Elite Swingsters - The Beat of Africa
Cover
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LINER NOTES

 

The Elite Swingsters represent something of a phenomena in the field of African music. Following on their first release — Inch Mama/Amadoda Etshwaleni RCA 148 which record was in the best-seller class — came their sensational RCA 160 Phalafala/Phulaphula which surpasses all existing sales figures for a record of this type.

Apart from being the top-selling group amongst their own folk, the Elites' version of Phalafala has been in demand as a dance number at leading record dealers throughout the country, and this number has recently been taken up by a firm of publishers who have great hopes for it in the international market.

The infectious beat imparted by the Elite Swingsters to all their numbers ensures for this record, a permanent place, not only in the popular field of dance music, but also for the serious collector of Africana.
 

ELITE SWINGSTERS
THE BEAT OF AFRICA


recorded 1958c
issued 1958
RCA
Teal
made in South Africa
produced by Lebenya Matlotlo
31 397
matrix 8LBP 0217
matrix 8LBP 0218
33 rpm
first issue
cover printed by Swan Press
source: Flat International

TRACK LISTING

 

1.1Phalafala

(Lebenya Matlotlo)

1.2Touch-Touch

(J. Monaheng)

1.3Inch Mama

(Lebenya Matlotlo)

1.4Sarafina

(W. Williams)

1.5Dis Swaar Cherry

(Sophie Gumede)

1.6Mamelodi

(S. Manda)

2.7Phulaphula

(Lebenya Matlotlo)

2.8Isikahlo Sika Chooks

(Johannes 'Chooks' Tshukudu)

2.9Amadoda Etshwaleni

(Lebenya Matlotlo)

2.10Sibali

(W. Williams)

2.11Ezindlovini

(Paul Rametsi)

2.12Mamane

(Johannes 'Chooks' Tshukudu)

ARTISTS

 

ELITE SWINGSTERS
JOHANNES 'CHOOKS' TSHUKUDU - leader, bass
PAUL RAMETSI - tenor sax
PHILIP THAMI MADI - alto sax

NOTES

 

This is the first LP by the Elite Swingsters, consisting of a number of recordings previously issued on 78rpm discs. The group was formed in April 1956 by Johannes 'Chooks' Tshukudu as a session band for RCA, an imprint of Teal Records in South Africa. After a string of hits including Phalafala, the group decided to continue recording under the name: Elite Swingsters. Lebenya Matlotlo, who penned four of the tracks including the hit Phalafala and who worked as a talent-scout/producer for RCA, also played a significant role in the group's formation.

It is not clear to me who was part of the original lineup of the Swingsters at the time of these recordings, but it could be extrapolated from the track listing that the group included Tshukudu and Paul Ramesti. The book Beyond Memory puts Philip Thami Madi in the original group as well. According to music.org.za the classic lineup included leader and string bass player, Tshukudu, Louis Molubi on drums, Rex Ntuli on guitar, Johnny Bangazi on trumpet and Rametsi on tenor sax.

The Solven Whistlers' Peter Mokonotela joined the group as an alto saxophonist in 1962 as did the notable film star and vocalist, Dolly Rathebe, in 1964. In 1963 the Elite Swingters won the "Band Section" of the Cold Castle Jazz Festival. Though this information may be incorrect given the inclusion of Chris McGregor's Big Band in that same year.

While in Durban, performing at the 1965 BATFAIR trade show, Tshukudu drowned while swimming. The group continued to perform and record but interest in their style of jazz dwindled with the rise of mbaqanga, which appealed to a younger audience. In 1989 the group reunited with Rathebe to record a number of albums.

Over the years, members performing with the group have included: Jury Mpehlo, Chris Songxaka, Albert Ralulimi, Mike Selelo, Elijah Nkwanyane, Johnny Selelo, Blythe Mbityana, Chris Columbus, Daniel Ngema, George Manxola, Jackie Mogali, Paul Ntleru, Dimpy Shabalala, Philip Mbele. Bennette Rahlao, Conrad Zulu, Jack Mogale amongst others.

Thanks to Warren Siebrits for making this LP available.