Township Soul & Boogie Vol 8; Soul Special -Almon Memela 1975

straatbeeld winter 3  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.

Almon Memela pic
Almon Memela

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.

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

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.

soul special cover front Soul Special label side 2

side 1

Izintombi Zodumo -Don’t Ever Think Of Leaving Me

The Fast Move -Change The Beat

Soul Rhythmers -Maria

Kid Moncho -Our Kind Of Bump

Black Ligthtening -Three Steps To Heaven

Soul Rhythmers -Open House

side 2

Soul Rhythmers -Hubby Is Home

Soul Rhythmers -Jackpot

Izintombi Zodumo -Mississippi River

Black Ligthtening -Blue Day

The Fast Move -No Time To Waste

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.

Percy Sledge’s Christmas Wish For You

Percy Sledge opened on Friday, May 29th 1970 at the Luxurama Theatre, Cape Town to stay for a long series of concerts and tours. Before that date the American singer had never set foot on South African soil.

See also Percy Sledge in South Africa 1970. And Percy Sledge in Soul Africa, a movie by Ashley Lazarus 1971

This rare album, released in 1969 in South Africa, showcases the best of Percy Sledge with a few Christmas songs added as a bonus. And a very special wish for his dear friends in South Africa.

[click to enlarge]

psledge -xmas wish edit

Merry Christmas!

Prosperity & Peace.

Health & Happiness.

Love & Laughter.

Music & more Music!

Percy Sledge -Christmas Wish

psledge -my special wish cover

psledge -my special wish cover back

Percy Sledge -Silent Night

Percy Sledge-A Special Wish For You -Atlantic Records ATC 9214 

LP released in South Africa 1969

Percy Sledge -A Christmas Wish -Silent NIght -released as 45 rpm single SA 1969
Percy Sledge -A Christmas Wish -Silent NIght -released as 45 rpm single SA 1969

vader kirstmis cover final

Happy Holidays!

best wishes for the Yuletide season from Soul Safari

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

the new week starts with volume 2 of a previous post  hey sista, go sista, soul sista -Township Soul & Boogie.  African Disco & Boogie & Soulful grooves from female South African singers. Is there a better way to start the new working week?

Margaret Singana -Open Your Mind

In the 1950s Margaret Singana moved to Johannesburg, and soon started performing with The Symbols. In 1972 she made “Good Feelings” with the band. She became the first black artist to feature on the Radio 5 hit parade. Singana’s song “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Loved You” became a hit. In 1973, Singana was cast as the lead singer in the musical, Ipi Tombi, and soon made herself famous with the song “Mama Tembu’s Wedding”. She suffered from bad health for many years but, in 1986, she returned to sing “We Are Growing”, the theme song from the television series, Shaka Zulu.

Singana received many awards, including the 1976/1977 critics award from the British magazine, Music Week. She was known as “Lady Africa” in Southern Africa and passed away in 2000. The  single featured here today was released in 1975 and produced by Patrick Van Blerk, Allan Goldberg and Trevor Rabin.

Shaddiii-Pride Of Tomorrow

Desiree -You’ve Lost A Good Thing

Joy -Iza Nezembe

Joy -Jikel Emaweni Qonoqgothwane

Patricia Majalisa -Dzhengenzhe

this album came out in 1990 in South Africa when the bubblegum-style was popular. Bubblegum is a form of pure South African pop music that arose in the middle of the 1980’s, distinctively based on vocals with overlapping call-and-response vocals. Electronic keyboards and synthesizers were commonplace. Dan Tshanda of the band Splash was the first major bubblegum star, followed by Chicco Twala.

Dan Tshanda and Splash are synonymous with the name Patricia Majalisa. It’s that very combination that brought her to the limelight in 1988. Patricia was the electrifying backing voice who started the group Splash in Chiawelo, Soweto with Dan Tshanda and the other members of the group.

In the very beginning Patricia Majalisa sang in a group called ‘The Flying Sounds’ when ace producer,the late Hamilton Nzimande from Gallo Records listened to their demo tape and liked the demo. That culminated in their debut album ‘Mr Tony’ which although not a hit, made them realise their potential and the late Mr Nzimande did not give up on them. This made everyone see that the group had the potential to make it and that’s when Ray Phiri of Stimela give them the name ‘SPLASH’.
Her fifth album ‘DZHENGEZHE’ saw her graduate to double platinum status in South Africa.

Patricia Majalisa -Uwee

see more on Patricia Majalisa in my previous post hey sista, go sista, soul sista -Township Soul & Boogie

source and wikipedia

Readers Post -William Onyeabor- “Anything You Sow”

Today I want to share some interesting news out of Soul Safari’s mailbox; your comments, requests and music….keep sending!

here’s a hot tip from my collector friend MP Flapp from Very Good Plus

Did you spot the reissue of William Onyeabor- “Anything You Sow”? (ONYEABOR) I believe it is a bootleg. I got my copy today from Honest Jons – what a fantastic LP -stuck an odd branch in African music – the lyrics as well as the music are really a treat.

William Onyeabor was Nigerian. The other LP I’d love is called
“Atomic Bomb”. I first discovered him via the “World Psychedelic Classics 3: Love’s a Real Thing” compilation. It has the track “Better Change Your Mind” on it which is just out of this world – both lyrically and musically.

It was the friend Mark Crumbie (Baxter on VG+) who pointed me towards a download of the “Anything you Sow” LP – out of the blue the LP gets a re-issue last week. I hadn’t really looked through his discography as the first things I saw listed were those super rare LPs from Nigeria that had never been re-issued in any format. The “Anything you Sow” LP has elements of TGs “Hot on the heels of love” in the mix with low fi synch feel, but a proper funk under current.

Manu Dibango vs Chateau Flight -Soul Fiesta

‘Soul Fiesta’,  originally recorded by Manu Dibango and re-released in 2002 on the French label Versatile Records as a remix by hot Parisian producers team Chateau Flight. Strangely enough I cannot locate the original song  in my album collection of Manu Dibango. Or even 45’s.  Can anyone shine a light in what year  ‘Soul Fiesta’ originally came out?? On which label? Was it French Fiesta? Your input is appreciated…

….thanks to reader Afrikola for the following update; ‘…This came out on the album ‘Afrodelic’ as Fiesta 360.058 in 1973 and got re-released on Hi&Fly Records, H&F 0019 in 2006′.

Manu Dibango Soul Fiesta original version

This 12″ features  a full rhythm mix + this version without drums

Manu Dibango -Soul Fiesta Chateau Flight Rmx No Drumz Mix instrumental 

30 gems for hunters & collectors

Here are 30 gems from my personal collection, all original 45’s from South Africa from a dusty warehouse find.

African Disco, African Soul, Mbaqanga, Xhosa Vocal, Zulu Jive, Accordion Jive…

The Flames – Soulfire!! South Africa’s soul super group

The Flames -For Your Precious Love 1968

“For Your Precious Love” is a song written by Arthur Brooks, Richard Brooks and Jerry Butler, and performed by Butlers’ group The Impressions in 1958. It was released as a single on Vee-Jay Records and peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Best Sellers in Stores and Top 100 charts. The song was ranked as the 327th greatest song of all-time by Rolling Stone magazine in 2004.

The 1968 version in South Africa by Durban group, The Flames, reached the top spot on the local charts and has been considered a classic in the country ever since. Here are the lyrics of the song, covered by Otis Redding. The adaption of the song as performed by The Flames can be heard in this post.

For Your Precious Love

For your precious love means more to me

Than any love could ever be

For when I wanted you I was so lonely and so blue

For that’s what love will do

Darling, I’m so surprised,

Oh, when I first realized

That you were fooling me

Darling, they say that our love won’t grow

I just want to tell them that they don’t know

For as long as you, long as you are loving me

Our love will grow wider, deeper than any sea

And all the things in the world, in this whole wide world

Is just that you would say that you’d be my girl

(Wanting you) Wanting you,

(I’m lonely and blue) Whoa, lonely

That’s what love will do

For your precious love means more to me

Than any love could ever be

For when I, I wanted you I was so lonely and so blue

That’s what love will do

 ladies & gentlemen, here are The Flames!!

like most good posts on these pages this story starts with finding a 45 in a dusty garage somewhere in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. That was the beginning. Later on, I unearthed a battered album called ‘Soulfire!!’  that was still playable. But what a sound! And what a history!!

The Flames 1965 Debonair magazine

Soul ballads,  danceable tunes with the odd sitar thrown in the mix, pyschedelic pop with strong vocals by singers Steve Fataar,  Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin; elements that  made me search for the perfect copy of their album ‘Soulfire!!’. Finally, in a warehouse somewhere in Durban (thanks Chris) I found a SEALED MINT copy of this rare gem. Now, that’s what you’ve got friends for!!!

But my search went on…

The Flames 1968 Drum magazine

All members of The Flames were born and raised in Durban, a huge melting pot, the third biggest city of South Africa in the Natal province. The city, along the Indian Ocean,  has the biggest Indian population outside Bombay and together with the Zulu native peoples and white merchants they build beautiful Durban; a harbor, a hub of frantic action and endless urban development. In the 50’s Durban’s coastline was famous for it’s scenic beauty and soon became a coastal resort, attracting many holiday makers and retired permanent residents.

The Flames -If You Think You’re Groovy 1968

‘Soulfire!!’ is without a doubt a masterpiece of South African soul music. From 1964 until 1967  the line-up consisted of  Steve Fataar on guitar, Brother Fataar on bass, Ricky Fataar on drums and vocalist Edries Fredericks on guitar. This was the lineup that produced the first two albums, and more singles. Edries left the Flames after having sung lead on both these albums. He  was briefly replaced by Baby Duval in 1967. The same year  the group was joined by Blondie Chaplin. He can be heard as lead singer on the single ‘For Your Precious Love’ released in 1968.  Together with  Ricky Fataar he became a  full member of the American super group The Beach Boys from 1971 to 1973, during which time the albums ‘So Tough’, ‘Holland’ and ‘In Concert’ were made and released.  Ricky Fataar also did session drumming for other records by individual Beach Boys members.

When The Flames arrived in the United States in 1970 at the invitation of Al Jardine and Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys, they changed their name to The Flame, since there was competition from reggae  group The Flames and James Brown’s own The Famous Flames. They started writing new material; powerful rockers, ballads, mood pieces  and symphonic masterpieces that got a release on Brother, a local Nashville, Tennessee record label. The album was produced by Carl Wilson and it must be their rarest release ever,  since it was distributed only locally in the beginning. Later on it was released in Uruguay, the Netherlands, the UK and Canada.

The Flame -Brother Fataar, Mike Love, Steve Fataar, Carl Wilson, Bruce Johnston, Dennis Wilson Ricky Fataar, Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin-photograph courtesy of the Lee Dempsey Collection

‘Burning Soul’ and ‘Soulfire!!’ however, remain The Flames best known commercial albums. These have been re-issued many times over the years, mainly in South Africa, although ‘Burning Soul’ was released in Australia as well as in the UK.   Their music still stands the test of time.


Soulfire!! (mono edition)
label & number: Rave RMG 1234
date: April 1968

this article contains excerpts and pics courtesy of The Flames official website by Bas Möllenkramer.

the flames promo pic from compilation 'It's Happening 1967' . Fontana Records SA
the flames promo pic from compilation ‘It’s Happening 1967’ . Fontana Records SA

Township Soul & Boogie vol 5; Soul Brothers & Sisters

Soul Brothers

Inspired by the 60’s boom in American Soul, many South African performers entered the field with an organ, a bass-and-drum rhythm section and an electric guitar. In the mid 70’s the disco beat took over but the main ingredients remained almost the same.

The Soul Brothers formed in 1974 and recorded over 30 albums since their formation. Initially formed in KwaZulu Natal, the group have remained the slickest and most successful proponents of the mbaqanga sound which dominated South African urban music for over three decades.

here’s a few other Soul Brothers & Sisters recordings following the same path, both titles produced by C.B. Matiwane in 1977-1978…

Soul Sisters -Mtakwethu

Success -Robalang Ka Khotso

Recommended Listening:

Soul Brothers -Soul Of Soweto

EWM Records 1991 Germany LP 831 681

Text contains excerpts from article by Steve Gordon 2004

Township Soul & Boogie -At The Club- Soul Safari 1 year!

that’s right folks, we started this blog exactly 1 year ago so today it’s the birthday of Soul Safari! Thanks to all visitors of these pages; for your comments, your suggestions and the links.  Keep sending them, it’s very much appreciated.

To celebrate this occasion we present a groovy, funky mix of soul and boogie tunes for your ears only… all records come from our own archives, highlighting the golden African disco days, mid to late 70’s.  Some rare 45’s  by  Patti Boulaye,  (born Patricia Ngosi Ebigwei, 1954),  a British singer, actress  and politician, and who was one of the leading black British entertainers in the seventies and eighties. In her native Nigeria, she is best remembered for starring in the Lux commercials which ran in the eighties.

Letta Mbulu  is a more established South African artist with an impressive career that spans a few continents, her contribution to the mix is ‘Kilimanjaro’, a gorgeous slab of African boogie-disco. That voice!

And the list goes on with some real funky versions of ‘Take me to the river’ by Mara Lauw, ‘Get it’ by The Symbols, a discofied version of ‘Put it where you want it’,  originally a hit for The Crusaders.  And more African cover versions of American boogie & disco hits…

Here’s the full list

01. Mara Louw -Take Me To The River

02. Patti Boulaye -Funky Love

03. The Sakie Special Band -Groovy Cats

04. The Movers -Guava Jelly

05. Sylvia King -Shoorah! Shoorah!

06. Jackie -Disco Jack

07. Fani & The Guys -You Promised Me

08. Blondie -Overtime

09. The Pedlars – At The Club

10. The Pedlars -Right On

11. The K.C.’s -Kansas City Instrumental

12. The Square Set -Love Theme

13. Pappa & Blondie Makhene -Boogie On Up

14. The Movers -Freaky Disco

15. Green Apple -Funky Fever

16. The Symbols -Get It

17. John Moriri & Manzini Girls -We Gogo

18. Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje -Omzala Bakho

19. Manzini Girls -Afro Wig

20. Soul Brothers -Bayeza

21. Pappa & Blondie Makhene -Don’t Burn Your Bridges

22. The Explosions -Mama Wami

23. The Blue Revues  -Spook Mahala

24. The Big Six -Kitla Kola Kuang

25. Letta Mbulu -Kilimanjaro

download Township Soul & Boogie -At The Club here

Percy Sledge in South Africa 1970

Percy Sledge -introduction, ‘Cover Me’ + ‘Knock on Wood’

The Luxurama Theatre, Cape Town, darkened, there was a momentary hush, then the audience exploded in a deafening roar as Percy Sledge walked on stage. Everyone of the 1300 seats was filled, people were sitting in the aisles and the happy audience screamed and cried, shouted and stamped, clapped and cheered for the King of Soul was here in South Africa at last!

‘Don’t leave Percy’ they cried. ‘Stay here in South Africa with us!’

Percy Sledge -I got to get a message to you

The live-recording of this show, at The Luxurama, Cape Town, has captured many exciting moments  with songs like ‘My Special Prayer’  and Percy’s first time singing of  a Beegees composition  ‘I got get a message to you’. The crowd loved the message

In South Africa (At the Luxurama) – ATC 9257

My special prayer / cover me / heart of a child / takes time to know her / warm and tender love / i gotta get a message to you / silent night / come softly to me / what am I living for / when a man loves a woman.

Percy Sledge -My Special Prayer

And stay he did.  For it was on Friday, May 29th 1970 that he opened at the Luxurama Theatre and stayed there for three weeks. One June 22nd he opened at The Three Arts Theatre, Cape Town and played for four weeks to open on  July 20th at The Empire Theatre in Johannesburg on July 31st and August 1st, 1970.

Percy Sledge -Any Day Now (1970 at The Empire Theatre Johannesburg)

Rumors have it that this album is not really live but a collection of Sledge’s songs with dubbed in crowd participation and ‘live’ announcements by Percy himself. But the tracks on this album  are raw and 100% real without a doubt Percy Sledge…deep, intense Southern Soul

Showtime for the King Of  Soul himself …Percy Sledge,  backed by members of Harari

after these memorable live events  Percy was  King of Soul in South Africa and became a major cult figure as well. His appeal was so widespread that Pepsi Cola Co asked him as the star to  launch a new soda-pop drink TEEM…

this resulted in the release of a promotional record with Percy singing about the joy of drinking TEEM. This disc contains 2 radio-commercials and the full version of the tune, produced for South Africa exclusively

Percy Sledge-The TEEM Theme Song

Crisp and cool, with the bub…bub…bubble-fresh taste. TEEM-lifts you up with the life that tells you it’s the best. Go with TEEM, and get refreshed. Yeah…TEEM, and I will dig you baby