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According to interviews in Nairobi by the Dutch DJ and record collector, Blue Flamingo, AGS was set up in the mid-1950s by Maganlal Jethalal Shah, who had co-owned CMS until he left after falling out with his business partner Meghji Karman Shah (no relation).


Maganlal Jethalal Shah then set up African Gramophone Stores as both a music store and a recording and producing operation, in the same street as CMS, Nairobi’s River Road. The former partners became fierce rivals until CMS was sold to Joseph Kamaru in 1968 and Maganlal Jethalal Shah decided to wind up AGS in 1972 due to dwindling sales caused by cassette piracy.


Thanks to Flemming Harrev in Denmark for sending in details of AUG 10 produced by the August Gramophone Stores. It’s sung in Kiswahili and is a tribute song to George Mukabi, a pioneering artist who recorded primarily for CMS and AGS, that is performed by his son.


It is unclear what the connection is between records labelled African Gramophone Stores and August Gramophone Stores. In November 2010, Sofiane of Groovy Record in Paris very kindly supplied a scan and details of two records, one of which is clearly labelled as August Gramophone Stores. Then in November 2012 Pauly Becquart in Tanzania sent me a scan of AUG 18, which is clearly dated as a 1983 release, more than a decade after the apparent demise of African Gramophone Stores. The producer is listed as Praful Shah, who decided to revive the label, reissuing some of Maganlal Jethalal Shah’s original recordings and producing some new ones of his own.


AGS 7-222 is in Luganda and it’s possible that the artist’s credit on this record is meant to read “Kawalya, Mayambala and AGS Boys” as Eclas Kawalya was one of the pioneers of Ugandan popular music, and a contemporary of Fred Masagazi and Charles Sonko.


Silas Muiruri was a Kikuyu, whose name crops up in John Low’s 1982 book, African Music, though I haven’t yet been able to access the full text to find out anything further about him.


Many thanks to Michael de Konongh for supplying details of three of the 1000 series singles in February 2012, to Sofiane in Paris for supplying details of AGS 1008 the following month and to Pauly Becquart for information on AUG 18 and AGS 182 in November 2012.

AGS series


AGS 7-41     Silas Muiruri                                   Kanyina Wiwaiguru/Mwendwa Ririkana


AGS 745      Silas Muiruri                                   Baba Mujiari/Arata Thi Kiriria

IML 292


AGS 57        George Mukabi                               Kusema Wongo/Ku Owa Tuna Owa

IML 515


7-AGS 149   George Mukabi                               Bibi Mama, Gani Mzuri/Furaha Wenye Gita


AGS 157      George Mukabi                               Kwetu George/Sungmusa Na Riga Yako


AGS 182      Joseph Abasi                                  Esta Kilowe/Eta Wangu

MJS 363/64


AGS 7-222   Kawalya Mayambala                       Nalule/Nkangi

                   with AGS Boys


AGS 1000 series


AGS 1005    John Mwale                                    Nilikuta Mwanamuke/Usiowe Bibi Mbele


AGS 1007    Thomas Miti                                   Eshima Ya Zamani/Kuowa Ni Kuzuri


AGS 1008    Shinda Gikombe                             Mwangi Wa Kirango/Willi Wa Muchuki


AGS 1010    J. Nzenze & J. Abasi                       Raha Mar Kajulu/Herina


AGS 1011    J Mwale & R Shimbiro                     Nyota Tuwachane/Sura Yako Nzuri


AUG series


AUG 8          Sammie Macharia                           Kuhoha Ti Kuuma/Kuhanyuka Tigukinya


AUG 10        Johnston George Mukabi                 George Mukabi/Changa Ni Mbaya


AUG 17        TFS Nyika Free Stars                       Mimi Ta Rudi Pts 1 & 2                       1982


AUG 18        TFS Nyika Free Stars                       Sitaki Maneno Pts 1 & 2                     1983

PMS 35-36


TT series


TT 12           George Mukabi                                Tom Ithabale/Festo Amahaya









Catalogue       Group                                                       A side/B side                                                  Year

Number

AGS