You may remember my posts (here and here) about the "South African Jive" series of cassettes which I bought in London in the mid-1980's.
Following the last of these two posts one of the followers of this blog emailed me to inform me that his friend Keith had created and sold those cassettes from his African/Latin records stall in Camden Market. "They were naturally very popular and sold well, and now seem to be doing the collector's rounds via the web. None of this was sold as CDs because it was all before CDs were easy to home-copy, and long before the web and mp3s", he added. In a later mail he recalled that Keith moved to teach Economics in Botswana University.
I promised to share the other three cassettes with you, and am doing so in this post.
I know Volume 3 has been posted on the ElectricJive blog, but I am still posting it again. Although on principal I have no objections to removing noise from noisy, crackly or hissy analog recordings, I am inclined to be cautious when it comes to older recordings. And in my humble opinion some of the character of the originals has been lost in the version posted by ElectricJive.
My favourite tracks on the first volume were the two tracks by the Transvaal Rocking Jazz Stars accompanying the Dark City Sisters. On the third volume they have been my favourites too for a long time, until I visited South Africa in the late 1990's and began to understand the atmosphere which must have led to the other of these instrumental tracks. Since then my favourites have broadened, to include guitarist Rex Ntuli and the remarkable Boy Masaka (I hope you haven't missed the special at ElectricJive).
Volume 4 has perhaps the most varied selection in the series. It has instrumental tracks, including the lovely "Matcheketcheke" by Steven & His Twisters, some by illustrious vocal groups like the Dark City Sisters (with a version of "Langa More" without the "tap tap"), Black Mambazo (not to be confused with Ladysmith B.M.) and the Killingstone Stars, plus some brilliant more 'ethnic' (for lack of a more appropriate description) songs. Especially the latter stand out, like the soulful "Udokotela" by Mekuyise Maphumulo & Party and Alfred Muchunu's "Umakhlehlana", which - most of the time - is my favourite on this cassette.
Volume 5, titled "Soweto Special", has a whopping 20 tracks, including (oh bliss!) seven by the Flying Jazz Queens and five very diverse tracks by Black Mambazo. Top favourites are the three tracks by the Flying Jazz Queens on the B-side, which to me have a wonderful feeling of decisiveness. These ladies are not kidding, and know what they want!
I would also like to mention the two tracks by Frans Mdau, - and in case you are wondering: I didn't 'accidently' remove the beginning of "Hey Cherrie", this is the way it is on the cassette...
South African Jive Vol. 3 or (MF) Vol. 3
South African Jive Vol. 4 or (MF) Vol. 4
South African Jive Vol. 5 or (MF) Vol. 5