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Steady Bottom

assagai_cover.jpg webb_cover.jpg

Assagai : Barazinbar
taken from the album “Afrorock” on Sounds Superb (1971)

Makhona Zonke Band : The Webb
taken from the album “The Webb” on Soul Jazz Pop (1976)

Your boy Cap’n P is now officially a full-time man. I’ve been avoiding this type of serious commitment for quite some time now, but rushing head-on into another unemployed summer of Craigslist part-time hustling and humiliating subway station performances kinda gave me the willies. So yeah, there goes the last scraps of my free time. But the blog must go on.

I was going to go ahead and break the single rule that I had just laid out for myself last week by posting the live recording I made of Bryan Vargas on my radio show last Monday. He sings in Spanish so Ant stopped me, but stay tuned. Soulful FIRE! Then I DJ-ed at Kush on Saturday night and met up with Wunmi this morning (to finish details for the upcoming ByWayOf.net feature) so I was thinking of posting some Afro-club tunes. But gosh darned if at the last minute I didn’t get that same ole voice calling me back to the ROOTS. So here are some funky South African grooves from the 70’s that are only really connected in that they look for inspiration outside of Africa- it could also be said that they share relentlessly steady bass riffs.

Assagai recorded this material in England after effectively being exiled for performing as an interracial band. This super-heavy genre fusing combination is the product of saxophonist Dudu Pakwana (bummer of a name) and white South African Chris McGregor. There’s a bunch of other cool stuff on this LP, it all sounds a bit like it was recorded in a dust cloud, but for now that’s all yer gonna get.

“The Webb” = “The Ghetto”. For anyone who has never heard this Donny Hathaway track, read no further, it’s a required prerequisite. Naw, I ain’t snobby like that, but seriously, “The Ghetto” from Donny Hathaway Live is one of my all time favorite soul songs. When I first heard this South African group doing a cover version, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. It’s nowhere near as mind blowing as Donny’s version, but you know that if heads in Jo’burg were feeling this same bassline as much as folks over here, then there must be a higher power. I had to perform a little edit on this one- the LP version rolls on for another 4 minutes at least, taking up half of the A-Side ’cause they dug the groove THAT much. Don’t know why they added the second “b” to the title though.

  • IanB

    A Rare find indeed !! What a great blog !! I’ve Blogrolled ‘Captains Crate’ .. Hope you approve !!

    Cheers IanB


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