Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Groovin' with Green Pastures (c1971)

Perhaps one of my favorite records is this rather obscure album by the Green Pastures issued on Durban's Raj label. The musicians are not necessarily "proficient" but their approach has a simplicity that is just hypnotic. Sitting somewhere between the soul sounds of the late 1960s and a kind of informal, stripped-down, quasi-surf-rock, the music only gets better when that elastic mbaqanga baseline occasionally enters. Don't Cry Baby is an excellent example of this rock-mbaqanga crossover, and was featured on my flatinternational mix posted at Matsuli in 2008. But the album has a number of other interesting and even strange gems like the final two tracks where the vocals are, at times, barely legible. These closing tracks almost sound like an amateur church band surfing a bit of Durban Poison!

I purchased the record from a seller in Durban in 2007 and I have only seen it come up on eBay one other time. There is next to zero information on the group and its members but judging from the cover photograph these guys appear to be serious mods or hipsters. I love the way the bassist is holding his instrument!

Another interesting detail is that the record used to be owned by Nanaboy Govender of Palmiet Road,  who carefully scrawled his name and phone number across both sides of the cover. Palmiet Road is located in Reservoir Hills an historically Indian suburb of Durban in apartheid South Africa. The Raj Record Company was located on Prince Edward Street in downtown Durban near the Raj Cinema and began pressing local recordings in 1967. The label included some of the best Indian rock groups of the day including The Raiders and The Vampires both featured here at Electric Jive. (For more information on Raj check out Chris and Matt's excellent posts). Green Pastures, as a black African group in this context, may have been somewhat unusual. But their music certainly gives a flavor of what the vibrant Durban scene must have sounded like 45 years ago.

Grooving' with Green Pastures is the 22nd Raj LP release and issued just before Vampires Undergound (RMC SLP 023), The Vampires second album and maybe Raj's last pressing. That record has, since Chris' posting, been restored and reissued on Pharaway Sounds and is now available on vinyl and CD. For more detailed images of the Green Pastures cover check out flatinternational.

Grooving with "Green Pastures"



  1. Excellent music, friends!
    it seems like a woman singing in 'Please come back to me'. However, it is a man. Silky voice.
    Good instrumental songs. Enjoying just now and my feet can't stop.
    Another rare gem for all of us. Many thanks to all EJ team!

  2. Hello Chris and Simeon,

    Firstly, many thanks for the excellent blog. I stumbled on it and I am glad I did.
    I've got two requests and I will be glad if you could indulge me;

    1. The recording referred to in this post;http://electricjive.blogspot.com.ng/2012/10/mankunku-with-cups-and-saucers-nkanuka.html how can i get it? I ask because it is an old post and the links therein are no longer valid. Please help me.

    2. I am a non-South African who is hugely immersed in the south African jazz scene. I have most of the popular recordings that have been in circulation in the last twenty years. From the Bra Hugh to Feya Falu to Taiwa to McCoy Mrubata to Winston NgozI to Kippie to to Bheki Mseleku to Sipho Gumede (just running the list to give yo uan idea of the sound of sound I enjoy). If you were to suggest one album that I probably will not have in my collection, what will you suggest? Preferably something from the past that will blow me away but very had to find. Of course something either of you would be able to provide :-)

    Many thanks in advance.
    I can be reached through rjakes10@gmail.com

  3. Hi there friends.
    You must try to fix something, because this 'Anonymous' comment above is in my gmail address.
    First it was your comment, Chris, sending to Siemon, now it is this Anonymous comment. jejejej Internet things.

    Big hug to you.

    1. Which anonymous comment is your address?
      are you serious?

      Chris/Simeon, kindly address my request (I was the anonymous comment) here. No need posting to the address (which by the way is mine). I was not logged in when I made the comment, hence the anonymous mode.

      Many thanks

    2. Relax Jakes - the anonymos comes aout becaue of theway you fill in the comments, or because you are not logged in. Both Siemon and mysel have full-time work and other responsibilities and we will reply as soon as we can makethe time. For now I am away from y computer completely for the next seven days. I will

  4. Hello Chris,

    I appreciate your response and do understand the demands of your life away from this blog.


  5. Можно ли востановить Файл?

  6. any chance of re-uploading this?


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