music for restaurants, nightclubs and lounges in Johannesburg 1964, South Africa
this particular collection of records started mainly for the fabulous covers. Little by little I started to collect a musical map of Johannesburg and discovered the music on these albums that were originally released in the early and mid 60’s in very limited quantities. Of course this selection gives only a restricted view of the popular music of the 60’s in South Africa. Remember this was pre-1994, long before Apartheid ended. In those days black musicians and artists were simply banned from performing in restaurants, nightclubs and theatres frequented by the white ruling class. Popular black music like Mbaqanga, Zulu Jive, Marabi, Kwela or African Jazz was reserved for the townships or could be heard via local black radio-stations.
All featured artists on the album ‘Johannesburg Nightclub Festival 1964’ were regulars on the circuit of restaurants, nightclubs and lounges of the big hotels in Johannesburg or working in other big cities like Durban or Cape Town, or they were residing in holiday resorts in Lourenco Marques, now Maputo in Mozambique.
Little by little I became fascinated with the nightlife of Johannesburg in the 1960’s. It must have been quite a jolly good time for the people who could live and party there at the time.
Imagine all the wealth and privileges of the era. The start of a swinging nightlife based on the customs and culture of Europe, USA and the rest of the world rolled into one.
the LP ‘Johannesburg Night Club Festival’ kicks off with an introduction to the music by the bands and vocalists of those restaurants who have contributed to this album. Due to contractual reasons their names are not credited but the restaurants participating are ‘Tiffany’s’, ‘His Majesty’s Cellar’, ‘The Balalaika’, ‘The Grove’, ‘Dawson’s’ and ‘The Colony’
None of these places exist any longer. The original sites have been demolished or renovated and the map of the nightlife in Johannesburg has dramatically changed since the day of recording these tunes