Following Dudu Pukwana's Zila, here's Johnny Mbizo Dyani's Witchdoctor's Son. This is not to be confused with the Witchdoctor's Son that came out on the Steeplechase label with a different line-up, though with Dudu Pukwana in both. This here is a Swedish - South African crew assembled by Mbizo for a session in Stockholm in late 1979 - early 1980. Most of the South Africans on the record were living in Sweden at the time, including Mbizo while Pukwana flew in from London for the session. Kenny Haakonson, guitarist with the prog rock outfit Kebnekajse was roped in as well as drummer Bosse Skoglund, old chums of Mbizo.
What we have here is one side of Mbizo compositions drawing on the popular SA music of the 50s and later, one traditional (in fact the same tune as the one on the Zila album posted previously), one quickie fusion number and then the odd one out, I thought, "Kalahari", named after the Botswana desert. Here Haakonson gets to do a proggish uptempo piece which would not out of place on a Kebnekajse record from the 70s, though normally not associated with Mbizo, though . Mbizo has vacated the bass for keyboards and handles vocal duties on this record.
All in all, this is eminently danceable and groovable, and an appropriate follow-up to Zila, of which there'll be more later (and more Dyani, of course).
2. Johnny's Kwela
3. Marabi Soweto
4. High Priest
7. Tula Tula
All compositions by Johnny Mbizo Dyani, except 7, traditional, arranged by JMD.
Johnny Mbizo Dyani - keyboards, vocals
Dudu Pukwana - altosax, whistles
Virimuje Shimmy Radise - tenor sax
Kenny Hakansson - electric guitars
Hassan Ban - congas
Bosse Skoglund - drums
Felix Perrera - South African trad. harp
Produced by Stanley Koonin at Sound City Studios, Stockholm, Dec.1979-Jan.1980.
This was released posthumously on the Cadillac label in 1987 and label head John Jack is listed as executive producer, though whether he may have had anything to do with the original sessions is not clear.