Thursday 5 February 2015

She's Gone: The Flaming Souls (1968)

James Brown certainly reached South Africa – and is found reflected in this recording in the mood, energy and Philip Mallela’s vocals to match! It really is a thrill for me to share this gem of a recording with you today, the Flaming Souls’ debut album – thanks to Electric Jive visitor and Facebook friend Kataquomb Braka for sharing. Note: a new mint copy of the album has found its way to me and has now been digitised. If you downloaded the previous version with the skip in "She's Gone" - try the new version available from the link at the bottom of this post.

Band-leader Simon Jika Twala
One flame that adds impetus to Electric Jive’s archiving energies is always the potential that someone  is going to pop up and say, “hey, did you know about this one?”

Alexandra Township – also known as Dark City – has been the fountain from which many of South Africa’s musical legends have emerged: The Piliso brothers, Zacks Nkosi, Lemmy Mabaso, Caiphus Semenya, and then as the root of soul, starting with “The Anchors” – check them out here.  The Movers also hailed from Alex.
Writing in the Sowetan newspaper (2nd November, 2012) on the occasion of band-leader  Simon "Jika" Twala’s passing, Victor Mecoamere records that this here album sold 75,000 copies in South Africa. It is further documented that the Flaming Souls played an important community building role in Alexandra, raising funds to improve local schools and clinics.

Follow-up albums are reported as “Soul Time” and “Alex Stew”. Electric Jive does have “Alex Soul Menu” which you can find hereDoes anyone out there have any other recordings?

You can  find “Soul Time” with the Flaming Souls over at Soul Safari - here

And if you have not heard it yet – “Soul Bandit” from Almon Memela’s AM Stragglers is another important milestone in this genre - here

From Ray Nkwe’s liner notes:
“It was nearly one Sunday morning when I arrived home from a whole-night jazz gig exhausted and tired and all that jazz. I asked my wife not to disturb me while I took a nap. When I work up late that afternoon she told me that The Flaming Souls had been to see me, but they did not want to disturb me while I was resting. Without saying a word I called out for my daughter, but instead of her answering to the call, her mother said “SHE’s GONE”.

“What do you mean she’s gone?”, I asked.

“Well, she left with The Flaming Souls. You know she’s in love with The Souls, now she’s gone with them to Mafolo Hall for an afternoon show,” was her answer.

“Oh I dig baby, I dig. So my girl is gone with The Flaming Souls.” I said. “I’ll see that something is done about it.”

After  a few days I met Herman Fox, The Soul’s lead guitarist. I told him what had happened the Sunday when they went to Mafolo Hall via my house, and the answer I got from my wife when I called my daughter. He laughed.

“She’s gone”, he repeated. “Well soul brother, I shall surely write a song about that. “She’s gone”, and I am sure you’ll like it,” he said.

That was the birth of this outstanding album by the Fabulous Flaming Souls. The first non-white group of southern African that introduced Soul Music in LIVE PERFORMANCES. So they can easily be referred to as Pioneers of Soul.

About the music. Surely you can feel its SOULFULNESS yet MELLONESS. Take a song like SOUL WORLD,  more especially when she’s gone. This time not my daughter but the one you so dearly LOVE. Then we move to the outskirts of town, Mexico. There we meet women in colourful dresses and men with big sombreros, dancing to the soulful music played on guitars and bongo drums. How sweet SACRAMENTO is.

About the music makers.  In the year 1964, a young man by the name of Simon Twala had a brainwave which resulted in the formation of a group called The Anchors, whose members were six other Alexandra Township lads, Herman Fox, Ezrom Kgomo, Phillip Malela, Abram Rapoo, Gerard Khoza, and Collins Mashigo.

The group played together for four years and then there was a split. Simon then formed the now known Flaming Souls. These Fabulous Flaming Souls were formed in February 1968 and, Oh Boy ... since then soul has been the talk of the town. In other words Alexandra Township is the home of soul greats a la South Africa. Today, the whole country is full of soul groups.

Ray Nkwe
President, Jazz Appreciation Society of South Africa.
Cover photo: Alf Khumalo
Liner Photos: Dave Diale
Producer: Ray Nkwe
Recorded 2nd and 10th June 1969 at the Johannesburg studios of Audio Kine Africa.

Simon Twala - Leader/ Bass Guitar; Gerard Khoza - Organ & Drums; Kenneth Mosito - Organ; Herman Fox - Lead  Guitar; Phillip Mallela – Vocals & Drums.
Mediafire NEW CLEAN download here


  1. Wow! Lucky to have this! Lucky to have EJ doing such heroic work. THANKS!

  2. Gerard Khoza - later in National Wake!

  3. I can't download this one. A click on the given link always to a list of PREVIOUS downloads and the systems gets ready for re-download, in bulk or singly. What do I do?

  4. Just tested it Manzo - from my side it seems to be working fine. I have not received any other concerns. Try again.

  5. I have figured it out, Chris. There wasn't anything wrong - just a different display, 'My Files' of AVAILABLE downloads that I misinterpreted as my PREVIOUS downloads - because at a glance I saw some of the items I had already downloaded. A closer look revealed this gem was also on the list. It turns out the 'MY files' is actually 'YOUR (up-loader's) files'!
    I was 14 when this one hit the airwaves and now I'm nearly 60!
    Thanks stacks for the post.

  6. On the song "She's Gone" the record skips a couple times at 1:12. Could that be fixed?

  7. hi Sibu - apologies for the delay in replying. I have just uncovered an unplayed copy of this album, ... I will put it on my list of things to do ... please be patient ..

  8. Sibu, Manzo and others - a new crisp and clean version of the album is now available for download - check the link. Best wishes

  9. 'She's Gone' and the scratch is gone!
    Many thanks, Chris.

  10. Thank you for keeping my dad's story alive, it seem like just yesterday when he had all jazz musicians at home. It is with greatest gratitude to know that there are people who still keeping his name alive. keep up the good work. Muchly appreciated. Re A Leboga.

  11. Thank you, looking forward to this!

  12. Two years later bumping into this article very heart warming. Thank you for this article I cherish it and aprreciate the appreciation of my dad's music and love of his flaming souls. I'm sure Simon Jika Twala is smiling up there. Thank you looking forward to sharing this with my kids#thankful daughter

  13. Thank you Nat for your sincere message - this means a lot to us


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