Sunday 2 February 2014

Reggie Msomi SABC Transcription circa 1963

Reggie Msomi, the legendary composer, arranger, producer, guitarist, saxophonist and more, was, in my opinion, one among a handful of South Africans who have contributed in such a high quality, prolific,  diverse and boundary-stretching manner to this country's musics over a sustained period of time.

Just browse through Electric Jive's archives (use the search bar on the right-hand column) and you will find his contributions stretching over twenty years: as composer and band-member of the Tophitters in a 1957 kwela-jive, then as a key member of the ND Hotshots in 1960 on the wave of inventing mbaqanga along with a big-band swing infusion - all the way via twist, ska, and mbaqanga through to his 1976 hit albums "Soweto Grooving" and "Swing Africa." If you have not heard these, do yourself a favour and search 'Reggie Msomi' in the side-bar - the links are still live.

Reggie Msomi (1962)
From an album featured on
Flatinternational here
As Siemon Allen describes in an earlier posting on this blog: "In 1962 he formed the Hollywood Jazz Band and also became a producer/talent scout for Gallo. Alas, in 1964 he was replaced by Rupert Bopape in an unfortunate turn of events recounted in Nick Lotay’s classic post Jive Motella! on the history of Mavuthela at Matsuli." While Msomi was touring with the Hollywood Jazzband north of the border in Southern Rhodesia there was a palace coup of sorts.

Today's rarity is an SABC transcription of "Reggie Msomi and His  Hollywood Band", we believe to be from 1963. By this time Reggie Msomi had recruited Joseph Makwela (bass) and West Nkosi (saxophone) to the Hollywood Band - after he heard them repeatedly busking outside the doors of Gallo. Lucky Monama (rhythm guitar) was already at Gallo and part of the Hollywood Band. Makwela, Monama and Nkosi would go on to later form the core of the Makona Tsohle Band.

This transcription features six great Msomi tunes from by a very polished band. I tried all I could to remove the slight interference that accompanies the beginning of most of these tracks. They are brief - the music endures.

View more of Msomi’s albums at flatinternational.

You can also find a few more references to early Reggie Msomi on the South African Music Archive Project (SAMAP) site here.

Reggie Msomi and His Hollywood Band - SABC Transcription (LT5222)
All compositions by Msomi.

1. Highway Blues
2. No Pay No Play
3. S.W.A.
4. 7th Floor Blues
5. Black Cat
6. Go Man Go

Mediafire here
Rapidshare here


  1. Thanks for offering this, Chris, and I look forward to getting it, but the Mediafire link appears to lead to blogger - any chance of fixing it? Thanks in advance, Dave Sez.

  2. Thank Dave Sez for picking this up and letting me know - it should work fine now

  3. Works fine now, Chris. Thanks for taking the trouble - and for giving us this! Cheers, Dave Sez.


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