Hugh Masekela ‎– The Chisa Years 1965-1975 (Rare And Unreleased)

CD, Compilation

Tracklist Hide Credits

1 Ojah With Hugh Masekela Afro Beat Blues
Featuring [Vocals] – Hugh MasekelaTrumpet – Hugh Masekela
2 Letta Mbulu Mahlalela
Featuring [Vocals] – Hugh MasekelaTrumpet – Hugh Masekela
3 Baranta Amo Sakesa
Featuring [Vocals] – Miatta Fahinbulleh*
4 The Zulus Joala
5 Letta Mbulu U Se Mcani
Featuring [Vocals] – Hugh MasekelaTrumpet – Hugh Masekela
6 Baranta Tepo
Featuring [Vocals] – Miatta Fahinbulleh*
7 The Zulus Za Labalaba
8 Baranta Witch Doctor
Featuring [Vocals] – Miatta Fahinbulleh*
9 Letta Mbulu Melodi (Sounds Of Home)
Featuring [Vocals] – Hugh MasekelaTrumpet – Hugh Masekela
10 Baranta Ahvuomo
Featuring [Vocals] – Miatta Fahinbulleh*
11 The Zulus Aredze
12 Baranta A Cheeka Laka Laka
Featuring [Vocals] – Miatta Fahinbulleh*
13 Johannesburg Street Band* Awe Mfana
Trumpet – Hugh Masekela
14 Letta Mbulu Macongo
Featuring [Vocals] – Hugh MasekelaTrumpet – Hugh Masekela

Companies, etc.



"Stewart tells it just like it is (was). Get down with it"
- Hugh Masekela (from the CD-booklet)

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode: 730003106927



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October 9, 2018

In consideration of the song "Afro Beat Blues" ...

If it was Bruce Springsteen’s intention to have listeners ‘blinded by the light’, then Hugh Masekela blinds us with his pioneering fusion of soul R&B and jazz, an artist who first came to the attention of the world with his funky breezy cocktail of an instrumental hit “Grazing In The Grass” in 1968, took center stage at the legendary Monterey Pop Festival, and was memorialized in the song “Monterey” by Eric Burton.

Described as the godfather of South African jazz, and well know for his work against apartheid, it was fitting that he rose to fame during the Summer of Love, where he infected the world with his stylish sound, a sound backed with lively drums, filled with rhymes and dark horn arrangements. His work was not of the soloing nature, preferring to lose himself as a member of a handpicked ensemble, where all of the players envisioned themselves as a unit. Embracing that concept, it was easy for the man to slid in seamlessly, playing with groups such as The Byrds on “So You Want To Be A Rock n’ Roll Star” and “Lady Friend,” along with outings by Paul Simon and others. On his ensemble work, his trumpet was known to sound smooth but angry, defiant at times, yet laced with a soulful funkiness that was not in your face or grabbing at your being.

For me, the memory of hearing him lay out the track “Afro Beat Blues” has been indelibly etched into the core of my being, a song that was much looser and more gritty than his early material, the fist step in Masekela’s musical evolvement, where he effortlessly fuses various genres into a single number, creating a highly evolved accessible sound … not to mention, one that is very danceable. Oddly enough, this was another Masekela track that did not see the light of day until a 2006 compilation that opened the Chisa records vault. This funky blues takes as its model the Afrobeat music Fela was then bringing to life in Lagos, and its conceit of a traveling unified sound (the lyrics name-check numerous western and southern African countries) from the Nigerian bandleader's notions on Pan-Africanism, all delivered with swirling guitars and a brass drive a steady groove.

There is not a track on this assemblage that’s as strong as Afro Beat Blues, though you might just enjoy all you find here as much as I have. Nevertheless, this single track should not be lost to anyone, as it comes across as timeless today as it did that warm summer so long ago.

Review by Jenell Kesler