Almon Memela is a South African guitarist who started recording music in 1959. His early career included performances at the legendary Dorkay House, gigs for the United Artists’ productions of King Kong, Mhobelo and he worked for the soundtrack of “Dingaka”, produced by Jamie Uys. See also my previous post on the original soundtrack of  Dingaka.

His very first recording with The Travelling Singers in 1960 sold enough to ensure a steady flow of singles and albums. In 1963 he formed his group, Almon’s Jazz Eight.

The Jazz Eight’s line-up included amongst others, Henry and Stanley Sithole (who joined the group around 1966) and Bunny Luthuli (in 1968). In 1969 the Sithole Brothers formed the Heshoo Beshoo Group before they and Luthuli established the Drive in 1971.


Memela and his group The A.M Stragglers recorded ‘Soul Bandit’ for Little Giant earlier in 1969.  Here’s a funky single from 1971, ‘The Mayfair Soul/While My Guitar Cries’, (Little Giant, 1971)  produced by Clive Calder.

 Almon’s Jazz Eight -The Mayfair Soul     

 Before he worked as a producer, Calder played in local bands in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is a UK based record executive and is also known as the businessman who co-founded the Zomba Group and its subsidiary Jive Records, an important outlet for hip hop and rap.

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