Announcing: Wells Fargo’s Heavy Zimbabwean Rock Via Vinyl Me Please

Now-Again | May. 24, 2016 | News |

Wells Fargo’s heavy rock music exploded in Zimbabwe in the 1970s, during the last decade of the country’s War of Independence. This is the first time Wells Fargo’s revolutionary music has been released outside of Zimbabwe – Watch Out!, for the first time in album form, is available via Vinyl Me Please’s subscription service in June.


We’ve hinted at the work that we’re doing in Zimbabwe, researching, archiving and reissuing the best of the country’s 70s rock and funk scene. It’s difficult to describe in a few words how complicated this process has been to date – and our associate Matthew Shechmeister has done the music gods’ work in the country, tirelessly attempting to document a scene before its scattered remnants are discarded or, quite literally, burned.

Egon talked about the scene in a three part interview with BBC DJ Gilles Peterson, and Now-Again has issued Zimbabwean rock songs as part of our 7″ Sure Shots series and the Christophe Lemaire anthology Can’t You Hear Me?

Now, in conjunction with Vinyl Me Please’s LP subscription service, we are issuing the first album from this scene, from one of Zimbabwe’s great rock bands: Wells Fargo. It comes out in June. In extensive liner notes packaged with the Vinyl Me Please issue, Matthew Shechmeister tells the story of just how black Zimbabweans were able to pen, record and release revolutionary music under dire circumstances, oppressed by a systematically racist Rhodesian government.

This project is exclusive to Vinyl Me Please for six months. The Vinyl Me Please issue includes:

– 180 gram, yellow + green tie dye vinyl
– Gatefold jacket
– 20-pg liner notes books
– 12” x 12” original art print by Sanghon Kim
– Original cocktail recipe courtesy of Zach Wilks.

Now-Again will issue a version of the album with an expanded book in January 2017. It will be pressed on 145 gram vinyl, and will not come with the art print or cocktail recipe. The LP will come in single, 2 panel jacket and will be packaged as a “Now-Again Book,” with a custom 12″ x 12″ book holder containing a softcover book. The CD version will come as a hard-cover book.

You can read an edited version of Matthew’s liner notes here and, below, you can read what Vinyl Me Please has to say about this album.

Vinyl Me Please writes:

Every once in awhile an album or band comes out of nowhere and takes over your turntable. It doesn’t happen all that often, but it’s one of the best parts of loving this stuff in the first place and when it does, you feel like you’ll never be the same. And, dramatics aside, you probably won’t be. There’s a special kind of love you develop for music you wake up one day knowing nothing about and go to sleep feeling overwhelmed by. A special attachment you develop to the things that wreck you.

That’s how Wells Fargo’s album Watch Out! was for us. The people who made this record, and the world it came out of, make for the most compelling and heart wrenching story we’ve ever heard behind an album we’ve featured. No question, the history of this thing is going to shake you up. And the music itself is no less forceful. Released as a call to arms for a blooming civil war and kept from a full release by racist labels, Watch Out! is the kind of full frontal revolution rock that would have made flower children squeamish and Jimi Hendrix weep. There’s so much more I could say about it but we’ve brought in some of our favorite writers to do that for me and I can’t wait for you to read what they’ve put together. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this: This album matters in the same way all the great ones do. Because of the freedom it brings whenever it’s played.

15 Responses to “Announcing: Wells Fargo’s Heavy Zimbabwean Rock Via Vinyl Me Please”

  1. Keith Wilkins says:

    Is a track listing available?

  2. spaceboy says:

    Oh my! I love the ‘Can’t You Hear Me’ comp., and ‘Wake Up You! v2, still waiting for v1 to arrive. Actually, most of Now-Again releases I really like. This is one of my favorite labels. Will buy the CD version of this whenever it comes out.

  3. Now-Again says:

    Thanks Spaceboy! CD – as a hard cover book – will be out in January 2017.

  4. Marky B says:

    Looks awesome, can’t wait!

  5. non says:

    is this a reissue of a 70s album or a compilation of their singles?

  6. Jonny Egwash says:

    These record clubs have a tang of elitism to them, and maybe it would be nice to get a record that is just that, sleeve and record so we can keep the costs down. These limited runs seem to appeal to modern collectors most of whom i imagine dont even listen to the music for fear of reducing its resale value.

  7. Egon says:

    This is a compilation of singles, as this band was never able to record an album. Few black Zimbabwean rock bands were able to.

    I plan on issuing this album, with an expanded book, and a book holder, at $40 in January. That is, i think, a very fair price. I think Vinyl Me Please’s cost is actually quite low. I think most consumers have no clue what it costs to just manufacture an LP, let alone put in the R&D to creating a truly great product.

    Vinyl is a luxury. An affordable one, but a luxury. I hope visitors to this site know that.

  8. Jonny Egwash says:

    I think you have missed the point of what i was saying and maybe simultaneously kind of reinforced it. I wasn’t really talking about this release specifically but about your recent releases generally.

    You tantalise us with the promise of x and y releases and then when it comes to releasing it, i have to join some record club or pay a fortune for a sew on badge or a tote bag or in this case a book holder (last time i checked my books seemed to hold themselves quite well on the shelves on their own.) Your right most consumers will have no idea how much records cost to produce but we can use a retail value to assess roughly how much it must have cost. For example Triangle manage to put out releases for around £14 here in the UK and their products are always of a high quality. We dont need to get into an economies of scale discussion i get that you guys do stuff in limited runs but as for R&D, sounds like a holiday to me. I do that for a roof over my head, food on the table, a shirt on my back and little else.

    As for vinyl being a luxury, name one thing that couldn’t be viewed as a luxury (providing you live in the developed world)

    Dont get me wrong i like the work you guys have done over the years and i understand its hard these days to make money and keep some integrity but dont you think that, for example, if you wanted Paternosters LP and where finally faced the chance to get their album, but didn’t have much money, would you pay £48, the cheapest i’ve seen your copy, or would you go for the bootleg for about £20? I dont want to support bootleggers anymore than you do but your making it a more attractive proposition. Maybe a larger pressing run and lower price point might help the artists? Maybe compile all these 12 page booklets into one big book or do more merch but please, just give us the music, thats what im here for.

  9. Nick says:

    I find the prices great and the material (music) great, and much better releases overall than say Shadoks whose prices are very high, with often times little or no extras. Also Shadoks is very hit or miss on lots of stuff, releasing stuff because of rarity, and finally reissuing stuff that’s already been reissued. Now-Again is a great label and I look forward to more African band reissue suggestions like Wings, Foundars 15, One World, Semi-Colon, Rock Town Express, Mansion, Ozobby Horn, Faces, Apostles, etc…keep up the excellent work…your prices are fine with me!

  10. Nick says:

    Oh, and I forgot to mention as we should all know…try finding any original good African rock records from the 70s…not available, trashed and way too expensive in any condition…so Now-Again is doing us all a favor…quit complaining about pricing…be glad we have them and they are doing a marvelous job!

  11. Jonny Egwash says:

    Sure put me in my place Nick. Maybe Egon will send you a Christmas card this year.

  12. Rich says:

    I just listened to the Snap Judgement podcast featuring Well’s Fargo’s story and I was blown away by both their passion and music. I am no musician but my brother and I were introduced to live music by my grandfather who would rarely break out his mandolin and play for us as children. Later we found our own paths to playing music and most of the stories seem to have a similar thread where we have to play NO MATTER WHAT! It is truly an obsession and unique to childhood and adolescence.

    I agree with Jonny’s comments. I loved what I heard and want to hear more as well as support the band members that made this music. I don’t have a record player, I don’t want an album every month, and I don’t want a fucking drink recipe. I just want the MUSIC.

  13. Dan says:

    As did Rich, I too was drawn to Wells Fargo by the Snap Judgment episode on NPR. I really liked their sound.
    I’d never heard of Vinyl Me Please, so I assumed it was a reissue label similar to but on a smaller scale than Rhino, Analog Productions, Mobile Fidelity, etc. I do buy Lps but am not really concerned with the labels, just as long as I like the music and the cutting and pressing quality is good. I too am turned off by the subscription concept. I don’t do music purchases that way. And like Jonny, I’d rather have a simple, single non-gatefold album jacket and standard black vinyl. There are local artists in my smallish midwestern city who have managed to put out Lps of their work and I’ve bought these in record stores for $18 to $25. That seems reasonable for what is probably a small run.

    Take this with a grain of salt, but if you really what to know things I and most others don’t care about as Lp buyers: Mixed drink recipies, special vinyl colors, gatefold covers for single Lps, books, book holders or any other doo-dads.

    Things we do care about: Best tape sources possible, quality mastering/cutting/plating/pressing and a simple album jacket with the pertinent personnel info.

    Maybe that’s asking too little? Good luck with your business model.

  14. Vernon says:

    How many songs?
    I noticed no one answered the track listing question.
    I also notice the song and the album have the same name.
    I’m interested in that track listing now.

  15. djfancylad says:

    11 tracks, 5 on side I and 6 on side II, pretty short, comes in under the 40 min mark I believe. And to touch on Dan’s comment the coloured vinyl does nothing to enhance the music and actually becomes quite annoying when the pressing isn’t of acceptable quality. I’d grade this one a C-…there’s definitely a slight warp as seems to be the case with 80-90% of the new vinyl I purchase. There’s an annoyingly consistent pop throughout most of the first track on the second side. I gave Vinyl Me Please a chance initially because I wanted the Four Tet Pink LP. That pressing was nice and I was able to get some free LPs referring friends to the service, but I feel my enthusiasm waning. Eventually you’ll end up getting an album of the month you care nothing about. These days I get most excited by stuff I find at the thrift store. You can’t beat the price and you can still find some gems.

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