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.


  1. Hi Siemon,
    What a new post! I'd loved Rock Jive volume 1. This volume, too.
    Happy new year 2014.

  2. Hello, first of all, Thanks!! for the wonderful music you share in your blog
    Thanks to your work I have discovered and enjoyed fantastic albums

    i've been developing a new project in the last year and i would like to share it
    because it would be impossible without the work that you do

    have a happy new year and please... keep doing your marvelous work!! :)

  3. What Truly Magical Music. Thank You

  4. Rock Jive Vol 2 is simply an amazing collection with many surprises. In particular, the first track,"Sasihlezi Nentombi Yami" by Philemon Mogkhosi is a version of "Waiting for a Train" recorded by Jimmie Rodgers in 1928. The 1952 recording even includes the yodeling and opening train whistle similar to that used in the Jimmie Rodgers version.

    See for the Jimmie Rodgers version.

    According to Google translate, the title "Sasihlezi Nentombi Yami" is Zulu for "My girlfriend sitting." I am curious about the Zulu lyrics. Does the label on the 78 rpm single show writer credits?

    In any event, thanks for wonderful set of recordings.

  5. Thanks Slim D for your kind comments and the YouTube link to the original Jimmie Rodgers tune.

    The BB label does credit in brackets "Waiting for a Train - Rodgers" but gives no Zulu translation nor credit for the Zulu lyrics. Alas I can't help with the translation.

    On a separate note, themes of "waiting for the train" or other modes of transport feature often in South African songs, often with social implications. Perhaps Mogkhosi is alluding to this by quoting Rodgers?

    Check out Martha Mdenga's tune How Long has the Train be Gone? here at EJ.

  6. Hey Simeone, great to see that Plastik 78 I sent you getting out there :)

    Did you have a chance to listen to our Township 78s Radio show yet ? available here...

    We plan to do a follow up show near Christmas

  7. RapidShare has now eliminated any free downloading, and in order to use the service people must pay a substantial fee. Bad! MediaFire, however, is still free.

    With that in mind, is there a version of this compilation uploaded to MediaFire? I'd really really love to hear it (Ice Cream and Suckers is indeed one of my all-time favorite albums), but I don't want to shell out mucho $$$ to Rapidshare just for this one download. Thanks!


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