Little Lemmy – Little Lemmy
Kwela and the pennywhistle are almost synonymous with the townships in the 50s. It is a sort of jazzy sound with a big dose of joie de vivre thown in. It brings up images of Saturday night dances in town halls where well dressed people do polite dances in black and white. Little Lemmy Special was one of the luminaries of this style of music (and was the subject of Mango Groove’s song ‘Special Star’).
Not too many acts produce songs that have the same title as their name (‘Talk Talk’ by Talk Talk and the lesser known 80s his in South Africa ‘Hey You’ by ‘Hey you’ come to mind), but Lemmy Mabaso decided to call this jaunty little stroll down a friendly street on a Saterday arvie, ‘Little Lemmy’. It will have you smiling and whistling along with it as you listen, but there will be a little something in the melody that will bug you. ‘Where have I heard this before?’ you may well ask. Then you put on Bert Kaempfert’s ‘A Swinging Safari’ and you realise that the latter is ‘Big Lemmy’ except Kaempfert has given it a fuller sound compared to Little’s sparse, yet cheerful tune. Yes, it’s not exactly the same notes being played, but they are darn close. But here’s the rub, Little Lemmy was our special star, whereas Bert was just a German bloke doing what is now referred to as ‘a Graceland’.
Where to find it:
South African Souvenirs – Various Artists (1993), Teal Records, TELCD 2346