Archive for the ‘Township Soul & Boogie’ Category

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Keep On Bumping-South African Disco & Boogie – Part 2

January 14, 2017

 

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see also Keep on Bumping in 2017 -South African Disco & Boogie Part 1

here is the second part of  the story of South African Disco & Boogie, published in the 3rd volume of “Hot Stuff” the online magazine focusing mainly on Disco & Boogie. See pages 19 through 25 for the full spread….

SOUL GEMS, BOOGIE BOMBS, DISCO DYNAMITE and ULTRA-RARE HOLYGRAILS !!!

BOOGIE WONDERLAND

botsoso-soundtrack-cover-watermarked      In the first South African disco movie “Botsotso” (1979), the recurring plot is a fairy tale similar to the story of Cinderella. The hero is a dustman who wants to go to the ball, but like Cinderella, he does not have the approriate clothes. Miraculously, he gets the clothes, wins the princess and the respect of his peers. By the end of the film his brother is no longer ashamed of him, and in the followup Botsotso 2 (1983), leading man Luki starts as a cook, but ends up owning the disco.

The suggestion is that class mobility can be effected by changing one’s clothes and learning to dance. Of course that idea is a wellknown theme that was first glorified in the classic disco movie ‘Saturday Night Fever’, starring John Travolta as Tony Manero, a troubled youth from Brooklyn who found glory on the dance floor.

The success of disco music was soon spreading over South Africa as wildfire. Many youth from the townships were trekking to the big cities to find fame and glory under the mirror ball. Simultaneously eager producers from local record companies, always keen on easy sales, flocked to the dancefloors to watch the action. Some great talent escaped the poverty and grim life of the townships and made it big. But most of these young hopefuls ended up as one-hit wonders or simply took the bus back to their homelands on a one-way ticket.

harari-home-brew-album-cover-watermarked             One of the biggest names to dominate the booming disco scene of the 1970s was Harari, even being invited to perform in the US with jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela in 1978. During this tour, the band’s leader Selby Ntuli died, leaving Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse as the new leader. This eclectic ensemble was impossible to categorise; mixing funk and disco with jazz, while also using traditional African instruments to create a completely unique sound that many tried, but failed to imitate. They were the ultimate party band, yet boasted some of the best musicians around at the time, such as Alec ‘Om’ Khaoli and Lionel Petersen. The single ‘Party’ from the album ‘Heatwave’ (Gallo 1980) even entered the American Disco Charts giving the group worldwide exposure and making a superstar of Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse. Harari will forever hold legendary status, even after their split in 1982.

Another star of that same era is Blondie Chaplin, a former member of Durban’s soul & rock band The Flames who made it quite big on his own, while scoring his biggest hits with Pappa Makhene.

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A select Blondie discography on 45 rpm

Blondie And Pappa ‎– Don’t Burn Your Bridges / Boogie On Up -Bullet ‎– B150 (1978)

Blondie And Pappa -I Can’t Get Along Without You / I’m Here, You’re There –CCP Records –CCP1 (1980)

Blondie And Pappa -Going Home To My Mama / I Like It –CCP Records –CCP7 (1980)

Blondie And Pappa -Never Gonna Let You Go / Cape To Nassau –CCP Records –CCP17 (1981)

Spankk featuring Blondie –The Air That I Breathe (Love Of My Life) / Hallelujah (Praise His Name) -Family ‎– FLY 507 (1983)

Blondie ‎– Communicate / Sugar I Like It   -Family ‎– FLY 517 (1984)

Blondie ‎– Overtime/D Good Day   -Family ‎– FLY 528 (1985)

TEEN IDOLS & THE FOUNDATION OF ZOMBA/JIVE RECORDS

Another dance success story in the mid 70s came from Cape Town with The Rockets, a band and dance group fronted by singer Ronnie Joyce who would later go solo to become South Africa’s youngest child star at 13. He was discovered by the popular soul crooner Richard Jon Smith, who introduced his protegee to producer Cliver Calder . This ex-South African correspondent for Billboard magazine would relocate to the UK in 1974 where he would form Zomba Records with his partner Ralph Simon.

little-ronnie-joyce-working-on-a-groovy-thing-cover-watermarkedRonnie Joyce’s biggest inspiration of course was young Michael Jackson, whom he resembled with his afro hairdo and funky dance moves. The band had a number of hits like ‘Surrender’, ‘Situations’, ‘Ooh La La’ and ‘Gimme A Break (Dance). Ronnie Joyce embarked on a solo career and released hits like ‘Working On A Good Thing’ and ‘What Went Wrong With Us?’. The young singer teamed up on TV shows and radio programs with another child star; Jonathan Butler. jonathan-butler-front-cover-watermarked

Best known nowadays as a respected and well known jazz artist in the Cape Jazz genre Jonathan Butler started his career as a teen idol in the same vein as Justin Bieber. The album ‘Spotlight on Jonathan Butler’ contains a selection of uptempo soul & boogie tunes and some classic soul ballads, produced by Peter Vee for Clive Calder Productions.

BREAK DANCE PARTY

Breakdancing, another street craze that started in the New York slums of Bronx and Harlem in the US took the South African youth by storm in 1984, especially in the urban areas. Hot US albums by Break Machine ‘Break Dance Party’, produced by Jacques Morali and Henri Belolo, fueled the popularity of dance styles like the head spin, moonwalking, electric boogie, spider and glide in South Africa where local acts became known nationwide. The Ghetto Slickers, a high energy breakdance trio from the house of popular singer, dancer, actor and disc jockey Cocky ‘Two Bull’ Tlhotlhalemajoe became the most popular dance act.

The Black Consciousness movement of the seventies promoted locally by activists like Steve Bantu Biko as well as African American artists like James Brown, saw individuals and organisations contribute towards building the self-esteem of the oppressed masses of South Africa. ‘Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud’ became the slogan for black South Africa.

In 1985 the Black Glamour Exhibition in Johannesburg showcased progressive young blacks and their culture. Amongst the musicians who participated in this massive show of self-pride were Ebony, Stimela, Street Kids, Pappa & Blondie a.o.

THE BIG BANG

But nobody was prepared for the tsunami that in 1986 would sweep the country when came Paul Simon released his ‘Graceland’ album. The release of this worldwide hit record created an enormous international interest in South African musicians and their music. Simon faced controversy for seemingly breaking the cultural boycott imposed by the rest of the world against South Africa because of its policy of apartheid. In addition, some black critics viewed Graceland as an exploitive appropriation of their culture.

Back in 1972, after breaking up his career with Simon & Garfunkel, he had already succesfully engaged Jamaican artists to bring the reggae effect into his music. In 1985 Simon engaged South African musicians like Ray Phiri, Isaac Mtshali, Bakithi Khumalo and Ladysmith Black Mambazo in the recording of the ‘Graceland’ album in New York. The rest is history.

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Earlier in 1985 Stevie Wonder demonstrated outside the South African Embassy in Washington and released an album ‘In Square Circle’ that same year. On a protest track ‘It’s Wrong (Apartheid) exiled South African musicians Tshepo Mokone, Thandeka Ngono, Linda Tshabalala and Fana Kekana were featured as backing vocalists. In 1987 Michael Jackson asked Letta Mbulu for the song “Liberian Girl” that was part of his groundbreaking album ‘Bad’.

Local record companies responded to this with a non-stop flow of dance records that initially broke first on the radio, followed by success on dancefloors.

The radio broadcast industry, which had earlier seen the end of the SABC’s monopoly with the launch of Radio SR in 1977 with black deejays broadcasting in English, was more diversified then most radio stations. When Radio SR introduced South Africans to smooth talking jocks like Cocky ‘Two Bull’ Tlhotlhalemajoe, Meshack Mapetla or Danisile Lavisa, many young black boys and girls started gearing themselves to a wider and freer broadcasting industry. The radio landscape would never be the same.

Suddenly there was airtime and a healthy market for locally produced black dance music that came from within the community itself, not being imported from US or UK. Labels like On Records, formed by Ronnie Robot, Sound of Soweto and Flash dominated the local markets.

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Here is a personal and select discography of my favourite South African SOUL GEMS, BOOGIE BOMBS, DISCO DYNAMITE and ULTRA-RARE HOLYGRAILS !!!

Not many of these releases ever made it further then the borders of South Africa, but they are not forgotten! Just like Cinderella, these records are waiting to be rediscovered after a period of obscurity and neglect.

By no means do I claim that this list is complete….still adding!

Letta Mbulu -I’ll Never Be The Same LP -Tamla Motown ‎– TMC 5242 (1973)–rare LP by a South African legend, one of the holy grails

Little Ronnie Joyce –Give A Little Love / Working On A Good Thing –Bullet Records (B14) (1974)

Jonathan Butler -‘Spotlight on Jonathan Butler’ -MFP 54748 (1975)

Lionel Petersen –I’ll Take You Where The Music’s Playing -Plum Records (PLC 5019) (1975)

Rene Richie and her Cosmic Band –Love In Space -Gallo Records ML 4181 (1978) –Italo Disco from South Africa

Qondile Nxumalo –Mad World / Uthando Olungaka -Soul Brother (PB 75) 1978

Malcolm Soul –Mr. Cool / I’m Gonna Give In CTV Disco -CTS 715 (year of release unknown)

Botsotso –original soundtrack –Buffalo Records (BFL 1005) (1979)

Thandeka Ngono –s/t –Atlantic (ATC 8004) (1979)

Alec ‘Om’ Khaoli –Magic Touch / Be My Wife Gallo Records –PD2007 (1981)

Masike “Funky” Mohapi -Hamba Sibali Wami (pts 1 & 2) –Raintree Records (RAB 311) (1982)

Caiphus Semenya ‎– Listen To The Wind Moonshine 2002 (1982)

Dudu Mazibuku & The Paper Dolls –Disco Beat / Botsoso Girl -Zasha Records (AAB3) (1983)

Piliso –Thumela –Peach River Records (BBSLP 02) (1983)

Brenda & The Big Dudes ‎– Weekend Special Family Records ‎– FLY(V) 4 (1983)

Brenda & The Big Dudes ‎– Let’s Stick Together Family Records ‎– FLY(V) 8 (1984)

Street Kids –Try Me (Game Nr. 2) Right Track PRO RTS 35 (1984)

Ebony – I Need Somebody / You Are The One–Right Track Records (RTS 619) (1985)

Tata –It’s A Mess / Afro Breakdance -Hot Stuff (HST (C) 1507 (1985)

Eric D -Slow Down / Nothing For Nothing -Sounds of Soweto (SOS 2) (1988)

Travolta –Leb 3 (Amarovers) Bubblee Records (Buble 5) (1988)

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SA boogie/disco/Mbaqanga & some rare jazz

January 9, 2017

 

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the-big-six-ngoaneso

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the-toppers-akukho-label

the-special-5-isondo-liyadilaya

the-special-5-indoda

the-blue-revues-spook-mahala

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and a few rare field recordings as well….

AFRICAN SANCTUS – For African tapes, choir, operatic soprano, light soprano, shouter, African drummer, rock drummers, two percussion, electric guitar, bass guitar, piano, and Hammond M.100 organ.

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rare recording of an actual auction of tobacco in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Published by Tobacco Auctions Limited, Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia

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Keep on Bumping in 2017 -South African Disco & Boogie Part 1

December 26, 2016

 

Keep on Bumping in 2017…

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Syndicate – Keep On Bumping

Scroll to page 18-24 for Soul Gems & Bump Music in this volume of  ‘Hot Stuff’. The story of South African Disco & Boogie Part 1…discover how  soul singer Margaret Singana became known as Lady Africa….read a collector’s story on one of the rarest records by Percy Sledge produced and recorded for a South African movie…and remember why David Thekwane and Patricia Majalisa became household names in South Africa and beyond.

Percy Sledge -Soul Fire 

This post features an extended article on South African Disco & Boogie I wrote for the ‘Hot Stuff’ online magazine. This specialist publication is recommended wholeheartedly, chockablock with  interesting interviews, articles, reviews and memorabilia of the Disco era.

More rare stuff in Part 2 of South African Disco & Boogie to be published soon…

Thank you for being a part of Soul Safari! Just to let you know that Soul Safari appreciates your visit to these pages. May 2017 be a safe, prosperous and healthy year for all of you!

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Township Soul & Boogie vol 14-Babsy Mlangeni -Botloko Tsebe 1990

February 3, 2016

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today’s post features a rare 12″ boogie track by one of South Africa’s soul singers, sung in the Sotho language.  See also the interview held with the singer for Poor magazine….

Babsy Mlangeni:

I started making music professionally in 1968 and my 1st single that took me to the top was “Sala Ema” which was a huge block buster which in 1969…What do I think about South African music? The music scene in South Africa is very diverse it has multiple ganders and the interesting part is in each indigenous group it has its own traditional music, so I think that SA Music is very rich, especially since the youth is starting to remix some of the indigenous traditional songs….

read the full interview with Babsy Mlangeni here

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Babsy Mlangeni -Botloko Tsebe

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Babsy Mlangeni -Robala Ka Khotso

 

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Soul Safari Yuletide 2015 Mix -Township Boogie & Disco

December 18, 2015

Merry Christmas. Buon Natale. Joyeux Noël.

Geseende Kersfees (“Merry Christmas” in Afrikaans) from Soul Safari

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….in 2016 Soul Safari continues to post about long lost music from Africa …. and more.

A  blessed Christmas season and a prosperous New Year 2016 to all

let peace and love conquer

 

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 this extended mix features rare gems from my collection of South African boogie and disco from  1977-1985.

Soul Safari YULETIDE MIX DEC 2015

Thandeka -Nkosi Sikelela

Kabasa -Burning Splinters

Kabasa -Happy Together

Ashanti -Keep On Dancing

Harari -Good Vibes

Masike ‘Funky’ Mohapi -Hamba Sibali Wami (pt 1)

Masike ‘Funky’ Mohapi -Hamba Sibali Wami (pt 2)

Hot Soul Singers -Give Me (My Love Back)

The VIP’s -Loading Zone

Abakhwenyana -Zikhe Thele

Pat Shange -Thembi

Abigail Kubekha -Tell Me

Abigail Kubekha -Tell Me continued

Malcolm Soul -Mr Cool

Quondile Nxumalo -Mad World

Mavis Maseko & The Movers -Living For The City

Sunset feat Hot Soul Singers -She Looks Good

Patricia Africa -Sala Sithandwa

Soul Safari X Mas greetings

vader krismis 2015

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Township Soul & Boogie Vol 13; Letta Mbulu -I’ll Never Be The Same (Mosadi) -Tamla Motown

October 21, 2015

see also hey sista, go sista, soul sista -Township Soul & Boogie

hey sista, go sista, soul sista -Township Soul & Boogie Vol 2

as part 13 in the series Township Soul & Boogie I proudly present one of Letta Mbulu’s rarest albums in existence. It may be one of those records that people sometimes refer to as a ‘holy grail’. “I’ll Never Be The Same (Mosadi)”  is without a doubt an ultra rare ‘lost’ Letta Mbulu LP, released only in South Africa on the Tamla Motown label in 1973.

Letta Mbulu -I'll Never Be The Same front watermarked

Actually, this LP is a compilation of material that was previously released on several albums with  some new songs added, probably recorded between 1970-1973. Parts of this album consists of songs that Letta recorded frequently as part of musical aggregates put together by Hugh Masekela – most spectacularly as part of the anonymous collective known as Africa ‘68 (which was also later credited as “The Zulus”), where she took the lead on “Uyaz’ Gabisa,” “Noyana,” “Aredze” (which she’d earler performed on Letta Mbulu Sings) and “Kedumetse.”

All tracks on this LP beautifully showcase Mbulu’s gorgeous vocal capacities and the heritage of Zulu songs stand out as proud witnesses of Letta’s South African origins.

Born and raised in Soweto, South Africa on 23 August 1942,  she has been active as as singer since the 1960s. While still a teenager she toured with the musical King Kong, — but left for the United States in 1965 due to Apartheid.

In New York she connected with other South African exiles including Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Jonas Gwangwa, and went on to work with Cannonball Adderley, David Axelrod and Harry Belafonte.

On screen, her singing can also be heard in Roots, The Color Purple (1985), and the 1973 film A Warm December,[ and she was a guest on a Season 6 episode of Soul Train. Mbulu also provided the Swahili chant in Michael Jackson’s single, “Liberian Girl”. Producer Quincy Jones has said of her: “Mbulu is the roots lady, projecting a sophistication and warmth which stirs hope for attaining pure love, beauty, and unity in the world.”

see her full biography presented by douglas payne
http://www.dougpayne.com/lmbio.htm

Letta Mbulu -I'll Never Be The Same back watermarked

Letta Mbulu  ‎– I’ll Never Be The Same (Mosadi)
Tamla Motown ‎– TMC 5242

South Africa  1973

Letta Mbulu -I'll Never Be The Same label 1 watermarked

A1 I’ll Never Be The Same
A2 Kedumetse
A3 Now We May Begin
A4 Moya
A5 I Won’t Weep No More

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B1 Because Of You
B2 Uyaz Gabisa
B3 You Touched Me
B4 Aredze
B5 We’ve Got To Learn To Love

source; Wikipedia

thanks to reader and collector Afrikola!

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Play of the day – Stargo-Man boogie/disco South Africa 1989

March 27, 2015

Each week during the month of March Soul Safari presents a selection of  exquisite South African boogie/disco rarities. Final selection for March is this rare promo by South African singer Stargo-Man with 2 boogie/disco sides from  1989

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