“Stars Of Africa” by Intuthuko Brothers - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1976Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

A big improvement (for my tastes) on their more poppy offering from ’74, “Tomorrow’s Wedding”. On “Stars Of Africa”, the instrumental sextet are truer to the Urban Jive style which so rocks the townships. There are quite a few big-hitters on-board; for me, the best three are to be heard on side 1. The peppy “Mahlabathini Special No.6” opens the album poignantly; it was written by the group’s first bassist, Jackson Simelane Makwenta, who, tragically, was killed in a car accident within the last 12 months. The group dedicate the LP to his memory and this fine track does the job splendidly. Bursts of melodic saxophone are one of the key ingredients to the Intuthuko sound, and Mpompie Sosibo’s excellent “Yasuka Yahlala” takes centre-stage on the next track. Unbelievably, he too would meet the same fate as poor Jackson before the decade was through. The celebratory “Wedding Bells No.5”, penned by ace-guitarist Hansford Mthembu, the group’s leader, is next to shine. The message is clear – take to the floor and DANCE! Over on side 2, “Hamba Guluva”, written by the bassist Zenzele Mchunu, is first to really get me going. The song is framed by his bass and the lively accordion – another key feature of the Intuthuko sound. I am extremely saddened to learn that, in 1984, poor Zenzele was yet another of the “Brothers” to be taken by a car accident. Maintaining the high quality immediately is “Bajike Chwane” where organs, rhythm guitars, bass guitar and sax all seem to take lead turns in an action-packed fast-paced foot tapper. The Intuthuko Brothers were hugely popular in South Africa and toured extensively throughout the country and Swaziland in the mid-1970s – on this set it’s easy to hear why. You can have a listen yourself – this LP is downloadable from the amazing culture-preservationists, Electric Jive.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:29] 7.9.png Intuthuko Brothers - Mahlabathini Special No.6 (Jackson Simelane Makwenta) Africana
A2 [02:32] 8.5.png Intuthuko Brothers - Yasuka Yahlala (Mpompie Sosibo) Africana
A3 [02:15] 5.0.png Intuthuko Brothers - Back Home (Hansford Mthembu) Africana
A4 [02:40] 7.7.png Intuthuko Brothers - Wedding Bells No.5 (Hansford Mthembu) Africana
A5 [02:36] 6.8.png Intuthuko Brothers - Beit Bridge (Titus Masikane) Africana
A6 [02:37] 7.2.png Intuthuko Brothers - Jabula Mtwana (Mpompie Sosibo) Africana
B1 [02:29] 5.5.png Intuthuko Brothers - E-Baba (Hansford Mthembu, Titus Masikane) Africana
B2 [02:31] 7.4.png Intuthuko Brothers - Hamba Guluva (Zenzele Mchunu) Africana
B3 [02:36] 7.6.png Intuthuko Brothers - Bajike Chwane (J. Mhlongo) Africana
B4 [02:33] 6.8.png Intuthuko Brothers - Speed Trap (Hansford Mthembu) Africana
B5 [03:02] 5.8.png Intuthuko Brothers - For Ever (Hansford Mthembu, Titus Masikane) Africana
B6 [02:39] 6.2.png Intuthuko Brothers - Mangaliso No.12 (Hansford Mthembu) Africana
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