Zulu Rock, Afro-Disco and Mbaqanga 1975 – 1985
Ridiculously good 15 track compilation from the ever reliable Strut Records . There are dozens of comps released every month and I for one am a big fan when the labels get it right . Invariably, Strut dig hard and deep to present uncovered sounds from around the planet often from lost eras and their catalogue is full of funk.
This is Volume 4 in the Next Stop Soweto title and despite previous volumes being 5 star collections , this latest edition has the edge to make it the cream of the series. Kabassa’s Unga Pfula A Chi Pfalo injects a classic heavy rock punch into a moody funk stew and comes over like Eddy Grant’s Coach House Rhythm Section jamming with Nazareth, while Saitana conjure up an Afro-pop-funk-sleaze-party diamond with the addictive 1-2-3 . The eclectic tone continues with Harari’s gospel flavoured Give. It delights with it’s neat funk, moogy fizz and stirring vocals while the analogue synths and folky electric guitar quirkiness of TY Boys’ Lekopokopo Single Moqashoa spells out the kind of freshness and experimental flavour South Africa was producing at this time. You’ll quickly fall in love with both Abafana Bama Soul’s woozy but magnificent Masisizwane and ‘Lady Africa’ Margaret Singane’s sparkling mantra Ubuhwele .
Heading further onto the dance floor we find the melodic roll of The Actions – Kokro-Ko , the spaced out mindless boogie of Get Down from Isaac And The Sakie Special Band plus exquisite township funk from Damara , Almon Memela and even Afro-Prog Rock Disco exponents Xoliso . The more you listen, the more it gives. There’s a kind of weary , weathered spirit in these tracks which tells of the violence and revolution surrounding the music being made. Despite this , there’s melancholic hope in the voices and instruments which makes it uniquely South African . A stunning collection worthy of all ears and hearts.