Vol. 1 - 1970-1976: Vinyl LP
The Movers

Vol. 1 - 1970-1976: Vinyl LP

AALP095
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Label: Analog Africa
Release Date: 5th August

Get to know The Movers one of South Africa's most celebrated bands from the 70s, unit-shifters of the day and even crossing-over onto the white radio stations, nobody could deny their funk, their bright jazz, the African rhythms and that addictive party funk that bring to mind The Meters. Every track on this retrospective feels like a celebration to make your soul dance.

For those who dig: anything released on Analog Africa, African funk, soul and groove.

New release on Analog Africa, The Movers Vol 1 1970 - 76. It's a special,
but also a strange sensation to be releasing an album of one of your early
musical heroes.

I first discovered The Movers on my very first "record safari" in 1996. My
destination was Bulawayo, in southern Zimbabwe, and to get there I had to travel
via Jo'burg. While in town I stopped at a store called Kohinoor, in search of
Mbaqanga – also known as Township Jive – and found a few tapes which I
listened to non-stop on the bus that carried me to the land of Chimurenga Music.
One of these cassettes included the songs "Hot Coffee" and "Phukeng Special"
which instantly became part of my daily life. Twenty- five years later I'm still
grooving to them. What I didn't know at that time was that The Movers were
hugely successful during the 1970s; so when it came time to release some of their
music, I thought it was going to be "a walk in the park" to track down information
about them and write their biography. I was in for a rude awakening. Despite their
legendary status, there was almost no information available on the band or any
of its members.

Fortunately Nicky Blumenfeld from Kaya Radio came to the rescue. A few days
after I reached out to her, she had managed to get the phone number of Kenneth
Siphayi, who is considered to be the founder of the band, as well as vocalist
Blondie Makhene and saxophonist Lulu Masilela. Although we left no stone
unturned, we were unable to fnd any of the four original members who seem to
have passed away in total anonymity. The story of The Movers began in 1967
when two unknown musicians – the brothers Norman and Oupa Hlongwane –
approached Kenneth Siphayi a stylish and wealthy businessman from the
Alexandra township to ask if he could buy them musical instruments.

In return he would receive a cut from future life shows and record deals. Kenneth,
ended up doing much more, becoming their manager, setting them up in a
rehearsal space, and introducing them to an organist who would prove to be the
missing link in the band's skeletal sound. He also gave them their name: The
Movers … because, as he said, their music was going to move you, whether you
liked it or not. The band exploded onto the country's racially- segregated music
scene at the dawn of the 1970s with a sound that applied the rolling organ
grooves and elastic rhythms of American soul to songs that came straight from
the heart of the townships. Rumours of the band started to spread throughout the
country and soon the record labels were sending their talent scouts to the
Alexandra township to hear it for themselves. The Movers finally signed to Teal
Records in 1969, and their first album, Crying Guitar, went on to sell 500,000
copies within the first three months, launching them into the front rank of South
African bands. In their first year they went from local sensations to being the first
band of black South Africans to have their music cross over to the country's white
radio stations.

Although the first record was entirely instrumental, The Movers started working
with different singers soon after – scoring a nearly hit with 14 year old vocal
prodigy Blondie Makhene – and enriched their sonic palette with horns, extra
percussion and various keyboards. Their stylistic range also expanded,
incorporating elements of Marabi, Mbaqanga, jazz, funk, and reggae into their
soul- steeped sound. But the essence of their music came from the almost
telepathic connection of its founding members: the simmering organ of Sankie
Chounyane, the laid- back guitar lines of Oupa Hlongwane, the energetic
Bass grooves of Norman Hlongwane and the simmering rhythms of drummer of
Sam Thabo. The band reached their apex in the mid-1970s, and their hit 'Soweto
Inn', sung by Sophie Thapedi, became inseparable from the student revolts that
signalled a new resistance to the apartheid government. In 1976, however, their
manager was forced out, and their producer started to play a more active role in
the band's direction. By the end of the decade there were no original members left.
But at their height The Movers were titans of South African soul who left a legacy
of over a dozen albums and countless singles of pure groove. On The Movers
1970– 76, Analog Africa presents 14 of the finest tracks from the band's
undisputed peak.

Tracks:
1. Give Five Or More
2. Tau Special
3. Soweto Inn
4. Soul Crazy
5. Kudala Sithandana
6. Oupa Is Back
7. Balele
8. Hot Coffee
9. Gig Soul Party
10. Ku-Ku-Chi
11. 2nd Avenue
12. Phukeng Special
13. Six Mabone
14. Plenty Time


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