Saturday, August 14, 2010

Zeke Manyika

Unfashionable as it may be to admit it, but I prefer the Polydor-era Orange Juice work to the Postcard-era.

Most likely because I discovered them through Top Of The Pops and Smash Hits in '83/84, and not via John Peel and some badly photocopied fanzine article in their earlier days. By that point they were already trying to live the fizzy-pop over-produced 80's dream and had abandoned the ramshackle lo-fi approach. The turning point, it seemed to me, was the employment of a fantastically funky and talented drummer by the name of Zeke Manyika who seemed to give Edwyn's pop songs a bouncing soulful sheen. (NB I fully intend to dedicate an entire future post to the Flesh Of My Flesh single in all it's majesty)

By the time of the last Orange Juice album, the group had simmered down to just the two of them and it's still my favourite of their records.

The urban myth goes that Edwyn was unceremoniously dropped by Polydor after that album and then mortified to find that they kept Zeke on contract enabling him to go on and release a solo album and a couple more of his singles for the label.

The album Call & Response is very much in the same style as the tracks he contributed to the Rip It Up album, infusing African rhythms and melodies with 80's pop stylings, and the second single Heaven Help Us (Try) is probably the stand-out track. Contrary to the aforesaid myth I guess that Edwyn must have been happy enough with the situation because he illustrated the single sleeve with some excellent pencil sketches.

Posting it here also highlights one of my other aural fetishes - the 80's 12" Mix (but more of that later...)

Zeke Manyika - Heaven Help Us (Try) [ManyanaMegaMix]

Zeke also got dropped by Polydor after this record but returned a few years later with (the superior) Mastercrime album on Mute (and an NME front cover) before disappearing again. One for the "where are they now?" file i suspect.


Anonymous said...

Many, many thanks for posting this. I´ve been looking for this single for ages. Back then it used to be one of my favorite 12" (the b-sides if I remember correctly were also quite good). If you´re ever planning to post the whole call and reponse album, I´m sure you´d make a couple of people around the globe quite happy.
cheers from berlin, Boris

guilherme said...

Please the whole album,thank's.