Thursday, 9 August 2007

The Trutone Dolls - Ranking High Among the Top 100 Girl Group Names Ever... and you need to hear this 78!

Among the one or two or three or possibly even more things that have changed since the arrival of that newfangled Internet thing is the collecting of music. The artifact-i-ness of those sacred artifacts, the records (ie; 78s, 45s, wax cylinders, LPs, EPs 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs) has shifted in ways that are difficult to measure because they've both gained and lost. You really don't need devote massive real estate to your record collection any more because it all fits on your IPod . . . but if you've got any taste whatsoever, a big fat hunk of your IPod real estate is devoted to stuff that only exists because some fairly obsessive collector of wax cylinders or 78s or obscure Mexican surfin' lounge-soul grooves has devoted some huge hunk of their real life real estate to the care and preservation and storage of Mexican surfin' lounge soul.

Point being, that of all the record collectors ever categorized, the most obsessive and persnickety of them all --- excepting, of those darn wax cylinder-collecting geeks -- have always been the 78 guys. (And guys they were, and are, almost always, almost exclusively....there's like maybe about three of 'em who have ever even had a girlfriend. Women always want to dance and that might jar the phonograph needle.) Anyway, 78 collectors never really wanted to share the music; they just wanted to have it -- on their shelves, in its proper sleeve, then sealed in plastic slips and properly filed according to arcane systems of chronology and genre and label and artist alphabetizing that only they understood.

Well, thanks to the internet, that's pretty much over. Musicblogs worldwide are blowing it all up. Generosity reigns supereme. You can now go get the entire history of Norwegian Death Metal or the roots of Brazil's forro music online, compliments of somebody who's thrilled that you even care to bother to visit and download and listen and maybe even offer a friendly comment. And who generally is willing to pass along what information they have on artists who are often so obscure that copyright issues are about as integral as interstellar train schedules. (Maybe we can discuss Gallo and copyright and artist royalty payments at perhaps a later date.)

Case in point (and here, at long last, is the part where it begins to get slightly somewhat germane to Triomf, kind of, sort of, maybe) is Excavated Shellac, "A weekly blog dedicated to 78rpm recordings of folkloric and vernacular music from around the world." This guy --- we're assuming he's a guy, but, hey, let's face it -- is putting his collection online, one record at a time, one week at a time. And a week or so ago (go to July 29, 2007), his hip pick to click was "Kudala Ngikutshela" by the Trutone Dolls on South Africa's Winner label. He acknowledges how little he knows about the Trutone Dolls (although, let's face it -- that has to rank in the upper percentiles of the Top 100 Girl Group Names Ever) but what he does know is pretty fascinating. And, given that some of this blog's current (and future!) readership is from SA, we're guessing that he'll know more quite soon. Anybody out there know more about the Trutone Dolls, Strike Vilikazi, or what year this 78 was made? We're guessing that there will be a Sophiatown connection in there, and we want to thread that needle. Assistance, please?

Meanwhile, here's the label and a link to the music. We'll be listening to a lot of Boere music and to music made in and around and about Sophiatown/Triomf/Sophiatown down through the years, but we couldn't resist starting here. Oh, and somebody tell us, please, how to translate "Kudala Ngikutshela."


JW said...

Thank you for linking to my site and enjoying the Trutone Dolls cut.

There's a new breed of 78 collector out there, I'll have you know. We know how to dress ourselves, have healthy relationships, good jobs, and don't let our lives revolve solely around our collecting habits. I'm interested in sharing music - not keeping it locked up. So, I would recommend rethinking your stereotype.

You caught me on one thing. I spelled Strike's name incorrectly in my original post. It's Vilakazi with an "a" - there's lots of info on him.

Anonymous said...

OK, Mademoiselle, we acknowledge it -- you formerly persnickety 78 collecter dudes have... uhm... changed.....

But really, we want you to know and our readers to know and other blogs' readers to know and print press readers to know and, well, pretty much everybody to know that we're big fans of yours. And really admire what you're doing, and the spirit. (Especially since 78 collectors used to be such miserly little weenies....)

Point in fact, that you're far too modest to bring forward. Your earlier South African post (oh, we'll certainly get around to that one too....) was listed as "Sotho" and this one "Zulu..." A small thing to those of us outside of SA, perhaps, but pretty focused, frankly....

So how's your secret stash of obscure Boere Musik 78s on labels nobody we know has ever heard of?

Alkis Giamalis said...

Hello, can you reupload this song of the Trutone Dolls ? I am a fan of southafrican township music and I keep searching for stuff like this.

Thank you