the week starts with a lot of snow, wind and icy temperatures….Winter! A perfect time of the year to bring out some really warm and soothing South African sounds.
One of the albums I found on my recent South African trip last October catched my attention for the strange cover -the keyhole!-and some awesome obscure titles. This rare album came from a black radio-station and the fact that the last track on side B had been censored simply blew my mind. Scratching out the track with a nail (!) and obscuring the typography on the label and artwork of the cover is quite bizarre although it was not an unusual practice in South Africa’s dark days of Apartheid. The reason for censoring remains unclear since Kid Manotcha’s ”Up The Chiefs” is actually an instrumental track but therefore all the more intruiging. More on banned beats in a future post.
Ever heard of groups like The Fast Move, Soul Rhythmers or Black Lightening? Or Kid Moncho and Izintombi Zodumo?? Well, I hadn’t either until I got this album, produced by Almon Memela, who also wrote a few of the compositions presented here in today’s post, a pick up on the thread Township Soul & Boogie.
Most of the artists on this LP are probably studio-musicians who worked with Almon Memela on several recordings in the bump and soul genre, styles that were popular in South Africa in 1975.
The best known track is the lovely ‘Three Steps To Heaven’, a cover of an original song by Eddie Cochran, the signature sound of the late 1950s. This brilliant gem is one of the best love songs of the 20th century and presented here in a good-humoured reggea-vibe.
CENSORED Kid Manotcha -Up The Chiefs
Soul Special -Highway Soul HSL 2000 -released in 1975
Almon Memala’s discography can be found at flatint. Thanks for the pic btw.