Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Borrowed inventory - part 1

Regulars around here may have gathered that I spend some time in Germany on business now and then, and that when I do I have been known to end up late at night at an English colleague’s flat drinking whisky and putting his CD collection through its paces.

Well, I was in Germany again last week, my colleague has moved into a new flat, and yes, we were drinking whisky and listening to music into the early hours once again (we did some work during the day too, in case you were wondering!).

His flat is ‘furnished’, and what do you know? – included in the inventory is a circa 1985 (guess) set of hi-fi separates including a turntable (Dual 505 – same as mine!), AND a collection of vinyl albums to go with it! Result!

The vinyl collection turns out to be varied and cosmopolitan. Bits of classical, jazz, folk, rock (plenty of Stones), 80s disco, early rap/hip-hop compilations, rock and roll compilations, heavy metal, Peruvian and many point South American, flamenco, a smattering of soul – it’s all there and more.

I thought of you, dear readers/listeners, and smuggled out a couple of albums to share in this and the next post. Hopefully, baggage handlers willing, I can reunite them with their eclectic friends in one piece next week.

First up is Hugh Masekela on Tamla Motown! A quick bit of research failed to pinpoint this album on the Internet but the label states Holland as the country of release. Year of release was 1971. It was released on Chisa in the US and Rare Earth in the UK. (Chisa was owned by Hugh Masekela and producer Stewart Levine and distibuted by Motown in the US, and Rare Earth was part of the Motown family, so that all makes sense). The “Union Of South Africa” were primarily Hugh Masekela, Jonas Gwnagwa, and Caiphus Semenya, and they were joined by an impressive line up of musicians on this album including most of the Crusaders (Joe Sample, Wayne Henderson, and Wilton Felder). Interestingly Wayne Henderson is playing drums and not his normal instrument, the trombone. Apparently he also played drums on Hugh Masekela’s 1968 hit “Grazing In The Grass”.

The note on the back cover of the album states: “The gentlemen who have created the music contained in this album were born and raised in the Union Of South Africa. Since leaving their homeland in the early 1960’s the country’s name has been changed to the Republic Of South Africa. Due to prevailing government policies, it is doubtful that hey would ever be allowed to return to their place of birth. They remain here in the United States and call themselves the Union Of South Africa.”

Thankfully in the ensuing years conditions in South Africa did change and Hugh Masekela in fact returned to his homeland in 1990.

This album did get a CD release in 1994.

Hugh Masekela & The Union Of South Africa – Ade 1971
Hugh Masekela & The Union Of South Africa – Shebeen 1971

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