Monday Morning Music Mix

What am I listening to this morning? An eclectic mix … wonderful thing this iTunes random setting, with a little bit of help from me of course.

Love having music playing while I am updating and creating web presences.

  • Hey You – Dean Wareham (Pink Floyd cover)
  • Friday I’m In Love – Dean and Britta (The Cure cover)
  • I Love You … I’ll Kill You  – Enigma (cool guitar solo)
  • Get Ready – Rare Earth (all 21 minutes of it, including bass solo, drum solo and canned applause)
  • Ten Cent Dynamite – Five Horse Johnson
  • Why Can’t We Be Friends – War (heard this in Cheaper By The Dozen 2 movie on TV the other night)
  • Pigs incl Dogs & Sheep – Solar Project (a 10 minute medley of tracks off Pink Floyd’s Animals album)
  • Money – Elkie Brooks featuring Duncan Mackay on keyboards (another Floyd cover … I must be in a Pink Floyd mood this morning, well they are one of my all-time favourite bands)
  • Driving Till The Break Of Day – John Mayall (from 1973’s Ten Years Are Gone album)
  • Street Life – MC Terror (Cape Town hip hopper samples prog-rocker Rick Wakeman’s Journey To The Centre Of The Earth … The Battle, I think)

A new look, new sound Rodriguez (written 30 years ago!)

The Telegraph, Sydney 26th March 1979

by Roger Crosthwaite

COMING FROM REALITY by Rodriguez. Blue Goose MLF269.
Quite a change from Rodriguez’s first album Cold Fact. On Cold Fact Rodriguez sang bitter, disillusioned songs about slums, drug abuse and broken love affairs. Something in between the two albums obviously changed his point of view because Coming From Reality consists mainly of love songs. And not the cynical odes to past affairs of Cold Fact – these ones are full-blown, sentimental Paul McCartney-type love songs. And even the social comment songs on the album seem less bitter and more resigned. The strings have been laid on with a heavy hand, on some tracks providing the only backing to Rodriguez’s guitar and voice. But the voice shines through and the clever poetry on some tracks is as incisive as ever. But don’t expect the same Rodriguez as you heard on Cold Fact.

www.sugarman.org

Top 30 South African MP3 Downloads of the week

Posted by Michael Currin, 26 April 2009

P LW HP Title Artist Album Label MP3
1 1 1 In The Twilight aKING EP Rhythm available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
2 11 2 Spoorlyn Gruisgat Hond se Dinges OST Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
3 3 3 The Cigarette Song Natalia Rules Of The Road Sugarmusic available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
4 5 4 Worn Out Circuits RhütZ The Colour of Television Bowline available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
5 7 5 Leë Bottel Tas Etienne Terblanche & Dikazzins Die Magtige Dreuning Die Plate Kompanje available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
6 8 6 Why Bother Gin-I Grindrith Iron Tooth Monsters Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
7 10 7 Man Over Bored Jazz Zombies Dug Up Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
8 14 8 Klassieke Geveg Straaligkinders Maak Jou Oë Toe En Jou Hart Oop Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
9 2 2 No. 1 Andrew Kay Peace and Love Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
10 13 10 Grace (Extended Version) Tania Michelle EP Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
11 19 11 Dirty Dancing The Plastics Kiss The Plastics Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
12 4 4 Feathery Pillow The Orange Stilettos Penelope’s Rising Die Plate Kompanje available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
13 20 13 More Than Friends Captain Stu The Adventures OF Captain Stu Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
14 25 14 Tonight JacSharp Technicolour Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
15 6 2 Still Smokin (Ft Archetypes) Arsenic The First Toke Metalloid Lab available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
16 18 16 Fear Of A Gradual Awakening Marcia Moon A Gradual Awakening’ Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
17 22 17 Floydeski Carpet Mafia Pretzelplex Bohemia Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
18 21 18 One Step Forward Die Maverick EP Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
19 23 19 My Space Terror MC Street Life Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
20 24 20 Höeveld Uitsaai Projek Grensloos Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
21 16 21 Emosie (Motion of my heart) Quazi Man EP Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
22 26 22 Dreadlox Dub Fletcher Cape Of Good Hope 2 African Dope available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
23 27 23 Go All The Way Evolver What’s the Story? Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
24 28 24 Kaapstad slaapstad Mavis Vermaak Mavis Vermaak Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
25 NE 25 A Thousand Lights Lua Union EP Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
26 NE 26 Pushed Aside The Undefined EP Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
27 29 27 Superboy Andrew Kay Peace And Love Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
28 30 28 Shebeen 107 Ongoma The Natives Are Restless Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
29 NE 29 Jamanga Hot Water One Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
30 NE 30 Mama Mona Popera Diva Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click

My Top Ten Favourite Rock Albums of All-Time

1. Piet Botha – ‘n Suitcase Vol Winter (1997)

Piet Botha - 'n Suitcase Vol Winter I first heard ‘Sien Jou Weer’ on radio KFM in Cape Town and I became an instant fan. I bought this album the same day. ‘Suitcase’ opened up a whole new genre for me: Afrikaans Rock, and I’ve never been the same since!

I was so in awe of this album, of Piet Botha the artist and of songs like ‘Goeienag Generaal’, that I set up a small fan website for Piet and Jack Hammer (his English hard rocking alter ego). This website has now become the official Piet Botha website! Please visit: www.pietbotha.com

2. David Bowie – The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (1972)

David Bowie - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars We wore our hair like Ziggy, we bought the platform shoes, we tried to play guitar. Bowie was Ziggy and Ziggy was Bowie and he sang: “let all the children boogie”… and we did.

There is a whole website dedicated to just this one album at: www.5years.com

3. Deep Purple – Made In Japan (1973)

Deep Purple - Made In JapanTHE classic live album from a classic rock band. “What a rip-off!”, I thought to myself when I first saw this album, “a double album with only 7 tracks on it!”. And then the energy in those 7 songs (the shortest being about 7 minutes) blew my mind, melted my speakers and drove my Methodist church organist father nuts. This album was my first introduction to Deep Purple and I was hooked for life. And they are still around, much to my father’s surprise, and possibly their own as well. www.deeppurple.co.za

In September 2001 a 4CD box set was released titled ‘On The Road’, which chronicles Deep Purple on stage across the years and around the world from 1969-1993. Full track list and review at: Deep Purple On The Road

4. Genesis – Selling England By The Pound (1973)

Genesis - Selling England By The Pound “Can you tell me where your country lies, said the Unifaun to his true love’s eyes” sang the plaintive voice of Peter Gabriel to open this album. I still have no idea what he was on about (or what he was on), but this pastoral, gentle progressive rock album captured my ears and my heart and will always be a favourite. Also contains the hit single “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe”). This was back in the days when Phil Collins was just a drummer…

5. Golden Earring – Hearing Earring (1973)

Golden Earring - Hearing EarringThis album was a compilation of tracks from 2 previous European-only releases: ‘Seven Tears’ (1971) and ‘Together’ (1972). As far as I know ‘Hearing Earring’ has never been released on CD, but it is one of my all-time favourite rock albums, so I eventually bought the CDs of ‘Seven Tears’ and ‘Together’ just to have all these great tracks.

‘Jangalene’ is a classic rock song with its long acoustic intro and then thundering full-tilt climax. This album goes from light to dark, soft to loud in an instant and is very comparable to the Deep Purple or Zeppelin stuff from the same era. www.rock.co.za/files/hearing.html

6. Jethro Tull – Aqualung (1971)

Jethro Tul - Aqualung “Sitting on a park bench watching all the pretty panties run”. No wonder our parents hated it. Jethro Tull at their hardest and rockiest. Before the self-indulgence of ‘Thick As A Brick’ and ‘A Passion Play’, this was the spirit of early 70s rock captured on one album. And ‘Locomotive Breath’ is on it… worth the price of admission alone. www.rock.co.za/jethrotull

7. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)

Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The MoonI remember hearing this album when it was just another new release, “the new Pink Floyd album”, nothing more. Who would have guessed the impact it would have on future generations? Well my friends and I did, for one. We knew this was nothing like we had ever heard before: sound effects, spoken words, hidden messages, cool cover, a swearword (this was South Africa in 1973, remember?), songs flowing one into the other… and David Gilmour’s guitar, oh that guitar sound…

Pink Floyd is still one of my all-time favourite bands and I have a fan site for them at: www.rock.co.za/pinkfloyd

8. Ramases – Space Hymns (1971)

Ramases - Space HymnsA Sheffield central heating saleman thinks he is re-incarnated as an Egyptian God. He gets his wife to sing with him, the fledging 10cc to play with him, and Roger Dean to paint the LP cover for him and produces a stunning work.

From acoustic love songs with gentle flutes to sitars and rock guitars this album explores the themes of alienation, loneliness and searching with a particular “other-world” feel. Hard to find but well worth the search. www.spacehymns.com

9. Rodriguez – Cold Fact (recorded in 1969, first released in South Africa in 1971)

Rodriguez - Cold FactIf you’ve heard of Rodriguez (and amazingly most of the world hasn’t), then you probably love this album like I do, so you don’t need me to tell you how good it is.

In 2002 I was asked for my input for a re-issue CD, and Terry Fairweather from PT Music and Bill Robb from Robb Graphics allowed me the freedom to fix many mistakes with lyrics, track listings, etc, as well as including one of my personal concert photographs from the 2001 South African tour. ‘Cold Fact’ album producer, Mike Theodore, provided some valuable info, as did Gary Harvey, co-composer of 2 songs on the album. And Rodriguez, the original Sugarman, supplied a quote or 2 and a signature. www.sugarman.org

10. Rick Wakeman With The London Symphony Orchestra – Journey To The Centre Of The Earth (1974)

Rick Wakeman - The Journey To The Centre Of The Earth Majestic sounds, choirs, synthesizers, the London Symphony Orchestra, narration of the Jules Verne classic by David Hemmings… this album was the ultimate fusion of rock and orchestra pioneered by Jon Lord (with Deep Purple) and Keith Emerson (first with The Nice and then ELP). Rick Wakeman – keyboard wizard? Oh yeah!

And yes, the years 1971 to 1974 were probably some of the best years of my life, and thanks to music, the net, my children and friends I am still very much in touch with my inner teenager. “Too old To Rock and Roll” – never! “Too young to die” – damn right…

Further reading

Brian Currin’s Top 50 Rock Albums of All-time

Powerhouse Sods

Recently downloaded West, Bruce and Laing’s ‘Live ‘N’ Kickin’ album from LostTunes.com (cool place to download old obscure rock). Which inspired me to listen to some of my other favourite power trios from my Golden Age of Rock [1967 to 1974].

So here is a virtual compilation of live tracks by a few awesome power trios.

  • Are You Ready (live 1970) – Grand Funk Railroad
  • Powerhouse Sod (live 1974) including Jack Bruce bass solo – West, Bruce and Laing
  • Spoonful (live 1968) – Cream
  • Johnny B Goode (live 1970) – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • Machine Gun (live 1970) – Band Of Gypsies
  • Crossroads (live 1968) – Cream
  • Inside Looking Out (live 1970) – Grand Funk Railroad
  • Politician (live 1974) – West, Bruce and Laing
  • Toad (live 1968) including Ginger Baker drum solo – Cream
  • Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (live 1969) – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • Hear My Train a-Comin’ (live 1970) – The Jimi Hendrix Experience

If you enjoy Classic Rock, listen to Benjy Mudie’s Rock Of Ages radio show on UJFM. Read more at www.rock.co.za/rockofages

Footstomping Music Vol. 2 from Rock Of Ages

Benjy Mudie on Rock Of Ages website

Finally after months of label negotiations we are almost ready to release Vol.2 – whilst the track listing is not entirely finalised you can count on the following classic bands and tunes:

  • Juicy Lucy – Who do you love
  • Trapeze – You are the music (we are the band
  • Steppenwolf – Magic Carpet Ride
  • The Guess Who – American Woman
  • Mahogany Rush – Talkin’ about a feeling
  • Bachman Turner Overdrive – Not fragile
  • Spooky Tooth – I am the walrus
  • ZZ Top – Tush
  • Cream – Crossroads
  • Fleetwood Mac – The Green Manalishi
  • Aerosmith – Same old song and dance
  • Cactus – Evil
  • May Blitz – For Madmen only
  • Montrose – Rock the nation… and more.

Expected release date is June 2009 and will be available through selected music stores (if you can call them that these days!) and autographed copies via the Rock of Ages website at www.rock.co.za/rockofages.

Monday Morning Music Mix

I’ve got the Monday morning blues … and rock and folk and more …

Some of the music that is on high rotation on my iTunes jukebox this Monday morning … might just turn this into a weekly series.

  • Light A Candle – Neil Young off ‘Fork In The Road’ great song off his impressive new album
  • Climb Up On My Music – Rodriguez from ‘Coming From Reality’ (known as ‘After The Fact’ in SA) This follow up to ‘Cold Fact’ gets a US re-issue for the first time. This opening track features UK guitarist Chris Spedding, who also played on Mike Batt’s ‘Schizophonia’ (remember ‘Ride To Agadir’?) and had a solo hit with ‘Motorbiking’ (UK #14 in 1975).
  • Stargazer (live 1976) – Rainbow off ‘Rainbow On Stage’ 16 minute plus bonus track on the re-issue of this classic album from 1977.
  • Nantucket Sleighride (live 1973) – Mountain off ‘Twin Peaks’ long (very long, 31 minutes!) track from Leslie West and friends.
  • Hallelujah – Alexandra Burke off ‘Now 72’ X-Factor winner’s UK Christmas number one hit. Powerful cover of the Leonard Cohen song.
  • Love Etc – Pet Shop Boys off ‘Yes’ These guys are still going, and going well by the look of things. No relation to Sugardrive’s album of the same title from 2004.
  • Road – Sugardrive off ‘In A Place (That Takes Getting Used To)Speaking of Sugardrive, my favourite song of theirs recently appeared on their retrospective collection. Makes me want to get back on the road again.
  • Highway 13 – Jack Hammer off ‘Highway 13And this is the road I want to be on.
  • Waterloo Sunset – David Bowie off ‘Never Get Old’ [2003 CD single] Cover of The Kinks hit given the Bowie treatment, and what a treat it is.
  • Pictures At An Exhibition (live at the Isle Of Wight, 29 August 1970)Emerson, Lake and Palmer off ‘Pictures At An Exhibiton (Deluxe Re-issue) 35 minute bonus track from the re-issue of one of my all-time favourite ELP albums.
  • Rainbow Blues – Jethro Tull off ‘War Child’ (re-issue) great obscure Tull song recorded in 1974. Look out for the cover version by Blackmore’s Night as well.
  • Poster Princess – Jet Black Stare off ‘In This Life’ impressive debut from these Canadian rockers. Similar to SA’s own Toxic Shame.
  • Babydoll Blues – The Ragdolls from ‘Listen Up Babydoll female-fronted raunchy, punk rock and roll band from Cape Town. Gotta love them.

20 NUGGETS PRODUCED BY BILLY FORREST – Vol 1

20 Nuggets produced by Billy Forrest.

A playlist by Tertius Louw

1. Mel, Mel and Julian – 500 Miles from the CBS single, SSC 552, 1965

2. Quentin E Klopjaeger – Melody Fayre from the Trutone single TOS 528, 1969

3. William E – Papa’s Gonna Kiss It Better from the IRC single ICS 819, 1971

4. Dennis – Joey The Lipstick Collector from the IRC single ICS 805, 1971

5. Harvest – Welcome Home from the Polydor single PS 495, 1977

6. McCully Workshop – Why Can’t It Rain from the Trutone single TOS 672, 1970

7. Rising Sons – Hey Diddle Diddle from the Trutone single TOS 566, 1969

8. Omega Ltd – Grieg One from the Polydor single PS 121, 1970

9. Third Eye – Valley Of Sadness from the Polydor single PS 13, 1969

10. Dream Merchants – I’m Gonna Love You from the Polydor single PS 60, 1969

11. The Staccatos – Cinnamon Girl from the RTS single RTS 29, 1973

12. Sharon Tandy – Bang Bang from the WEA single WIS 547, 1981

13. Invaders – What’s Wrong With You from the Rave single RC 102, 1970

14. Browne – Riding On A red Bus from Polydor single PS 114, 1970

15. Wanda Arletti – Turn Me On from the Cherry single CS 1004, 1978

16. Steve Lonsdale – Hotel California from the Aztec single ACS 15, 1977

17. Sounds Reason – Glide Greatly from the Continental single PD 9619, 1970

18. The Dominoes – Keep It In The Family from the RPM single RPM 375, 1972

19. The Bats – Hold Your Head Up from the RPM single RPM 374, 1972

20. Kurt Darren – For Your Precious Love from the CD album, STIDCD 154, 2009

 

Top 30 South African MP3 Downloads of the week

P LW HP Title Artist Album Label MP3
1 2 1 Fresh Meat Mr Cat and The Jackal Themes and Variations Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
2 16 2 In The Twilight aKING EP Rhythm available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
3 8 3 Dream Girl The New York Robbers 8-Bit Heroes Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
4 5 4 Buttercup Ras Levi Ras Levi Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
5 1 1 Hondeklipbaai Zinkplaat Musiek Uit Die Geraas Die Plate Kompanje available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
6 6 6 The Cigarette Song Natalia Rules Of The Road Sugarmusic available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
7 3 3 Fight Red Light In June My Sweetest Revenge Bowline available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
8 9 8 Rollerskating To The Sun Checked Zebra Amazon Baby! Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
9 10 9 No. 1 Andrew Kay Peace and Love Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
10 11 10 Still Smokin (Ft Archetypes) Arsenic The First Toke Metalloid Lab available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
11 13 11 Feathery Pillow The Orange Stilettos Penelope’s Rising Die Plate Kompanje available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
12 4 1 Minor Revelation Simon Van Gend Guest Of My Feelings Sheer available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
13 14 13 Worn Out Circuits RhütZ The Colour of Television Bowline available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
14 18 14 Why Bother Gin-I Grindrith Iron Tooth Monsters Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
15 7 7 Onele Yo Mapenda Ongoma The Natives Are Restless Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
16 19 16 Leë Bottel Tas Etienne Terblanche & Dikazzins Die Magtige Dreuning Die Plate Kompanje available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
17 20 17 Spoorlyn Gruisgat Hond se Dinges OST Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
18 21 18 Man Over Bored Jazz Zombies Dug Up Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
19 23 19 Insurgence Sam Kaase EP Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
20 24 20 Grace (Extended Version) Tania Michelle EP Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
21 25 21 Emosie (Motion of my heart) Quazi Man EP Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
22 17 17 Let’s Go Shy Guvaras We Owe You One Headline available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
23 26 23 Klassieke Geveg Straaligkinders Maak Jou Oë Toe En Jou Hart Oop Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
24 28 24 Fear Of A Gradual Awakening Marcia Moon A Gradual Awakening’ Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
25 30 25 Fred Is Dead Tone Deaf Junkies Moxyland OST African Dope available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
26 NE 26 One Step Forward Die Maverick EP Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
27 29 27 Floydeski Carpet Mafia Pretzelplex Bohemia Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
28 NE 28 The Unrivalled Times The Horror Cast Cities of Deception EP Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
29 NE 29 My Space Terror MC Street Life Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click
30 NE 30 Höeveld Uitsaai Projek Grensloos Indie available at Rhythm Online - this is a link - please do not right-click

Blues From The Deep South (Of Africa)

by Brian Currin, February 2007

Introduction

I was born in South Africa 4 days after “The Day The Music Died” according to Don McLean (you work it out!). I was born and bred in a home filled with music (mainly Church Hymns and Showtunes) but soon discovered in my pre-teen years that I had absolutely no talent for singing or playing an instrument. I do play a mean air guitar solo though – I usually play a Black Fender Stratocaster Original Air Guitar. I also play Air Organ – a Hammond B3 of course – and recently I’ve started learning to play Air Harmonica.

Since I had this overwhelming passion for music, but not the skills to perform it, I started collecting music as well as information about music and also statistics and lists. Finding musical information in Apartheid-era South Africa was difficult to say the least, but my passion knew no bounds and I persevered.

In 1973 I heard the ‘Made in Japan’ version of ‘Smoke Of The Water’ by Deep Purple and my fate as a Rock Fan was sealed. I always thought that when I grew up I would lose my love of Rock and get into Classical and Jazz as “older” people did. Never happened! What did happen is that I just added and added more styles, types and genres to my musical tastes, though Classic Rock is still my first love and Deep Purple is still my favourite group. After listening to Purple and Zeppelin and Tull and Clapton and such-like I wanted to hear the original blues that inspired them … and a whole new world of discovering the Blues masters opened up for me.

A true music critic, in my opinion, is someone who has been impressed enough by an artist, song or album to actually spend money on adding them to their collection. So my ramblings on this website will be based on my personal experiences and budget limitations. So if an artist or song is not mentioned, it’s probably because I don’t have it in my collection. I remember once in 1977 having to choose between the first Boston album and Rainbow On Stage because I couldn’t afford both. Being a huge Deep Purple fan, Ritchie Blackmore’s offshoot won that Battle Of The Budget!

In recent years I’ve been very fortunate to able to generate income from my passion and love of music and to sometimes even receive music and concert tickets that I didn’t have to pay for.

South African Blues

Because of South Africa’s unique geographical position and cosmopolitan population, there is really no such thing as a single defining style of “South African Music”. We seem to have everything here on the Southern Tip of Africa including African Tribal music, Zulu Township Jazz, Country and Western, Death Metal, Electronica and so much more, all with their own clearly-defined (and sometimes overlapping) niche markets. However the blues seems to be very popular in South Africa amongst most population groups, though I’ve never seen any research to support this theory of mine.

Blues in South Africa includes a wide variety of genres including Jazz Blues, Folk Blues, Traditional Blues, Blues Rock, Acoustic Blues and even blues sung in the language of Afrikaans which for want of a better name we will call Afrikaans Blues. So really South African Blues is just a term to mean Blues played by South African musicians. Cover versions of old blues classics abound, but there are also a large number of original compositions written in a variety of blues styles. Very few South African Blues musicians actually concentrate on playing the Blues exclusively, but rather play a mix of Blues, Rock, Blues-Rock and Country Rock.

One of my favourite artists and in my opinion one of South Africa’s greatest guitarists, is Albert Frost.

Albert Frost

Albert Frost is master guitarist who started playing as a teenager in the 90’s with The Blues Broers. “Broer” (pronounced “brew”) is Afrikaans for “brother”. Albert’s late father Frank Frost was the original drummer of the Blues Broers, so Albert was both Frank’s son and his ‘broer’. Frost is a brilliant blues and rock guitarist and an in-demand session musician, and has played alongside many famous South African names including Koos Kombuis, Valiant Swart, Arno Carstens and Anton Goosen.

He is adept at playing acoustic blues, wah-wah rock guitar, psychedelic voodoo blues and even the sophisicated pop-rock of ex-Springbok Nude Girls singer Arno Carstens solo albums.

I have had the privilege of seeing Albert Frost play live a number of times. I’ve seen him play blues with the Blues Broers and the Albert Frost Trio and also rock out with Arno Carstens. He loves to jam and is often seen on stage with other bands or inviting other guitarists to jam with him.

A highlight of the STRAB Festival in Mozambique in May 2006 was the Albert Frost Trio featuring Lanie van der Walt on bass and Jorik Pienaar on drums. This powerhouse band rocked their way through Albert’s blues and rock songbook and really impressed the crowd.

Albert obviously loves playing his music, possibly almost as much as us fans love hearing him play.

 

Old Punk For New Ears

Brian Currin, February 2007

Punk Rock, as I know it, started in 1976 with the Sex Pistols and ended a couple of years later when everyone went New Wave. The so-called “Godfathers of Punk” were the late 60’s/early 70’s American bands, The Velvet Underground, the MC5, the New York Dolls (more glam, than punk though) and The Stooges with Iggy Pop. They in turn had been infused by the spirit of the 60’s ‘Garage Rock’ movement which said that anybody could make music, no matter how little talent or skill you had.

However Punk Rock was not just a musical phenomenon, but also a socioeconomic one, as well as being a fashion statement and very British.

The youth in Britain in the mid-70’s were unemployed, on the dole, bored and very angry. Through Punk they found a way to express themselves. Punk was not only a music style, it was a lifestyle, involving outrageous hairstyles and clothing. Wearing safety-pins on your clothes was actually probably necessary to hold them together!

Many state the first song of 70’s Punk Rock was ‘New Rose’ by The Damned, and I don’t dispute this, but the first song I heard was ‘Anarchy In The UK’ by the Sex Pistols.

I had been (and still am) a huge fan of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Pink Floyd, Yes, et al … the dinosaurs that Punk was supposed to make extinct, and I guess it worked for a while. I heard the raw, sneering, British-accented voice of Johnny Rotten spitting out ‘I am an anti-Christ, I am an anarchist’ (which sent the South African government of the time into fits of apoplexy) and knew that something very different was happening here.

Punk crossed back across the Atlantic (like rock ‘n roll had done with The Beatles in 1964) and bands like The Ramones, who had been around for a while already, were now painted with the Punk brush.

In South Africa, the anger from the White Youth was directed more at the government’s policies of control. The Black Youth were totally disenfranchised under Apartheid, but that’s a completely different story. Remember, however, that the 16th June Soweto Riots happened in 1976, and is commemorated each year as Youth Day.

Punk Rock started out as noisy 3-chord rock and roll with huge amounts of anger and energy. Bands like the Clash and the Police (who were never really punk, anyway) started embracing Ska and Reggae sounds.

Punk Rock soon got watered down to go mainstream and become New Wave. By the early 80’s the smartly-dressed New Romantics with their guitar-less Electro-pop were now the vogue.

Side-bar: I was in the army in 1978 and there were basically 2 music factions among my friends of the time, Punk (i.e. Sex Pistols) or Reggae (i.e. Bob Marley). (The Afrikaans guys also liked Country, but I digress). I chose a different route and bought the first Dire Straits album, telling all who would listen that these guys would be big … and I was right.

OLD PUNK FOR NEW EARS

Due to the limitations of a single CD, I’ve applied my “one artist, one song” rule which allows me to give exposure to more artists. Otherwise I could just put “Nevermind The Bollocks” up here and leave it at that!

I’ve included the Godfathers of Punk to give some perspective, but the majority of songs come from that “golden age of punk”; 1977-1978 and then a few early 80’s tracks.

Some South African punk bands appear here as well, including The Asylum Kids which featured Robbi Robb, and The News with ‘Tudor Convertible’ which is an early mash-up of ‘Greensleeves’ (apparently written by Henry VIII!) and Herman’s Hermits ‘I’m Henry The VIII, I Am’.

  1. Run Run Run – The Velvet Underground & Nico
  2. Search And Destroy – Iggy & The Stooges
  3. Personality Crisis – The New York Dolls
  4. Anarchy In The UK – The Sex Pistols
  5. Gary Gilmore’s Eyes – The Adverts
  6. Rip Her To Shreds – Blondie
  7. New Rose – The Damned
  8. Chinese Rocks – Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers
  9. Sheena Is A Punk Rocker – The Ramones
  10. Blank Generation – Richard Hell & The Voidoids
  11. Peaches – The Stranglers
  12. Record Companies – Wild Youth
  13. Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve) – The Buzzcocks
  14. Law & Order – Radio Rats
  15. Top Of The Pops – The Rezillos
  16. Hong Kong Garden – Siouxsie & The Banshees
  17. Teenage Kicks – The Undertones
  18. Identity – X-Ray Spex
  19. London Calling – The Clash
  20. Babylon’s Burning – The Ruts
  21. Suburbia – The Safari Suits
  22. Hersham Boys – Sham 69
  23. Nightmare – Peach
  24. Schoolboy – The Asylum Kids
  25. International News – National Wake
  26. Tudor Convertible – The News

[Artists names in red indicates that they are of South African origin]

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