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From the Land of Band Box Records

Chisa Records

Chisa started off in 1966 not as a member of the Motown Family.  That came in 1969 when Motown assumed distribution duties.  The original concept for the label was to promote “South African tinged jazz and rhythm and blues” – South African because that is where Chisa’s founder – Hugh Masekela was from.

This from Frank Kavelin of Lute Records and former member of Chisa recording artists “The Five Smooth Tones”:

” Chisa was owned by Hugh Masekela and his producer Stewart Levine.  It was started with money from the success of “Grazin’ In The Grass.”  They had just signed the Jazz Crusaders to Chisa and Wayne Henderson of the JC suggested we audition for Hugh and Stewart.  We did and they liked us.  Stewart arranged a distribution deal with Motown and Motown considered us a subsidiary label.  Hugh and Stewart wanted to meet my father so he was on hand when the group signed with Chisa.  Other than that, my father was not involved.

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Chisa was a a real musicians’ label.  I was involved in writing arrangements for Hugh Masekela, Monk Montgomery (the great bassist and brother of Wes Montgomery) and my own group.  Other musicians on the label played on the rhythm tracks, guys like Wilton Felder (who coincidentally played bass on “I Want You Back”), Stix Hooper, Joe Sample, Wayne Henderson and Arthur Adams.  I had just graduated high school in 1969 so it was pretty cool to be working with these great musicians!”

Chisa Records Discography

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Chisa 002 – Letta – December, 1966

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Chisa 003 – Hugh Masekela – February, 1967

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Chisa 004 – Peter Fonda – March, 1967

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Chisa 006 – Yaphet Kotto – October, 1967

Yaphet is an actor who appeared in “Alien” in 1979 and “Live and Let Die” in 1973

Yaphet Kotto Picture

Chisa 11-10 – The Soul Purpose – 1969

Chisa 11-11 – Yaphet Kotto – 1969

Chisa 8001 –  Stu Gardner – “It’s A Family Thang” b/w “Home on The Range”

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CHISA 8001 - 9-69 A DJ

Chisa 8001 – Stu Gardner – Home on the Range b/w It’s A family Thing

Chisa 8005 – Dorothy, Oma and Zelpha – May, 1969

(Oma Heard shown below)

Chisa 8002 – Monk Montgomery – September, 1969

Brother of Wes Montgomery

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CHISA 8002 - 9-69 A CHISA 8002 - 9-69 B

Chisa Arthur Adams – October, 1969

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CHISA 8003 - 10-69 A CHISA 8003 - 10-69 B

Chisa 8004 – The Anonymous Children Of Today – November, 1969 b/w “Love and Peace”

CHISA 8004 - 11-69 DJ A

Chisa 8005 – Dorothy, Oma, & Zelpha – May, 1969 – b/w “Henry Blake”

CHISA 005 - 10-67 DJ

Chisa 8006 – The Five Smooth Stones – November, 1969 – b/w “Love Unto Me”

They were Timothy Hawkins, Edie Hawkins, Frank Kavelin and John Colar

Frank Kavelin was the son of Lute Records owner Al Kavelin – He sent this to me November 5th, 2018:

Frank Kavelin – Lute Records

“If you Google “Motown Encyclopedia” you will find an article about me and our 1969 single “I Will Never Love Another” b/w “Love Unto Me.”  The group was Five Smooth Stones, alluding to the title of a book that was popular at the time that dealt with interracial marriage.  The group was interracial so it seemed like a good idea at the time.  Our first single was released on the same day as “I Want You Back,” the first single by the Jackson 5.  You can imagine who got all the attention promotion-wise.  Despite that we did get some airplay and some sales.

CHISA 8006 - 11-69 DJ A

Chisa 8007 – Stu Gardner, February, 1970

Chisa 8009 – Hugh Masekela – September, 1970 – b/w “Make Me a Potent”

Hugh was the founder of the Chisa label

CHISA 8009 9-70 - A (1)

Chisa 8010 – The Jazz Crusaders – September, 1970

CHISA 8010 - 9-70 A CHISA 8010 - 9-70 B

Chisa 8011 – Arthur Adams – February, 1971

CHISA 8011 - 2-71 A CHISA 8011 - 2-71 B

Chisa 8012 – Letta – February, 1971

CHISA 8012 - 2-71 - A (1) CHISA 8012 - 2-71 - A (2)

Chisa 8013 – The Crusaders, June, 1971

CHISA 8013 - 6-71 - A CHISA 8013 - 6-71 - B

Chisa 8014 – Hugh Masekela And the Union of South Africa – June, 1971 (B side is “Shebeen)

Chisa Records Long Play Discography

Chisa LP 101 – The Emancipation of Hugh Masekela – 1966

Chisa LP 801 – It’s Never Too Late – 1969

Chisa LP 801 – Hugh Masekela – Reconstruction – 1970

Chisa LP 804 – The Jazz Crusaders – Old Socks, New Shoes, New Socks, Old Shoes – 1971

Chisa LP 805 – Letta –

Chisa LP 806 – Monk Montgomery – Bass Odyssey – 1971

Chisa LP – The Crusaders – Pass the Plate – 1971

Chisa LP 808 – Hugh Masekela – The Union of South Africa – 1971

 

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