15/04/2018: “Oh Yeh Soweto” by Teaspoon and the Waves

teaspoon and the waves

Covers of songs can do many things. Sometimes they elevate the song to new heights, bringing out the best bits and adding a fresh new take. Sometimes they absolutely butcher the original song and make you wish that the artists involved had just left it alone. But in this case, the cover has the effect of making the song a whole lot funkier!

The original song had no obvious funk deficit itself: Lamont Dozier’s 1977 hit “Going To My Roots” is already a great song. What Teaspoon and the Waves do is raise the energy levels, emphasising the bass and the phenomenally catchy piano riff, with a slightly more assertive beat, and new, more triumphant lyrics.

The song was released in 1977 (although I’ve seen it as 1980) originally, in a 5 track LP in South Africa, and was re-released as a 12″single in 2010. I came across the track in a 2013 compilation called The Rough Guide To African Disco, which is a nice little introduction to the sounds of old school African disco. South Africa in particular has a huge history of dance music, and this tune is a nice example of the variety of that scene.

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