Monday, 28 September 2015

Indoda Mahlatini Na Madodana (1979)

Today's share is a 1979 album by the legendary mbaqanga groaner himself - Simon 'Mahlathini' Nkabinde.

Mahlathini's 1970s career had been decorated with a series of hits and misses. In late 1972, the groaner left the Mahotella Queens and joined a new group formed by some of the same ladies called Amakhosazana. A two-year period saw immense success, unsigned, but ended abruptly after the members were ripped off and cheated by aspiring impresario Piet Ntuli. Mahlathini and Amakhosazana ended up at Satbel under the careful production of C.B. Matiwane, this time recording as Mahlathini and The Queens. The gutsy, tough and raw music produced during this era can be found on the excellent Earthworks compilations The Lion of Soweto and King of the Groaners, as well here on Electric Jive. Matiwane's involvement in Satbel eventually waned and the company disintegrated around 1977. Mahlathini and The Queens moved over to CCP (a local subsidiary of EMI) under the production of none other than Piet Ntuli. Two LPs were produced (one of which can be found here) until Ntuli's corrupt ways finally dissolved the band. The Queens disintegrated but Mahlathini and Ndlondlo Bashise stayed on at EMI, this time under the production of the groaner's friend, sax jiver and occasional vocalist Bra Sello Mmutung.

By the time Indoda Mahlatini Na Madodana was recorded, mbaqanga had already started its sharp decline after a 15-year period as the preferred sound of the townships. In many ways this album is a pure oddity, combining the raw Satbel-era sound with some rather gaudy electric keyboard and - on one track - disco drums. Nonetheless, there are some goodies here. "Siyabuza" is fiery Mahlathini at his best, duetting with longtime musical associate Lazarus 'Boy Nze' Magatole. "Akekho" is another tune in the same great vein. Mahlathini, Boy Nze and Bra Sello handle most of the vocals, although they are joined by the Mahlathini Girls - Lindiwe Gamedi, Gugu Sithole and Hilda Tausi - on three of the tracks.

A strange one... but definitely worth a listen. Enjoy!


produced by Bra Sello
Goli GOL (E) 307
Zulu Vocal

Monday, 14 September 2015

Atlantic City Soul Step (1969-74)

Anyone for a little call and response? I was racking my brains on what to post today and found myself drifting towards Chris' wonderful Young Lovers post from last week. I have recently digitized a great deal of the flatinternational archive and thought the time was ripe to visit some 45 RPMs issued on the electrifying Atlantic City label.

Perhaps with the exception of City Special no other label captures the sheer vitality of the 1970s soul jive scene in South Africa. With David Thekwane as producer this Teal label hosted some of the brightest, craziest organ infected dance music of the day. Notables artists include the Flaming Souls, the Young Lovers and the VIPs. The music is raw, repetitive and intoxicating and at moments I find it drawing me back to some classic live Velvet Underground recordings. I would recommend mega-bass if your amplifier allows for it!

Compiled by flatint for Electric Jive


01) The Young Lovers - Organ A Go-Go - Atlantic City - AYB 1050 - 1969
02) The Flaming Souls - Soul Underground - Atlantic City - AYB 1066 - 1969
03) The Yupps - Yupps A Go-Go - Atlantic City - AYB 1083 - 1970
04) The Daffodils - Organ Tornado - Atlantic City - AYB 1089 - 1970
05) The Soul Crusaders - Simply Sweet - Atlantic City - AYB 1096 - 1970
06) The Yupps - Ikageng Soul - Atlantic City - AYB 1083 - 1970
07) Long John - True Monkey Soul - Atlantic City - AYB 1054 - 1969
08) The Young Lovers - Soul Ma Java-Java - Atlantic City - AYB 1100 - 1970
09) The Young Lovers - Fire Works - Atlantic City - AYB 1100 - 1970
10) Soul Explosions - Shiela - Atlantic City - AYB 1109 - 1971
11) The Brights - Soul on Soul - Atlantic City - AYB 1110 - 1971
12) The VIPs - Scare Them - Atlantic City - AYB 1132 - 1972
13) The VIPs - Spin Out - Atlantic City - AYB 1132 - 1972
14) The VIPs - Uncle Champ - Atlantic City - AYB 1135 - 1972
15) The Strollers - Sweet Ruth - Atlas City - ATB 703 - 1974
16) The Strollers - Congo's Corner - Atlas City - ATB 703 - 1974

Monday, 7 September 2015

The Young Lovers (1972)

Staying with 1972, a somewhat special soul and "afro-rock" offering that  will blow the socks off some of you. Well produced, tight band, strong vocals, with some echoes of West Coast 70s acid rock influences evident. The overall feel and some of the brass and flute arrangements remind me of elements of Arthur Lee's "Love".

Stand-out tracks among the five original compositions are the Zamrock-style "Tikoloshi" and "Feeling Shy". An EJ visitor has been hunting the brooding anthemic "Naledi" for years.

One of the reasons I chose to post this album "now" was because I knew there was nothing  I could tell you about the band - and I am just too short of time to put together a more substantial text for some other album. No info on the album or labels, and if you try and google "The Young Lovers", it gives you a flood of options, none of which seemed relevant to this album. This album speaks for itself though, enjoy!

Download link here

Monday, 31 August 2015

The Movers Greatest Hits: Volume Six (1972)

 It has been a while since we posted anything from this stand-out seventies band. Electric Jive still has some way to go in documenting the prolific output of a band that started with soul, and changed with the times, chewing up and delivering distinctly South African takes on ska, pop, bump, disco and more during a hugely prolific decade.

Like Siemon's 2011 post of Volume 4 from the Movers, here, this and next week's post - perhaps another Movers rarity - are put together in more of a hurry than I would like, as I try and complete my "to-do" list ahead of some required travel.

If you have not worked it out yet, check out the search bar on the right hand side of this blog. If you type in "Movers" there you will get a listing (at the top of the page) of seven previous posts on this blog. Enjoy!

Download link here

Monday, 24 August 2015

Roots Crossover

Another reposting from the archives this week. This time from 1982. I first heard it on cassette in 1983 and had been searching high and low for it for some time. Its an uneasy crossover that combines lots of 4x4 drumming, Zulu vocals and plenty of keyboard. I love some of the tracks and thinking back it was a nice contrast to the work of artists like Juluka, Via Afrika, Hotline and others that were attempting different combinations of western and indigenous styles. 

From the sleeve notes:
"Music crosses all boundaries and is understood. The culmination of two years in a working together atmosphere which epitomises music team. A concept album that is pure Africa The crossover influence of two totally diverse styles...that of Tom Mkhize and Glynn Storm" 

Glynn Storm was best known for this work with SA rock group Backtrax whilst Tom Mkize had many gold records as artists and producer with groups such as The Daffodils and Abangani. 

African Image - Roots Izimpande (SPINL 3313, 1982)
1. Ibhanoyi (Fly Machine)
2. Ikhalaphi (War Cry)
3. The Way I Feel
4. Isoka Liyatatzela (Uneasy Playboy)
5. Utshwala Bumnandi (African Beer)
6. From the Roots
Sibusiso Mbatha (lead vocals), Abangani (backing vocals), Denny Lalouette (bass), Jethro Butow (guitar), Kendall Kay (drums, percussion), Glynn Storm (keyboards). Arranged and produced by Tom Mkhize and Glynn Storm.


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Malombo - 1984 Live from the Old Main Hall, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Gabriel 'Mabi' Thobejane and Philip Tabane, Market Café 1976 (Photo: David Marks)

Today another repost from the old matsuli blog:
Philip Tabane is the founder of the group Malombo, a Venda word for spirit. Today he is known as Dr Malombo and whilst the group has been through many iterations over the past 45 years they are still performing and astounding audiences worldwide. 

My introduction to Malombo was at University in 1982 when a friend passed on a dubbed cassette copy of The Indigenous Afro-Jazz Sounds of Philip Tabane and his Malombo Jazzman. Later I saw him play at the Rainbow Jazz Club in Durban and at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg. In 1984 I worked in a team to put on a series of concerts by Malombo under the auspices of the United Democratic Front - a non-racial coalition of about 400 civic, church, students', workers' and other organisations. We organised three concerts including one at the University's Old Main Hall from where the live recording being shared today comes from. 

Guitar scorcerer Philip Tabane at the Old Main Hall, University of Natal Pietermaritzburg, South Africa 1984 (Photo: Natal Witness) 

I find it difficult to express the power and beauty that comes from his performances. So I will leave it to a sleeve note writer to paint a picture: "Malombo's music is a blend of the sophisticated and the primeval, of electric and traditional instrumentation, of tone poems about the natural world and its close link to human communities. Malombo has strong roots in traditional African music but they draw from such a broad spectrum of influences as to render categorizations difficult. If you can imagine an African Chuck Berry who plays six flutes at one time awhile humming and singing, you're beginning to visualise the persona of Philip Tabane - leader of the group." (from the sleeve notes to the Kaya self-titled release)

For a long time I've lamented the fact that the Malombo back catalogue has fallen into disarray. Currently only five from a total of 13 releases are commercially in print. And of these five there is one obscure release - SIlent Beauty - not even credited to Phiip Tabane or Malombo. Recently Francis Gooding compiled an anthology of featuring the Julian Bahula branch stream of Malombo. You can find that here.

A (near) comprehensive discography is available at FlatInternational

The recording being shared was taped directed from the mixing desk but unfortunately has been through a few generations of dubbing before being digitised. I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Alpheus Ramavhea - Ndo Shavha Tshikolo (1982)

Alpheus Ramavhea ranks alongside Eric Mukhese and the Takalani Band, Irene Mawela, Daniel Luambo, Colbert Mukwevho and Adziambei Band as one of the most influential Venda artists of all time. Today we share Ramavhea's 1982 album, Ndo Shavha Tshikolo, released on the Igagasi label and produced by Mavuthela guitarist Marks Mankwane.

By the late 1970s, Irene Mawela had become highly revered by Venda listeners and artists alike as the first artist to record mbaqanga songs in her mother tongue. (Record companies generally discouraged artists from recording songs in 'unsellable' languages, so the bulk of Irene's compositions were written in Zulu and Sotho for Gallo to release on 45rpm singles. Irene would then translate most of these into Venda for airplay on the then-Radio Venda, a unique move making her the first 'pop star' of the station when all other music broadcast was labelled 'traditional'.) Alpheus Ramavhea signed a recording contract with Gallo/Mavuthela in about 1979 and was immediately joined by Irene in the studio, who provided backing vocals and offered suggestions on how to make his sound more distinctive over potential competitors.

With the help of both Irene and guitarist and producer Marks Mankwane, Ramavhea's laidback vocals, groaning moans and acoustic picking were infused with the trademark mbaqanga sound. Ndo Shavha Tshikolo is Alpheus Ramavhea at his best, featuring twelve foot-stomping tracks. The vocal patterns here are just excellent and the backup is crisp. Particular highlights include "Vhuhadzi" (that is Irene doing the solo halfway through the song), "Muhadzinga", "Tshililo" and "Lufuno". Simply great music!


produced by Marks Mankwane
engineered by Keith Forsyth
Igagasi IAL 3029
Venda Vocal