In the liner notes of the CD reissue of Ntemi Piliso’s 70s recordings with the Members, Rob Allingham reveals Lulu Masilela’s dismay at first hearing Abdullah Ibrahims’s (aka Dollar Brand) classic 1974 track Mannenburg. For Masilela this South African anthem sounded more like a slowed down version of Zacks Nkosi’s Jackpot recorded at least 10 years prior.
Perhaps out of protest, Masilela wanted to re-record the tune and credit it to Nkosi. That same year he approached The Movers and they put together their version of Mannenburg featured on the album Repeat After Me. (1974, City Special, CYL 1029) (1976, Generation , GEN 3007). Ironically David Thekwane, their producer, refused to let them credit the track to Nkosi, but they did have the pleasure of seeing their version completely outsell Ibrahim’s.
Mannenburg, at almost 14 minutes long, took up the whole side of one disc and introduced to South African audiences a type of extended play common to many albums at that time. (Here I am thinking of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew or Pink Floyd’s Echoes.)
After their success with Mannenburg, Lulu Masilela and the Movers went back into the studio in early 1975 and recorded an even more popular album, Bump Jive, featuring again only two extended jazz-flavoured tracks.
The extended play became as popular as the “bump jive” dance itself and with the introduction of disco, dominated South African jazz and soul music well into the early 80s.
Bump Jive was first issued in 1975 on Teal’s City Special label (CYL 1030). The issue shown here is the 1976 US edition on the Generation label (GEN 3006).
The liner notes of their Dutch single She Loves You maintains that the The Movers were formed in June of 1969 by keyboardist Sankie Chounyane and producer David Thekwane. Though Rob Allingham points out that they were discovered and first recorded by producer Hamilton Nzimande. Furthermore the liner notes of their second LP, Greatest Hits Volume 2 actually state that Kenneth Siphayi formed the group in Alexandra. Siphayi's image is featured predominantly on the back cover of their third LP Greatest Hits Volume 3.
According to Max Mojapelo, the original group included Sankie Chounyane, Oupa Hlongwane, Norman Hlongwane and Sam Thabo, though the lineup would shift throughout the seventies. Others that performed with the group at various times included Lulu Masilela, Lucky Mbatha, Blondie Makhene, Philip Malela, Jabu Khanyile, Vusi Shange, Rammy McKenzie, Jabu Sibumbe, Lloyd Lelosa, Archie Mohlala, Peter Moteolhe, Thomas Phale, David Thekwane, Dakkie Tau, Robert Mbele, Maxwell Kubheka and Peter Morake.
The line-up for their previous album Repeat after Me (1974) featuring Mannenburg included Sam Thabo, Archie Mohlala, Sankie Chounyane, Oupa Hlongwane, Norman Hlongwane, Peter Moteolhe, Lulu Masilela, Thomas Phale, David Thekwane, Dakkie Tau and Robert Mbele. It is very likely that the line-up on this LP, Bump Jive, was very similar.
The earliest single in the flatinternational archive, Danny's Corner (City Special, CYB 67) dates from 1969 and is also featured on what appears to be an early compilation LP, titled just The Movers. This album was issued on Teal's budget series "Music for Leisure" in 1970. Most of The Movers early albums were pressed on Teal's City Special label and then roughly around 1976 they shifted to Teal's RCA labels.
For more on this record see the flatint post on Electric Jive.
For a Movers discography visit the new flatint blog at flatint.blogspot.