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Saturday 28 March 2015

Holiday Time

I am tootling off on my annual trip to South Africa tomorrow and, as has become standard practice on these occasions, I leave you with a selection of songs that were first featured here back in the pre-zeitgeist era (or 2009 as you may call it). Hope you enjoy them, see you all in a couple of weeks.

"Sugar Bum Bum" - Lord Kitchener

"Rosalyn" - The Pretty Things

"Gotta Get Up" - Dion

"Bayombela" - Stompie Mavi

"Old Codger" - The Stranglers (with George Melly)

"Long Daddy Green" - Blossom Dearie

"Song Of Harvest" - Hu Songhua

"Miles And Miles From Nowhere" - Arthur Alexander

Thursday 26 March 2015

Frizzie & Nancy

As surfers of the zeitgeist go I am barely out of the paddling pool, but every now and then I find myself befriended by someone who spends most of their time out riding the big waves - Awesome Tapes, Mama Coconut, Helen McCookerybook, the list is ended.

So I was delighted recently to find myself "linked in" to DJ Frizzie, Nigeria's No. 1 Female DJ. Frizzie is the queen of her craft, as you will find out if you check out some of the mixes she has generously made available on her website. And her gifts are not limited to music. She is also an environmental engineering graduate, which means that Sister Nancy's boast that she was the only woman DJ with a degree is no longer true (if it ever was).

"Only Woman D.J. With Degree" - Sister Nancy

"Coward Of The County" - Sister Nancy

In "Coward of the County", Sister Nancy not only from the Kenny Rogers' classic but also from "In The Ghetto" and - er - "Banana Boat Song". Here are the originals.

Sunday 22 March 2015

Melody Men

This was going to be a simple post highlighting the dilemma faced by Courtney Melody in choosing between a modern girl and his original girl, something with which we can all empathise I am sure.

But then I decided to add four other acts with "melody" in their name. It destroys the conceptual purity of my original idea, but gives you three times the fun.

Singing, like Courtney, is of the reggae persuasion. A hop over the water to Trinidad joins us up with Lord, an old favourite of ours as regulars will know. And you need to go to Africa for Africa (Zimbabwe) and the Aces (Ghana).

"Original Girl" - Courtney Melody

"Modern Girl" - Courtney Melody

"I Want You Back" - Singing Melody

"Bimini Gal" - Lord Melody

"Emma Rega Kuchema" - Africa Melody

"Asaw Fofor" - The Melody Aces

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Tsonga Time 2

On Monday we featured Mhan Flo Shinyori, a woman closely associated with the traditional side of Tsonga pop through her association with Thomas Chauke. Today we feature someone who I had never heard of before finding their CD in the bargain bins on my last trip to Joburg, and who comes from the house wing. It is Halata, ably supported by Titlakuseni Magaza, and the album in question is "N'Wana Bava Vol 1", released in 2009.

The sleeve notes don't tell you much. Halata himself plays keyboards as well as singing. The backing singers are Tsakani and Mkhakoma, and there are "special appearances" by Psakane and Makoma, though what they do and what makes them so special who knows. The album is produced by DJ Maspila, a house music DJ who I think may be from Mozambique judging by some of his other collaborations. Maspila co-writes all the tracks along with one Lucky Masinga. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether Lucky and Halata are one and the same.

"Nhlampfi I Ya Mangena" - Halata & Titlakuseni Magaza

"Vutomi Bya Tika" - Halata & Titlakuseni Magaza

Here is some more house music for you.

Monday 16 March 2015

Tsonga Time

Two weeks today I will arrive in South Africa for my all too short annual visit. Most of the time I will be in assorted middles of nowhere (if you can have more than one middle) so my opportunities to hunt down more Tsonga music will be limited. But I will do what I can.

As mentioned a few posts back, I have been eking out last year's purchases so sparingly that I now find I have two still to feature. The first is "Xibombi No. 1" by Mhan Flo Shinyori. Flo has served for many years as one of the Shinyori Sisters, who provide such sterling support for the great Thomas Chauke. In 2010 Thomas retreated to the control room and Flo finally got the chance to take centre stage. She rose to the occasion admirably.

"Tiyisela" - Mhan Flo Shinyori

"Papa Rosinah" - Mhan Flo Shinyori

It doesn't always go so well when backing singers step out of the shadows.

Saturday 14 March 2015

All Aboard!

Some songs about trains. Because we can.

"Pony Train" - Titus Turner

"Mule Train" - Count Prince Miller

"Freight Train" - Chas McDevitt Skiffle Group with Nancy Whiskey

"A Train Runnin'" - Christine Albert

"Right Now Train" - Dewey Martin & Medicine Ball

"Time Flies By (When You're The Driver Of A Train)" - Half Man Half Biscuit

For those of us of a certain generation, much of the pleasure of the Half Man Half Biscuit track comes from it being a cover of this 1970s classic from Lord Belborough.

Let's have another couple of train-based standards from the same era to round things off.

Monday 9 March 2015

Flipping Hell

Quick one for you tonight. A couple of tracks from an excellent compilation of obscure 1970s soul gems called "Loving On The Flip Side" that came out a couple of years ago and is well worth getting hold of.

"At The Hotel" - Eunice Collins

"Treat Me Right Or Leave Me Alone" - Eddie Finley & The Cincinatti Show Band

By the sound of it, Eunice has been treated even more shabbily than Eddie. If only the Temptations had been at the hotel to show her paramour how things should be done.

Wednesday 4 March 2015

One Thousand Up

According to Blogger this is my 1000th post. It has taken a little over six years to reach that total, but it seems like only yesterday that I first grabbed my board and paddled out into the ocean that is the Internet, ready to surf the zeitgeist.

To mark the occasion I have reached for the stats that, being a proper geek, I have diligently kept over the last six years but never previously found a use for. And I am pleased to report that the top 20 most played tracks that have featured here are all Tsonga Disco songs. I am pleased because, as the strap-line above says, my original purpose in starting the blog was to bring Tsonga Disco to the masses. Clearly the masses liked what they heard, and I ought to get back into giving them more of it.

Our Big Number One is General Muzka's classic "Xitulu Xale Mahlweni". The General features twice more in the top ten. Peta Teanet and Penny Penny also feature twice. Papa Penny also sneaks into tenth spot with a collaboration with the mighty Joe Shirimani, who makes the list in his own right as well. Last but by no means least, Vuyelwa is the only female singer to make the top ten.

In view of their popularity, today's music selection - which I promise we will get to eventually - includes one track from each of those artists. Tsonga Disco fans may want to note that we will be featuring a couple of new (to this blog anyway) artists over the next few weeks, at which point I go off to South Africa and try to replenish my stocks.

Looking further down the "charts", I was almost as pleased to see that the most popular non-Tsonga tracks are from Higher Heights, the weird but wonderful collaboration between reggae stalwarts the Twinkle Brothers and some Polish folk musicians. I have reactivated the links in the original post in case you missed them first time round, and added a third one below for good measure.

Rounding things off are the song from which this blog gets its stupid name, and something from The Platters that expresses perfectly how I feel about all my lovely loyal listeners.

"Wanuna I Xihloka" - General Muzka

"Khoma Maseve" - Peta Teanet

"Dodomedzi" - Penny Penny

"Marabastad" - Joe Shirimani

"Badi Muzimbheni" - Vuyelwa

"You're So Cold" - Higher Heights

"They'm" - Rainbow Ffolly

"I Love You 1000 Times" - The Platters

There can only be one choice for YouTube clip today. I have never received as much overheated abuse as I did when I made some mildly disobliging remarks about this particular performance by the usually marvellous Elkie Brooks. It was the post that launched a thousand shits. Here's to the next thousand.


Sunday 1 March 2015

Single Song Sunday

Today's single song is Cat Stevens' "The First Cut Is The Deepest". Fear not, we have avoided the Rod Stewart and Sheryl Crow versions; and we have failed to find the Keith Hampshire version, which romped its way to the top of the Canadian charts in 1973, making it the first Number One version of the song. Or so Wikipedia tells me.

We start with Cat's own version, although it was not the first to be released - that honour fell to P.P. Arnold. There are hundreds in not thousands of reggae versions. Most of them follow the same template but a few are a bit more "out there" - we have one of each. Then we finish off with Dale Hawkins who is best known as a real rockin' cat. Presumably at this point in his career he was trying out a new direction, and to these ears it suited him pretty well.

"The First Cut Is The Deepest" - Cat Stevens

"The First Cut Is The Deepest" - P.P. Arnold

"The First Cut" - J.C. Lodge 

"The First Cut Is The Deepest" - I-Roy

"The First Cut Is The Deepest" - Dale Hawkins