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FREEWAY

Freeway

Abahambi | Umlazi

"Matasuna Records" journey goes to "South Africa" for the first time to reissue two superb Afro-/Jazzfunk songs by the band "Freeway". Released in 1975 on the South African label "Flame", the album "Abahambi – Balomhlaba" was rediscovered and re-released by the good folks of "Black Pearl Records" from Berlin in 2013. The LP immediately landed on Matasuna Records' album best list and was at the top of the reissue wish list. Now that goal has come true to officially release two songs on 45, making them available as 7inch vinyl singles for the first time. Transferred from the original master tapes and remastered to sound as good as never before. An essential release!

The title track of the album "Abahambi" composed by "Sipho Gumede" and also the album opener is also the A-side of the Matasuna release. The song immediately builds up an incredible groove with the first bar and offers an atmospherically dense, 5-minute funk firework. The musicians master their instruments to perfection: be it in the collective playing as well as in the polished solo passages, where they can fully demonstrate their skills. One of the tunes that could run endlessly without ever getting boring.

On the flip side, the song "Umlazi" composed by "Enoch Mthalane" is another testament to the sophistication of their arrangements & musicality. Although this song is much slower in tempo, it is in no way inferior to the A-side in intensity. Especially the piano generates a hypnotic groove, which is skillfully continued by the guitar. Another musical treat!

The fact that the composers of the songs and musicians of the band are (or were) well-known greats of South African jazz music, but the album respectively the band name "Freeway" does not appear in any bio/discography is more than curious. Apparently it is considered proven that the band was founded by bass player "Sipho Gumede".

Born in "Durban" (South Africa), "Sipho Gumede" learned to play the guitar autodidactically until he received his first introduction to jazz from jazz guitarist "Cyril Magubane" at the age of 16. He switched to bass and then got his first professional music job as a member of the "Jazz Revellers" band. In 1970 he went to "Johannesburg" where he met, worked with and toured with some great musicians of that time. He formed several bands with some of them such as "Roots", "Spirits Rejoice" or "Sakhile". Gumede also recorded collaborative pieces with other jazz legends before recording his first solo album in 1985. In the following years he was involved in tours of North America, Europe, as well as many African countries. In 2000, Sipho moved back to "KwaZulu-Natal", where he taught music and performed for township youth. His artistic productivity did not stop there, however, and he produced a number of other albums. In total, he produced, recorded and contributed to more than 20 albums. He died in July 2004 after a short illness.

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: Full blast funky guitars on this fiery for the first time pressed on a 7"and boy does it pack a punch. Originally recorded in 1975 this remaster you wouldn't know it. Smooth & delicious.

TRACK LISTING

1. Abahambi
2. Umlazi

Richmond Fontaine

We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River (RSD21 EDITION)

    THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2021 EXCLUSIVE AND WILL BE AVAILABLE INSTORE ON SATURDAY JULY 17TH ON A FIRST COME FIRST SERVED BASIS, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

    IF THERE ARE ANY REMAINING COPIES THEY WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE ONLINE AT 6PM ON THE SAME DAY (SATURDAY JULY 17TH).



    Limited edition of 1000 on 180g gold colour vinyl with printed inner.

    Richmond Fontaine's 8th album "We Used to Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River", is Richmond Fontaine at their strongest with Willy Vlautin taking over a year to write; most of it autobiographical. This was the bands last album recorded with JD Foster and is still seen as one of their strongest.

    'Raw, autobiographical brilliance' - 5/5 Uncut


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