Spokes Mashiyane and His Magic Sax - Kwela Sax / Big Joe Special
Cover
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LINER NOTES

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES
Extract from Rob Allingham's essay The Nation of Voice in The Rough Guide to African Music.

"The beginning of the end of the pennywhistle craze can be precisely pinpointed with the song Big Joe Special, Spokes Mashiyane's first recording on saxophone. Much as his Ace Blues (1954) had created a sales sensation and inspired a legion of imitators four years before, Big Joe Special proved to be the trendsetting hit of 1958. In its wake, every black producer now wanted material by similar-style sax players and most pennywhistlers, providing they could obtain a saxophone, were happy to deliver it."
 

SPOKES MASHIYANE AND HIS MAGIC SAX
KWELA SAX / BIG JOE SPECIAL


recorded 1958
issued 1958
Rave
Trutone
made in South Africa
published by Melody Music
R 42
matrix 7479
matrix 7608
78 rpm
mono
first issue
source: flatinternational Archive

TRACK LISTING

 

1.1Kwela Sax

(Spokes Mashiyane)

2.2Big Joe Special

(Spokes Mashiyane)

ARTISTS

 

SPOKES MASHIYANE AND HIS MAGIC SAX
SPOKES MASHIYANE - saxophone

NOTES

 

In the image of this record, the chalky white area around the hole of the label is a Plaster-of-Paris fill done by one of the record’s owners. The owner appears to have re-created the centre after what could only be described as a dramatic deterioration.

Spokes Mashiyane, is credited as having popularized kwela or pennywhistle jive with his recordings Ace Blues and Kwela Spokes in 1954. In the four years that followed he would remain one of the most famous and prolific proponents of this musical style.

Kwela Sax, recorded in 1958, is the a-side of Big Joe Special and this record marks the first time that Mashiyane played on saxophone. As with his earlier Ace Blues, Big Joe Special was a sales phenomenon. The record became the trendsetting hit of that year and would inspire a whole new style of music. Sax jive—latter called mbaqanga—would dominate South African urban music for the next twenty years. Mashiyane, after his successes with Trutone Records and their Quality and Rave labels, was lured away by Gallo Records in 1958. At Gallo he became the first black musician to receive royalties from his recordings.