California’s Smiling C compile tracks from South African Paul Ndlovu AKA Kumasi on a new double-pack. Repressing selections from his early `80s LP and 12s. While Dali Wam, is decent, if typical Afro Funk, the rest of the E.P. consists of Rick James-esque super freaky freak-outs, and histrionic mid-tempo Disco rollers. Personal highlights being Anomakoliwa, and Picnic (Moger). The former a cheeky, uncredited riff on The Peech Boys` Don`t Make Me Wait. Copping the unmistakable piano and guitar refrains from the Paradise Garage classic, but doing away with the orignal`s electronics, and Larry Levan`s studio Dub trickery. Letting a sax fill in the gaps. There`s some moaning on the release`s Discogs page. About Anomakoliwa being for hipsters only (I don’t think you`ll find anyone further from a hipster than me). That it`s simply an overhyped cover. But isn’t that part of what being a DJ is about? Not just finding unknowns, but finding unknown versions of crowd favourites. Surprising, and entertaining, dancers.
Picnic (Moger) is also a cover. An interpretation of a tune recorded by Ken Hutchinson and Sello Mmutung under the alias, Focus (Hutchinson was later a member of the highly politicized, multiracial SA band, Savuka). Featured on their Zulu E.P., reissued in 2017 by Australia`s Crown Ruler. Kumasi`s version is however the definitive take. Twice the length of the OG, with jazzy, vibes-like keys, an Afro / Cosmic / Balearic chug breakdown, and a smooth saxophone solo worthy of Sade`s Stuart Matthewman.