Dudu Pukwana - Dudu Phukwana and the "Spears"



born in port elizabeth - started playing piano at an early age, switched to alto saxophone and first attracted attention while playing in cape town at famous jazz night spot 'the vortex' with such musicians as dollar brand, chris mcgregor - was close friend of nick moyake the late tenor player - formed his own group 'the jazz giants' which included makaya ntshoko the drummer with king kong show and later with dollar brand - exploded on to the jo'burg scene playing at a hillbrow night club and at various concerts - same year was awarded prize for best musician of the year at the johannesburg jazz festival sponsored by castle breweries - chris mcgregor, fellow musicians and long standing friend had at this time also arrived from cape town for the festival - together thay formed the famous chris mcgregor big band which included the cream of the country's musicians and recorded the now classic record of the same name - relatively bad times followed for a period after which a grant from the oppenheimers enabled the group known then as the 'blue notes' to purchase a combi and tour the country - meantime tapes of their music had been sent overseas and they were invited to take part in the antibes jazz festival in france with such names as ella fitzgerald and the swingle singers - from there the group moved to paris and then to london where they appeared at the famous ronnie scott's jazz club - latest record called 'very urgent' hailed unanimously by critics as the greatest thing to come out of england - this record shows another side of dudu backed by the vocal group the 'spears'

liner notes - peter sinclair

photography by peter sinclair
sleeve design by josh spencer
a witchseasons production


recorded 1969-05
issued 1969
made in South Africa
produced by Joe Boyd
published by Warlock / Belinda
LTJ-S 232
matrix LTJ-S 232 A
matrix LTJ-S 232 B
33 rpm
first issue
cover images by Peter Sinclair
cover design by Josh Spencer
cover printed by Interpak
source: flatinternational Archive



1.1Pezulu (Way Up)

(Dudu Pukwana)

1.2Thulula (Fill It Up)

(Dudu Pukwana)

1.3Kuthwasi Hlobo (Spring)

(Dudu Pukwana)

1.4Half Moon

(Dudu Pukwana)

1.5Yima Mjalo (Stick Around)

(Dudu Pukwana)

2.6Kwa Thula (Thula's Place)

(Dudu Pukwana)

2.7Joe's Jika (Joe's Groove)

(Dudu Pukwana)

2.8Nobumvu (Red Head)

(Dudu Pukwana)

2.9Qonqoza (Knock)

(Dudu Pukwana)

2.10Pho La (Cool It)

(Dudu Pukwana)



DUDU PUKWANA - alto sax
MONGEZI FEZA - trumpet?
SIMON NICOL - guitar



This is the battered copy that Chris or Matt at Electric Jive found in Pretoria! Many thanks to Matt for trading this very rare album into the flatinternational archive — exceptionally damaged but a perfect candidate for our visual purposes!

The line-up here has been extrapolated from Joe Boyd's notes on the album White Bicycles which features the track Church Mouse by the same group apparently from around the same time. Though correct me if I am wrong, but I can't make out a trumpet here and there is definitely a funky organ as well as piano which runs throughout so it is likely that the line-up here may be incorrect.

Some years ago, I met Richard Haslop, a writer and collector in Durban and he gave me some great background to this wonderful record. According to Haslop the album was produced and/or facilitated by Joe Boyd and recorded at the Sound Techniques Studios in London in 1969. The label has the publishing date as May 1969 but Haslop recalls March as a possible recording date. The recording was made by Witchseason Productions a company owned by Joe Boyd.

Boyd had mentioned to Haslop that both Richard Thompson and Simon Nicol (of Fairport Convention) played guitars on these recordings and Thompson himself had confirmed this with Haslop. Haslop recalls from his conversation with Thompson that "Dudu had lent him some "kwela" albums and told him to learn the guitar style. He didn't quite get it right, but he said that for a few months he wandered around London pretending to himself that he was a teenage South African guitarist!"

Haslop goes on to explain that Boyd came to South Africa with the recordings and a plan to add major vocalists to the project but nobody there could care less and so in disgust he left the tapes in Johannesburg. Apparently he assumed that they remained unreleased but unknown to him Trutone issued the recordings on their Quality imprint, a label generally targeted to black audiences.

Check out the album at Electric Jive!