Various Artists The Indestructable Beat of Soweto- Vol. 1
Release Date: 1985
Previously Owned: No
First Time Listen: Yes
Impressions: Looking forward to this one. Well, not speaking the language, it loses a little in translation for me. But it’s chockful of catchy, quirky tunes that are light, funky and don’t have a ton of “world music” baggage. Rubbery basslines, bouncy reggae beats, obviously the predecessor to Paul Simon’s Graceland and where he found Ladysmith Black Mambazo (who I ran into warming up before a show at the Old Town School Of Music, one of the few instances of me actually meeting someone on this list.) I’m sure Vampire Weekend gave this a ton of spins also. Crazy keyboards and a guy who sounds like a South African Wolfman Jack. Fun tunes, much more loose and go-for-broke than Graceland which Mr. Simon probably sanded off the edges of this kind of music to fit his style. A nice change up from most of the albums on this list and an super enjoyable listen. I would say, yes, this beat is quite indestructable…and occasionally repetitive, but it grooves.
Starred Songs: “Awungilobolele,” “Nansi Imali,”
Sneaky Track: “Thul’ulalele”
Should this album be on the list? Yes. A surprising entry.
Will You Listen To This Again: Yes
Verdict: Breakthrough effervecent South African guitar pop tunes anthology delights listener completely and set foundation for Graceland, Vampire Weekend and maybe some unfortunate “World Music” (not their fault.)