
13. The Elricas: No School Today - Soweto School (197?) (D. Makhubela)
14. The Elricas: Chez Gaye Special: (197?) (The Elricas)
15. Roy Petersen: Soulitis (1969) (Roy Petersen)
16. Elricas Dance Band: Take Five (?) (Paul Desmond)
17. Stan Lee's Boys: Twist for Six - (196?)  (Stan Lee)
18. Elricas Dance Band: Medley (Amdelia, Ghomea Chero, Hoola Hoop, Chez Gaye Samba)
19. Dukes Combo: Le Vastrap (197?) (Vasie Naidoo)
20. Niek Potgieter: Bosveld Vastrap (?) (Potgieter)
21. Nico Carstens: Kitaar Boogie (?) Carstens/De Waal
22. Nick Mick Band: Pick and Choose (196?) (Mickey Vilakazi)
23. Henry's Sextet: Ndolondlo (1968) (Henry Sithole)
24. Zee Zee Jazz Appointment: Jive and Rest (196?) (Rupert Bopape).


Separated tracks

Thursday 12 December 2013

Moonbeats over 2013 mixtape

So here we go with some of the favourites from 2013 that got stuck in my head over the past 12 months....enjoy!

Zephyr - Rodion G.A.
Adjinon We - Danialou Sagbohan
Safar - Hassan Shamaizadeh
Piya Tu Ab To Aaja - Kumar Sanu
Malam Joget - Orkes Melayu Bulan Purnama
WÅ„Åòrewan Am_ÉŒÅÇulle - Elias Tebabel
Hayeelin - Dur-Dur Band
Sina Raha - Hafusa Abasi & Slim Ali with The Yahoos Band
Ne me fatigue pas - Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba
Onsta La Yerbita - Los Destellos
w.e.l.f.a.r.e. - antonio castro
Moonbeams - Brenda Ray
Come Holy Spirit - God's Band
Ah, Music - Vinny Roma

Get it here: RS / ZS 

Sunday 8 December 2013

Hamba Kahle Tata Mandela

We grieve, we cry, we look for comfort, we give thanks - may Nelson Mandela's inspiring life make us all more resolute in pursuing his example of leadership, compassion and humanity. Hamba Kahle Tata.

In 1986 Johnny Clegg penned this beautiful protest anthem: Asimbonanga:

Asimbonanga (We have not seen him)
Asimbonang' uMandela thina (We have not seen Mandela)
Laph'ekhona (In the place where he is)
Laph'ehleli khona (In the place where he is kept)

Oh the sea is cold and the sky is grey
Look across the Island into the Bay
We are all islands till comes the day
We cross the burning water

Asimbonanga (We have not seen him)
Asimbonang' uMandela thina (We have not seen Mandela)
Laph'ekhona (In the place where he is)
Laph'ehleli khona (In the place where he is kept)

A seagull wings across the sea
Broken silence is what I dream
Who has the words to close the distance
Between you and me

Asimbonanga (We have not seen him)
Asimbonang' uMandela thina (We have not seen Mandela)
Laph'ekhona (In the place where he is)
Laph'ehleli khona (In the place where he is kept)

Steve Biko

Asimbonanga (We have not seen him)
Asimbonang 'umfowethu thina (we have not seen our brother)
Laph'ekhona (In the place where he is)
Laph'wafela khona (In the place where he died)

Victoria Mxenge

Asimbonanga (We have not seen him)
Asimbonang 'umfowethu thina (we have not seen our brother)
Laph'ekhona (In the place where he is)
Laph'wafela khona (In the place where he died)

Neil Aggett

Hey wena (Hey you!)
Hey wena nawe (Hey you and you as well)
Siyofika nini la' siyakhona (When will we arrive at our destination)

Asimbonanga (We have not seen him)
Asimbonang 'umfowethu thina (we have not seen our brother)
Laph'ekhona (In the place where he is)
Laph'wafela khona (In the place where he died)

(The picture featured is of the striking Nelson Mandela sculpture created by Marco Cianfanelli at the site where Mandela was captured by the South African Police near Howick in 1962.)

The great man makes an appearance in this video of the song. The original recording of the track can be downloaded below.

RS here
MF here

Friday 6 December 2013

We Miss You Mandela!

What can be said? We all knew this day would come. Tonight marks the passing of Nelson Mandela! Many in South Africa will waken shortly to this sad news. I know Chris has prepared a special post for this occasion, but in the wee hours of this morning and until that time enjoy this masked tribute to the iconic leader. Recorded by Sello "Chicco" Twala in 1987 this hit dance song escaped the apartheid censors by referring to a fictional character "Manelow" but it was fully understood who the subject of the song was. As you listen it is hard not to hear the words: "We Miss You Mandela, Where Are You?"

We Miss You Manelo
RBM 068
Promotional 12" copy

Also check out Chicco's youTube video:

Monday 2 December 2013

Rock Jive - Volume 1 (1952-1968)

December brings our now annual tradition of featuring end-of-year compilations appropriate for the holiday season. I'll open with a first volume of South African jive tracks loosely themed around rock n' roll. All tracks are digitized from 78 rpms sourced from the Flat International archive.

While jazz and swing were the dominant styles influencing South African music of the 1950s and 60s, the impact of rock music was inescapable. Rock was marginally adopted by some black South African musicians in the late 1950s, and yet the principle focus still remained with jazz, jive and kwela. Reasons for this are well outlined in Charles Hamm's essay "Rock 'n Roll in a Very Strange Society" in his book Putting Popular Music in its Place. For more on this subject also see our earlier post on the Bogard Brothers.

Not all the tracks in this compilation are strictly rock — many include elements of swing, ska, kwela, goema and majuba (or African Jazz). Simply, I built the comp from tracks that either included the word "rock" in the title or band name or where a name or title was similarly suggestive such as Slim Guitar and his Band or the Hot lips Band. Some gems include the Bank Robber's Rock by Kippie Moeketsi and his Hot Rocks and Zulu Rock by the African Symphonics featuring Ntemi and Shadrack Piliso.

I think you will find the compilation suitable for dancing.

(Flat International / Electric Jive, FXEJ 13)

01) Cowboy Superman - Madlaka Dlaka (1952, Bantu Batho, BB 113)
02) African Symphonics - Zulu Rock (1957, Troubadour, AFC 491)
03) Benoni Rocket - I'm Gonna Rock (1961, New Sound,  GB 3278)
04) SDV Swing Band - Riverside Blues (c1966, Winner, OK 267)
05) Slim Guitar and his Band - Mapapi Busuku (1960, Zonk, TV 155)
06) Soweto Stokvel Septette - Eddie's Ska (1966, Stokvel, ST 002)
07) Black Notes - Funky Papa (c1965, Tempo, KT 567)
08) Billie the Kid and his Zombies - Magidasibekane (1959, Zonk, TV 134)
09) Joe's Jazz Band - Fly-By-Night (c1955, Philips, P30803H)
10) Hot Lips Band - Julia (c1953, Bantu Batho, BB 162)
11) Fanani Sibanda - Abanga Bani (c1953, Troubadour, AFC 151)
12) Kippie Moeketsi and his Hot Rocks - Bank Robber's Rock (1957, Troubadour, AFC 472)
13) Telegram Specials - Imfene (c1962, Goli Rand, RA 154)
14) Sophiatown Gaities - Mosadi Ola (c1956, Philips, SB 55)
15) Simon Hlatshwayo Crazy Crackers - Ama Crazy Crackers (c1956, Philips, SB 52)
16) Black Notes - Madison Time (c1965, Tempo, KT 567)
17) Slim Guitar and his Band - Ndlela Mbi (1960, Zonk, TV 155)
18) Benoni Rocket - Khumbula Leyomini (1961, New Sound, GB 3278)
19) Billie the Kid - Xmas Night Jump (c1960, Winner, OK 105)
20) Samuel Levuno - Vereeniging Jive (1968, Stokvel, ST 050)
21) Swingather's Band - Emazini (c1956, Bantu Batho, BB 1026)
22) Telegram Specials - Insizwa (c1962, Goli Rand, RA 154)