A South African jazz set from the 70s, but one with a very different vibe than most – stretched out nicely in ways that really let the tunes find their way! The group here is led by alto saxophonist H Sithole, but even more important is the work of a young Bekhi Mseleku – an artist we love for later recordings, who really adds a lot to the sound here on Hammond and electric piano – working in these long-spun lines that dance around the bass, guitar, and drums – while brothers open up on solos too – S Sithole on tenor and baritone, and D Sithole on trumpet. Titles include "Way Back Fifties", "Together", and "Can You Feel It". LP, Vinyl record album
Kirk Lightsey & Rudolph Johnson with The All-Stars —
Habiba ... LP Gallo/Outernational (UK), 1974. New Copy (reissue)...
Maybe the hippest record ever issued by pianist Kirk Lightsey – in part because the set was issued on a South African label, and also because it features tremendous work from saxophonist Rudolph Johnson – who you'll know for his two classic 70s albums on the Black Jazz imprint! The setting is maybe most in the mode of Johnson at his best – long tracks that spin out and really take their time to develop – not outside or avant, but also not more familiar spiritual jazz either – as there's this special, soulful balance that really keeps things interesting – as Lightsey plays electric piano, Johnson handles tenor and flute – and the rest of the group features Danny Cortez on trumpet, Delbert Hill on bass clarinet, Al Hall on trombone, and Charles Mallory on guitar. Side one features the long title track – the beautiful "Habiba" – balanced by the beautiful tune "Here It Is" and the funkier "Fresh Air" – both on side two. LP, Vinyl record album
Groovy South African soul from Linda Bab Majika – a singer who's part of that new generation of positivity that was flowing out of the scene, reaching out here with a sound that's pretty universal in appeal! The music is more conventional 80s soul than you might expect – and richer and fuller than some of the synth-heavy work of the period in South African soul – still with lots of beats and keyboards, but a bolder production sound that really suits Linda's vocals! There are occasional elements that you might recognize from bigger crossover world acts – such as the South African artists who were getting play on US radio – but the overall sound is more soul than anything else, on titles that include "Let's Make A Deal", "It's Our Home", "Don't Treat Me So Bad", "Play Boy", and "Kunzima". LP, Vinyl record album
Modiehi ... CD Gallo/Mr Bongo (UK), 1982. New Copy ...
A really unusual album from the South African scene of the 80s – served up by a blind quartet who partly echo the styles of other vocal ensembles of the period, but done with a mish-mash of styles that really keeps the whole thing interesting! The album's maybe best-remembered for a few clubby groovers that bring the harmonies together with some post-disco boogie modes – and those cuts dominate the record, balanced by a few mellower ballads and more spiritual numbers. Titles include "Toitoi", "Lenyalo", "O Mohau", "Ha Se Nna Fela", "Khomo Tsaka Deile Kae", and "Re A Hlopheh". CD
A fantastic set from 70s South Africa – and a record that maybe has a lot more of an American funk vibe than you'd expect! The style is nice and lean, and is often in a mode that echoes some of the cooler underground disco of the late 70s on the east coast – almost as if these cuts could have come from one of the P&P family of labels, instead of South Africa's big Gallo imprint – save for some especially nice moments that almost recall the early 70s electric funk of Hugh Masekela! All tunes are nice and long, all instrumentals – and the "disco specials" are original tunes that mix clubby rhythms with a variety of different sounds and styles – really cool, very fresh, and not even in the same territory as some of the West African/Paris hybrids of the time. Titles include the ten minute classic "Disco Stomp" – plus "We Did It", "Barney's Moaning", and "GG Is Talking". CD
A fantastic set from 70s South Africa – and a record that maybe has a lot more of an American funk vibe than you'd expect! The style is nice and lean, and is often in a mode that echoes some of the cooler underground disco of the late 70s on the east coast – almost as if these cuts could have come from one of the P&P family of labels, instead of South Africa's big Gallo imprint – save for some especially nice moments that almost recall the early 70s electric funk of Hugh Masekela! All tunes are nice and long, all instrumentals – and the "disco specials" are original tunes that mix clubby rhythms with a variety of different sounds and styles – really cool, very fresh, and not even in the same territory as some of the West African/Paris hybrids of the time. Titles include the ten minute classic "Disco Stomp" – plus "We Did It", "Barney's Moaning", and "GG Is Talking". LP, Vinyl record album
Big Maybelle's got a new bag – and we like it! This tasty set was cut for the tiny Rojac label in between Maybelle's earlier years at Savoy and later albums on Brunswick – and it's got a swinging, 60s mod sort of style that's pretty darn groovy, baby! The arrangements are by Bob Gallo, and most of the tracks are 60s pop and soul standards – but Maybelle sings them with a gusty, sincere style – and brings a really great approach to the album – almost giving it the feel of some of the best Tangerine label albums from the decade. Titles include "Eggplant That Ate Chicago", "I Can't Control Myself", "Coming On Strong", "Mellow Yellow", "96 Tears", "Eleanor Rigby", and "Black Is Black". Kind of nutty, but it kind of works! CD
(In a very cool Japanese-styled, LP-like cardboard sleeve cover!)
Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim) —
Black Lightning ... LP Chiaroscuro, 1976. New Copy (reissue)...
Just Sold Out!
An album that was issued in the US, but which actually features excellent work that Abdullah Ibrahim/Dollar Brand recorded for the Gallo label in South Africa – the kind of edgier work that we often prefer next to some of his solo and trio material! The key force here is the horns – as one side of the record features work from Kippie Moketsi on alto, Basil Manenberg on tenor and flute, and Duku Makasi on tenor – and the flipside features a quartet with Manenberg again – a player whose deep tones really make for a perfect combination with Dollar Brand's snakey piano lines. Moketsi is great, as always – with that offbeat reed sound that always makes his performances so unique. Side one includes the extended groover "Black Lightning", and side 2 features a rendition of "Blue Monk", plus "Little Boy", and "Black & Brown Cherries". LP, Vinyl record album
A mid 70s classic from Donna Summer – and a follow up to her huge, chart-toppiong Love To Love You Baby – and once again produced by Giorgio Moroder! The record didn't hit the commercial heights of the preceding one, though they did utilize the same sort of Euro-disco approach – and it sounds just as great to us! The first half is a longer suite of 4 tracks – "Try Me", "I Know", "We Can Make It" and "Try Me, I Know We Can Make It", and side 2 features 4 more numbers "Prelude To Love", "Could It Be Magic", "Wasted" and "Come With Me". LP, Vinyl record album
(South African pressing on Gallo. Cover has small spots of gloss separation from sticker removal on front and a shop sticker on back.)
Donna Summer —
Bad Girls ... LP Casablanca, 1979. Near Mint- 2LP Gatefold ...
Temporarily Out Of Stock
A super huge hit for Donna Summer – a disco classic as well as a pop crossover smash! The album was produced by disco powerhouse Giorgio Moroder, and featured the hits "Hot Stuff", "Bad Girls", and "Dim All The Lights". Plus the songs "On My Honor", "Our Love", "Lucky", "There Will Always Be A You", "Sunset People", and lots more! LP, Vinyl record album
(South African pressing on Gallo. Includes the printed inner sleeve.)
A hokey title and cover, but a great little record – a lesser-known gem from the Toshiko Akioshi big band, recorded in the mid 80s for Japanese release! Toshiko's still working strongly with reedman Lew Tabackin here – and as always, the sound of the reeds really make the record – not only on the bold ensemble passages, but also on the snakey, well-crafted solos that slide out of the fuller arrangements – letting Lew, Frank Wess, and Jim Snidero contribute some really great work on the longer tracks. Titles include "Ten Gallon Shuffle", "Fading Beauty", "Blue Dream", and "Happy Hoofer" – and in case you're wondering, that's a young Monday Michiru on the cover! CD
As you might guess from their name, LAX hail from the west coast – one of the few groups from that part of the country to record for Prelude, and every bit as great as the club acts from the east! Ralph Benatar handles arrangements and songwriting here – and lead vocals are by Laura Lucero and Roy Galloway – trading off a bit between the tunes, but also singing together in sweet duet formation at times too! The quality of the set is higher than you'd expect from the cheesy cover – almost equal parts soul and disco – with tracks that include "Woman Ad Lib", "I Don't Wanna Be Under Cover", "Don't Stop", "Saturday Night Something Special", "Slow Disco Dancing", and "Dancin At The Disco". CD features bonus tracks – "Dancin At The Disco (7" mix)", "Dancin At The Disco (7" inst)", and "Dancin At The Disco (12" inst)". CD
A really wonderful tribute to the lasting power of Astor Piazzolla – a collection of tracks from later years – all new versions of some of his classic compositions, handled by a younger generation who've gotten great inspiration from his music! The setting is similar to some of Astor's important recordings from the 60s and 70s – but there's some nice shifts in instrumentation – showing just how rich the original compositions are for new interpretations. Titles include "Adios Noninos" and "Milonga Del Angel" by Daniel Binelli on bandoneon, "Concert D'Adjourd Hui" and "Bordel 1900" by Patrick Gallois on flute and Goran Sollscher on guitar, "Tangazo" by New World Symphony, "Quatro Estaciones Portnas" by guitarist Goran Sollcher, "Libertango" by a group that features Luis Bacalov on piano, "Oblivion" by Daniel Binelli on bandoneon and Louise Pellerin on oboe, and a more contemporary version of "Libertango" by the group Bond. CD
With Marshall Royal and Bobby Plater on alto, Eric Dixon and Eddie Davis on tenor, Charles Fowlkes on baritone, Gene Goe, George Cohn, Oscar Brashear, and Al Aarons on trumpet, Grover Mitchell, Richard Boone, Bill Hughes, and Steve Galloway on trombone, Freddie Green on guitar, Harold Jones on drums, and Norman Keenan on bass. CD
The third in Led Zeppelin's spectacular run of early albums – each one either matching or topping its predecessor, depending on one's personal favorite – and a record with an influence that's as massive as the sound! The record's got a pair of of Zep's best-remembered songs in "Immigrant Song" and their take on the traditional "Gallows Pole", but the whole thing is great – and a great balance of their earlier bombast with a lot more acoustic moments. Other tracks include "Friends", "Celebration Day", "Tangerine" and "Hats Off (To Roy Harper)". CD
The third in Led Zeppelin's spectacular run of early albums – each one either matching or topping its predecessor, depending on one's personal favorite – and a record with an influence that's as massive as the sound! The record's got a pair of of Zep's best-remembered songs in "Immigrant Song" and their take on the traditional "Gallows Pole", but the whole thing is great – and a great balance of their earlier bombast with a lot more acoustic moments. Other tracks include "Friends", "Celebration Day", "Tangerine" and "Hats Off (To Roy Harper)". LP, Vinyl record album
(US Broadway label pressing with Mastercut etch, SD 7201, in the die-cut revolving wheel cover. Cover has some wear and aging, with a bit of green ink transfer on back.)
A crucial slice of work from Jean Bosco Mwenda – a South African singer and guitarist that most folks know from famous Hugh Tracey recordings of the 50s, but who's represented here on a range of early 78rpm singles done for his nation's Gallotone label! The style is very stripped-down on most numbers – just Jean's fantastically melodic guitar playing, wrapped around a rhythmic impulse that's gently emphasized by light percussion, often on a bottle – then matched with the sing-song style of his vocalizations, which have a lyrical power that goes way beyond language. Titles include "Mwami", "Mukabe", "Bibi Mulevi", "Twafurahi Mwaka Mupia", "Kwa Leza", "Kubisha Na Bakubwa", "Ku Budongo", "Kijana Moja", and "Mama Kilio E". LP, Vinyl record album