May 10, 2011

More South African jive

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

10 comments:

Timothy said...

@wrldsrv:

Many, many thanks for the Jive. It's the kind of music that conjures up beautiful African landscapes and sunny, bubbly townships. And naturally, it compels all to dance, nod or shake a leg in time with the spellbinding rythm.

Matt Temple said...

Many thanks Stefan..

david said...

Thank you for bringing these all together. You're right in stating that Black Mambaso were not the same as Ladysmith, but are notable as having featured both Mahlathini and his brother in their earliest recordings singing the deep groaning style. Gems galore!

miskov said...

Thank you very very much for posting this series!

Art of Peace Collective said...

What we've all been praying for. To be honest didn't even notice the editing of Vol.3 until you pointed it out. Will have to see how the two versions compare!

miskov said...

Evil blogger deleted my previous comment, so thank you very very much again for sharing this series.

WrldServ said...

@miskov: I can assure it wasn't me. And I have no idea why your earlier comment does not show (and the same goes for a comment by Art of Peace Collective), because it is not marked as spam...
I am truely puzzled.

miskov said...

Oh i didn't mean you, but the whole "blogger.com" thing. They've had some technical troubles and had to delete all the posts and comments made in the last day or so. Looks like posts are back now, but comments are not.
Please excuse me if i sounded offensive, that was more of a joke over this whole thing. Thank you again, I'm listening this tapes almost non-stop and enjoying every second.

Chris Albertyn said...

Thanks plenty Stefan -

FredrikO said...

Oh my! This year's most welcome post. I've been looking for more by the Flying Jazz Queens for a looong time. Thanks a billion!