Sunday, June 9, 2013

New Sound Label LP & EP — Discography

Gallo, the leading record company in South Africa, introduced the New Sound label in 1958 as a marketing strategy to brand their more popular jive and kwela releases. It set those recordings apart from their own more “traditional” ones and became a visually catchy product that could rival the competition. The familiar vermillion and yellow label was a bright, modern shift away from the more conventional black, gold and silver label designs of the preceding decades.

Gallo’s traditional label for black music had changed very little from the days since its inception as the Singer label in 1930. The company employed a visual code for demarcating different styles of music that one could loosely interpret as being racially or culturally specific. (Certainly I recognize that one can never generalize about these things as there are always exceptions to every rule.) But generally black or “Bantu” music (as it was referred to then) was issued on a black label with gold or silver text. Afrikaans music was issued on a green label with gold or silver text. And within the green Afrikaans label system was a sub-category known as “Sunshine” and in many cases this demarcated music that was generally “coloured” (or mixed-race) in origin. This is not to say that this system was necessarily racially motivated, but rather it was a marketing strategy that supposedly allowed the consumer to easily identify the style of music they would more likely be more interested in.

Until 1951 most Gallo 78 rpms that were local in origin carried a GE prefix catalogue number even though there were differences in label colours. In 1951 the company changed the prefix for black music from GE to GB and the issues on the Sunshine label from GE to GS. Afrikaans recordings retained the GE prefix. Perhaps around 1953 Gallo introduced a new design feature within their black label series. A number of discs (but not all) carried a “Jive Jive” logo and must have been a marketing strategy to highlight more popular, commercial recordings such as those by the Manhattan Brothers, the Shanty City Seven, Miriam Makeba and the Skylarks.

Around 1956 Gallo streamlined the “Jive Jive” label to simply “Jive” and introduced for the first time colour, yellow, making the label black, white and yellow. The new label had a modern feel and was dedicated again to the more popular majuba (African jazz) and kwela material including tracks by the Jazz Maniacs, Skip Phalane, Lemmy ‘Special ‘Mabaso, the Solven Whistlers and so on.

In 1958 Gallo introduced the New Sound Label by again transforming the Jive label. This time substituting the black for vermillion and replacing “Jive” with “New Sound”. The result was a bright, catchy, branding tool for marketing an equivalent kind of music.

Like Jive before it, the label showcased some of Gallo’s most popular jive and kwela artists of the late 1950s and early 1960s including again Lemmy Mabaso, Spokes Mashiyane, Reggie Msomi, Miriam Makeba and the Skylarks, to name but a few. Significantly this label was introduced just as Gallo was signing Mashiyane away from Trutone and it also arrived as the popularity of kwela was peaking internationally. The timing in my opinion cannot be coincidental.

The label, like the music, was bright and easily identifiable. Early issues carried the name Gallotone in a modern san-serif font (the previous logos were all in cursive) but this too was dropped in favor of the clean simplicity of just “New Sound” next to the Gallo rooster logo.

At first the design was used only on 78 rpms, which at that time were chiefly marketed to black consumers. In 1959, some discs were issued as 45 rpms, and in 1960 the company began a series of LPs and EPs featuring some of their best artists. It is likely that these formats were to be marketed to white consumers. New Sounds of Africa, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 were the first two LPs issued and included primarily tracks by Spokes Mashiyane but also significant hits by Miriam Makeba and the Skylarks. Coincidentally these came out just as Makeba was becoming popular in the United States — she had left South Africa in August of 1959.

The label continued with a string of LP releases featuring Mashiyane, Mabaso and Msomi and then in 1962 issued the classic live recording of the 1962 Cold Castle National Jazz Festival. Generally Gallo issued jazz recordings on their Continental label, but this LP marked an important departure. This was soon followed by an even more significant classic in Jazz - The African Sound featuring Chris McGregor’s Castle Lager Big Band - one of the most collectable South African records.

New Sound maintained issues until around 1965 when it was replaced by Mavuthela's iconic Motella label under the stewardship of Rupert Bopape. Introduced in 1964 soon after Bopape joined Gallo, Motella became home to the leading South African musical styles of the late 1960s. Mavuthela followed up with other new labels including Gumba Gumba, CTC Star, Smanje Manje and so on.

Below is a provisional discography of LPs and EPs on Gallo's New Sound Label:


DISCOGRAPHY













Spokes Mashiyane
(1959)
New Sound LP
NSL GALP 1049
ABC 17506/7
While this album was first issued in 1959 on the Gallotone label (GALP 1049), the later red New Sound label employed here suggests that it may be a reissue from around 1962 or 63.














Spokes Mashiyane, Miriam Makeba and the Skylarks
(1960)
New Sound LP
NSL 1001
ABC 18959/60














Spokes Mashiyane, Miriam Makeba and the Skylarks
(1960)
New Sound LP
NSL 1002
ABC 18961/2














LEMMY SPECIAL
Lemmy 'Special' Mabaso, Boymans
(1960)
New Sound EP
XEP 7026
ABC 19312/3














SPOKES MASHIYANE
Spokes Mashiyane and His Big Five, The Romantic Boys
(1960)
New Sound EP
XEP 7027
ABC 19314/5














BEST OF SPOKES AND REGGIE - NEW SOUND VOL. 3
Reggie Msomi, Spokes Mashiyane
(c1961)
New Sound
NSL 1005














Spokes Mashiyane, Lemmy 'Special' Mabaso, Reggie Msomi
(c1961)
New Sound LP
NSL 1006
ABC 21462/3














Reggie Msomi
(1962)
New Sound LP
NSL 1007
ABC 22565/6














Lemmy 'Special' Mabaso
(1962)
New Sound LP
NSL 1008
ABC 22567/8


Spokes Mashiyane
(1962)
New Sound LP
NSL 1009
ABC 22569/70














Various Artists
(1962)
New Sound LP
NSL 1010
ABC 23189/90














Chris McGregor and the Castle Lager Big Band
(1963)
New Sound LP
NSL 1011
ABC 23613/4














LEMMY SPECIAL HITS
Lemmy 'Special' Mabaso
(1963)
New Sound EP
ESL 7121
ABC 23665/6














SPOKES' BIG FOUR
Spokes Mahiyane
(1963)
New Sound EP
XEP 7122
ABC 23667/8














NEW SOUNDS OF AFRICA VOL. 1
Spokes Mashiyane
(1963)
New Sound EP
ESL 7140
ABC 23845/6














NEW SOUNDS OF AFRICA VOL. 2
Spokes Mashiyane, Miriam Makeba and the Skylarks
(1963)
New Sound EP
ESL 7141
ABC 23849/50














NEW SOUNDS OF AFRICA VOL. 3
Lemmy 'Special' Mabaso
(1963)
New Sound EP
ESL 7142
ABC 23853/54














AFRICA BEAT JAZZ VOL. 1
Various Artists
(c1965)
New Sound LP
NSL 1018
ABC 25736/7
Many thanks to Geoff Bale for the images of this disc.



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