The following bands will be playing at FORR 2009 to be held at Ponta Malongane from 3 to 6 September 2009:
Bed on Bricks
Die Kaalkop Waarheid
Albert Frost Trio
Allen Wood Project
Black Cat Bone
Nibs van der Spuy
Suzzi & the Swanz
The Action Thrillers
Fellowship of Rock & Roll
Fellowship Of Rum & Raspberry
Fellowship of Rest & Recreation
Prog is a four letter word..right? So is ‘rock’, ‘jazz’ and ‘folk’ , these genres combined with classical and blues, are the foundation stones of what music scribes like to call ‘progressive music’ or ‘prog’. From rock’s emergence in the 60’s as a cultural force to be reckoned with , there have been artists and groups that have sought to push the boundaries of music, to step outside the box and blaze new musical frontiers without a nod to the crass pop commercialism
of the ‘industry’. Far from the acid drenched musical meanderings of the mid to late 60’s San Franciscan psychedelic rock experience, musicians globally, and in particular in the prog crucible of the United Kingdom, were creating challenging new music. Experimenting with abstract time signatures, unpredictable chord changes and incorporating influences from around the globe including Indian, Celtic, Arabic and African sounds, a new, thought provoking genre was born. In the UK, bands like Yes, Gentle Giant, Jade Warrior, Gravy Train, Audience and the like influenced hordes of emerging bands across the world.
In the early 70’s South Africa was in it’s third decade of self inflicted political and cultural isolation. Despite a concerted effort by the then Nationalist government to ‘protect the youth’ by blocking the flow of progressive cultural ideas via a series of bannings,restrictions and high import tariffs, rock music per se, and all it represented, managed to reach these Southern shores and inseminate a flowering home grown rock revolution….Although some groups simply emulated the sounds of their international counterparts, some South African bands embraced their African roots, drawing on home grown melodic and rhythmic structures, meshing them with European influences and producing a heady variant of progressive music that fits snugly alongside their international compatriots.
“Slowly …from the South” showcases the cream of South African prog rock of the last 40 years. Tucked inside you will hear the music of some of South Africa’s heavyweight musical sons & daughters, some familiar and others only recognised in name but never heard outside these southern shores, until now. Although it documents predominantly the 70’s and 80’s it also includes several current artists who are blazing new frontiers in progressive music.
“Slowly….” is the culmination of close to two years of research and planning, tracking down long lost masters, photos and information, at times akin to a Sherlock Holmes investigation..The concept credit really belongs to Tertius Louw, who is rightly regarded worldwide as the ‘Rosetta Stone’ of South African popular music. Without his knowledge, extensive music and pictorial database this release would not have seen the light of day.
– Benjy Mudie March 2009
“This double cd compilation is unique in it’s kind. It is the first indigenous compilation set that showcases the cream of South African musicians who explored both jazz and prog rock genres during the seventies and beyond. A number of the artists also enjoyed international presence with their musical output and the tracks appearing on this cd were taken from sought-after albums that are fetching exorbitant prices on E-Bay these days”.
– Tertius Louw
Many of the artist’s albums featured on this compilation can be purchased online at www.freshmusic.co.za
1. Duncan McKay’s Chimera – Morpheus (edit) 8.38
2. Abstract Truth – Original man 3.40
3. Hawk – Slowly towards the North 15.05
4. Canamii – Come and fly 4.55
5. Impi – Sun 5.27
6.The Kalahari Surfers – Grensvegter 6.24
7. McCully Workshop – Stone man 9.47
8. The Square Set – Boys and girls together 6.35
9. The Tidal Wave – Get it out of your system 2.29
10. The Invaders – Ocean of peace 4.22
11. Steve Linnegar’s Snakeshed – Tao Ch’ang Wu Wei 4.38
1. Assagai – Telephone girl 4.25
2.The Third Eye – Awakening 14.00
3.Freedom’s Children – About the dove and his King 3.34
4.Wildebeest – Hottentotsgot 4.02
5.Otis Waygood – In the sun 8.12
6.éVoid – Urban warrior 5.43
7.Ramsay MacKay – Saint Judas 5.10
8.Rabbitt – And the planets danced 3.49
9.Falling Mirror – Theme from a dream 3.18
10.Jack Hammer – Tribal fence
11.Off the Edge – Grandfather Time 6.37
12.David’s Confession – Sometimes 9.49
13. Neill Solomon – Magic Man 4.45
Info from www.melbotes.co.za
The dramatic introduction in “Alpha 1” flows into the riveting song of a flute that suddenly proceeds to a stunning symphony of sounds.
“Change” reveals man’s quest for answers and the ensuing discord if the answers are unsatisfactory. After a tranquil guitar intro follows the somewhat tumultuous “The Horseman”. “Confessions” with its air of eeriness is followed by “Praying hands”, like a sad confession. “The Tavern” brings one back to earth.
The deeply personal and very beautiful lyrics of the symphonic ballad “If” reflect the sadness of lost love while “Sometimes” throbs with raw emotion. “Time”, “Eye” and “The Machine” provide a glimpse of the thoughts and flights of imagination of a very creative writer who struggles, questions and probes deeper than the ordinary.
“Judas”, one of the folk rock songs on the album, is sensitive in its savagery. The lyrics are about betrayal – as the name of the song suggests.
Andries’s distinctive voice crosses all boundaries in the hard-rock compilation “Home St. Pierre”, written by Mel whilst staying in a Christian dormitory for girls in Geneva. It is a rather cynical expression of inner conflict and frustration.
About Time, the second chapter of a four-chapter saga fuses the individual talents of all the band members into a singularly riveting performance. The lyrics are mind-blowing and the acoustics complex. The enigmatic soul of David’s Confession is difficult to define mainly because of the range of musical genres and the unlimited potential.
This music is an exquisite experience. Let it saturate your being …
David’s Confession – About Time
For FREE MP3s:
Right-click on song titles and “Save target as” or “Save link as” to download to your hard-drive.
|1.||Alpha I (Introduction)|
|2.||Alpha II (Silencing)|
(including excerpts from
Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’ )
|17.||Home St. Pierre|
|18.||Alpha III (The Awakening)|
- Mel Botes: vocals, guitars, harmonica
- Conrad Botha: backing vocals, bass guitar
- Andries Botha: vocals, guitars, mandolin
- Philip Botha: vocals, drums, percussion
- Andrian Hamilton: piano, keyboards
- Linette Stulting: additional piano on the Sonata
- Melissa Wiggins: violin solos
- Julian Wiggins: Celtic pipes, string arrangements
- Strings led by Denise Sutton
- SABC choir led by Simon Lomberg
A FUSION OF COLLECTIVE TALENT
David’s Confession is a personal tribute to a man’s inner struggle with good and evil. Mel explains: “Why David’s Confession? Initially, David was the central character of a book I deliberated over for 12 years. I never explored the possibility of publishing the book, as it felt too personal. However, David’s character was so strong and compelling that I felt forced to give him a voice – hence, the lyrics are an illustration of David’s journey.
“I travelled extensively abroad and only a fellow backpacker will understand the range of emotions you experience. You meet people who become an integral part of your life yet you leave them behind without a second glance. A backpacker is subjected to hundreds of diverse experiences intertwined with incredible adventures. Travelling reaffirmed my belief that man will always be exposed to temptation, yet goodness will prevail.”
Mel never suspected that he would be a musician. “I thought I’d be a lawyer although after studying I realised that the world of law and stats was too restrictive for me. Music is an expression, not a fact.”
Back in South Africa after 18 months abroad Mel realised that he had the music but nothing else. He drove to Sun City. There he approached Georgia (who at that stage played in Trader Horns in the Entertainment Centre as the resident band) and asked them to become part of his project. They agreed, and thereafter Mel went to Sun City every week to work with them on this album.
At that point Sun International was not involved, and the idea was to record this album afterwards (after Georgia had completed their contract at Trader Horns). The manager at Traders mentioned to Mel that they would need a replacement act and scheduled an audition. Phillip Georgas, CEO at the time, Karen Cutts and Dai Edwards attended the audition. After performing songs by Sting, Eric Clapton and others he was asked to deliver an original tune. The rest is history.
People sometimes ask: “If this idea had been in his head for so long, why didn’t he do something about it earlier?”
“Money and the lack of talent,” he admits. “The other reason was that until I met Georgia and they agreed to work with me, I couldn’t find anyone suitable enough, to play my songs.” Mel regarded them as one of the tightest and most technically adept bands in the country and the raw talent interested him.
Karen Cutts, Entertainment Manager at Sun City, has been at the cutting edge of entertainment in Africa since the heydays of the Market Theatre. Karen joined Sun International in 1996. She walked into Trader Horns during one of their afternoon practice session. “Their raw talent and range astounded me,” she said. “To discover potential in its early stages is a powerful aphrodisiac and we began working together to develop their musical skills and to develop their stage performance.”
Sun City took over the management of David’s Confession and appointed Johan Laas to produce and arrange their demo CD.
Mel and Georgia worked together for almost two years at Sun City. During this period they recorded the complete album at considerable expense in Bob Studios.
Just before they were to leave Sun City after a spectacular launch, Conrad was involved in a serious motorbike accident. Mel, Andries and Philip went on a countrywide tour but it was never the same again.
Today, many years later, people still enquire about this magical album, only to find out that it is not for sale. Mel approached Sun International recently in an effort to regain control of his own work – without success. Sun International owns the master.
Mel then decided to make it available on his website for everyone to download and enjoy. After all, it took him 15 years – only to again loose the opportunity to bring it to people.
Conrad’s initial musical experience was with the tambourine at the age of 10. Not a difficult instrument to master, yet it compels one to be patient. At the age of 12, Conrad learnt to play the bass guitar within a month. “The mystery of Mark King inspired me to develop my own style and to concentrate on the electronic amplification.”
Conrad is sometimes regarded as enigmatic. “I was raised on a farm and the solitude and naturalness of the environment had a positive influence on my character and on my music. The natural rhythms of farm life are portrayed in my comprehension of the music.”
“David’s Confession is an experiment with different techniques – to fully extend our range. The songs are seductive and unique and the closeness we shared adds an interesting dimension to our music,” explained Conrad.
As the lead singer of David’s Confession, the ideals of the band and the complexity of the lyrics were his responsibilities. “This knowledge is often stressful, although I believe nothing worthwhile comes easy,” he explained.
Andries believes music is filled with subtle nuances and he continually strives to comprehend the subtleties. “The journey is interesting and challenging, yet I do not believe I will ever attain complete understanding.”
A giant of a man, both in stature and temperament. “He takes care of things,” said the other members of the band. His commitment to the band was reflected in his music.
“‘Change’ is my favourite song as it expresses how I feel about life,” declared Philip. “The rawness of change and the hardship it brings are merely challenges – mountains to ascend rather than to conquer.”
Philip regards Toto and Van Halen as his greatest musical influences. Their originality and unique sound are what he believes David’s Confession strives for. “Our sound has been compared to many other artists yet I believe a new origin will start with us.”
McCully Workshop, who formed in the late 60’s, and had a huge hit in the 70’s with ‘Buccaneer’, are back in the studio working on a new album, tentatively titled ‘Work In Progress’.
The current line-up is the classic 70’s group consisting of brothers Mike and Tully McCully, Richard Black and Rupert Mellor. Cape Town rapper Brown is a featured guest on ‘Money In Ya Pocket’.
Two tracks have been digitally pre-released today, exclusively on RhythmMusicStore.com
1. Shot Down – Cherry Faced Lurchers
2. Pambere – Mapantsula
3. Struggle – The Genuines
4. National Madness – The Aeroplanes
5. Treason – Lesego Rampolokeng with the Kalahari Surfers
6. Hou My Vas Korporaal – Illegal Gathering
7. International News – National Wake
8. Swart September – Koos Kombuis
9. Now is the Time – Mzwakhe Mbuli
10. Spaces Tell Stories – Roger Lucey
11. Sit Dit Af – Gereformeerde Blues Band
12. In Solitary Confinement – Vusi Mahlasela
13. Brain Damage – Corporal Punishment
14. June 16 – The K-Team
15. Suburban Hum – Jennifer Ferguson
16. Reasonable Men – Kalahari Surfers
17. Uhuru – Sankomota
18. Hlanganani – DTMB
19. War Is Declared – The Mamu Players
20. No Easy Walk to Freedom – Tighthead Fourie and the Loose Forwards
“In the early 1980s if you persevered, you could seek out marginal South African musicians playing politically subversive and musically innovative music in a few live venues in the major urban areas. Rarely were such musicians ever recorded by conservative record companies afraid to rock the apartheid boat. Into this void entered Shifty Records, a maverick indie record company co-founded by Lloyd Ross.
…[this compilation] celebrates both the resistance music of the featured musicians and Shifty’s role in capturing and preserving a vibrant and important part of South Africa’s history of cultural resistance.”
The SA Rock Digest was a weekly, free subscription e-mag about South African rock music between 1999 and 2004.
Here is the issue from 14 July 1999.
SA ROCK DIGEST ISSUE NUMBER 24
The SA Rock Digest is a weekly,
free subscription e-mag, edited
by Brian Currin and delivered
direct to your e-mailbox.
Subscribe, unsubscribe and
back issue information at
Established January 1999.
The SA Rock Digest is a discussion forum for Rock music;
South African and International; past, present and future.
Read it, digest it, enjoy it, send in your comments
and tell your friends….
“Rock” is a very general term encompassing rock and roll,
pop, folk, rock, ethnic-rock, prog-rock, jazz-rock, country-rock,
soul, R&B, metal, indie, alternative, new wave, reggae, etc, etc.
Don’t get hung up…if you want to say something about the music
YOU like, go ahead, say it.
Contributions and comments:
THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC
by Sharon Gill and Steve Murdoch
JOSH SITHOLE, one of Cape Town’s best-loved musicians and a favourite of many South African music-lovers, died at his Gugulethu home on Sunday 20 June.
Sithole, a self-taught lead guitarist, began busking with the Kwela Kids in 1959 in Cape Town. In 1978 he went solo and played in venues around the country, thrilling audiences with his distinctive style. During the eighties he became known to Durban audiences through his various residencies at places like the Lonsdale and Westville Hotels.
Sithole was born in Rylands, but his family moved to Gugulethu during the era of forced removals. He was committed to his family and to passing on his skills to others. He turned down several overseas offers of contracts.
Everybody who knew him will miss him. Other musicians and people in the industry sang their praises of Sithole.
Music producer Henry Shields described him as a very influential and original player. “He is going to be missed by many people in the music industry. He was part of the musical landscape of Cape Town.”
Jazz vocalist Joe Schaffers described Sithole as a people’s person and a musician. “He could get through to everybody -even before people started talking about the ‘rainbow nation’. He could touch your feelings with his music and he was very original. It’s unfortunate he died before realising his dream of building a recording studio in Gugulethu where he planned to teach township youngsters music. He was very unselfish.”
Third Ear Music’s Dave Marks says that Sithole was possibly the hardest working musicians on the circuit, and one of the few true professionals. “The amazing thing about him was that he was the only non-white at the time gigging within the cocktail lounge and bar room circuit. It was unique. Blacks weren’t even allowed in those clubs, but when they tried to take Josh off the circuit, there was an uproar from the patrons. He played the kind of music that appealed to city folk.”
C & G Studios’ Don Clarke, says, “I think Josh probably missed his finest hour. Only now, with the focus on World Music, are we starting to attract international interest, and Josh would have been a perfect candidate for this.”
Sithole was supporting three disabled brothers at the time of his death. He leaves his wife and two daughters. He was buried at his Gugulethu home on July 4.
Article taken from the AFRICAN INVASION OF ROCK website
JOSH SITHOLE MEMORIAL CONCERT
The Barleycorn Music Club and Sterra Promotions are staging a “Josh Sithole
Memorial Concert” which will be held at the Riverclub in Cape Town on
Sunday 1 August 1999.
All bands that play have offered their services for free and all Money
raised will go to his family.
COUNTING CROWS – LIVE IN SOUTH AFRICA
August 4 Cape Town Bellville Velodrome
August 6 Durban Westridge Park Stadium
August 8 Sun City Superbowl
August 9 Johannesburg Standard Bank Arena
BOOKING EXCLUSIVELY AT TICKETWEB
2nd full length album is due for release mid – September……
recording starts July 17.
future GIGS :
Sunday 8th August, main stage
Monday 9th August, jazz stage
We’re also playing at The Planet this Friday the 16th, so haul out the moth-eaten jersey and check us out. “The Wax Tadpoles” (Ben Amato et al) are playing with us on Friday so you’ll get more for your money! The first band will start at 9.30 and the covert should be +/- 8 SA ront.
SONS OF TROUT
Sons of Trout will be performing @ diamonds and pearls
corner lower main and station rd
Observatory – Cape Town
“Son of Trout”
one of the guys I spoke to said that Chris Prior is apparently
with Radio 702. Rumour has it anyway …
I’d like to know if there is anybody out there who used to follow a band
called Metallic Sunn? (they later became Museum).
The line-up was first:
Patrick Canovi (Guitar)
Adrian Bekker (Keyboards)
Henry Zedras (Bass)
Gary Smith (Drums)
They won the Cape Battle of the Bands with this line-up as “Metallic Sunn”.
The band then changed the name to “Museum”. This was about mid 1974.
That line-up was as I can remember it:
Patrick Canovi (Guitars)
Gary Smith (Drums)
Henry Barenblatt (Keyboards)
Henry Zedras (Bass) ????????
I’d like to try and get hold of Patrick Canovi, as I have something that he
might be interested in.
CLASSIC SONG OF THE WEEK:
Locomotive Breath – Rabbitt (Ian Anderson)
Trevor Rabin: vocals, guitars
Errol Friedman: guitar
Fransua Roos: keyboards
Lou Forer: bass
Cedric Samson: drums
This Jethro Tull classic, from their 1971 “Aqualung” album, was re-recorded in South Africa by a session band and released in 1972 as a single under the name “Rabbitt”.
The flip-side was an instrumental titled “And The Planets Danced”.
“Locomotive Breath” was number 96 in the LM Radio top hits of 1972.
I guess you could say it was a runaway smash!
Patric van Blerk had engaged Trevor Rabin (then only 18 years old) on a session to play guitar on a version of Jethro Tull’s Locomotive Breath he had wanted to do. The recording session had Errol Friedman playing guitar (Ronnie Robot’s brother), Fransua Roos on keyboards (who did the arrangement), Lou Forer (from Suck) on bass and Cedric Samson on drums. The lyrics were “cleaned-up” for the SA censors: “his woman and his best friend” were now “travelling to the sun” and “the all-time winner” had got him by…”the hands”!
When Rabbitt re-recorded this track in 1975 for their debut Boys Will Be Boys! album, the original Jethro Tull lyrics returned; a very brave move at the time!
More at: http://www.rock.co.za/files/rabbitt_boys.html
ON THE NET
SOUTH AFRICA’S ROCK FILES
New additions to the SA Rock Files website include
cover scans for Freedoms Children’s Battle Hymn Of
The Broken-Hearted Horde and Simply Otis Waygood,
thanks to Mike Greeff.
Andrew King has supplied some info on In The Arena by Circus
and Searching by Third Eye. All additional information is most welcome.
to see these updated webpages.
New information continues to flow into the
Climb Up On My Music website on this “American Zero,
but South African Hero”.
Recently discovered is an album from 1972 by The Family Dogg
titled The View From Rowland’s Head featuring no less than 5 cover
versions of songs from Cold Fact including I Wonder and Crucify Your Mind.
The Family Dogg included among its members, one Albert Hammond…the old
FREEDOMS CHILDREN – BATTLE HYMN OF THE BROKEN-HEARTED HORDE
Judas Queen [3.54]
Mrs. Browning [3.06]
Country Boy [2.58]
Your Fathers’ Eyes [2.26]
10 Years Ago [5.55]
Boundsgreen Fair [3.16]
Mrs. Wendy’s Dancing Eyes Have Died [4.34]
This album released in 1968 has all the wonderful excesses of early progressive rock; the deep “meaningful” poetry, spoken words, majestic organ-playing, sound effects, choirs, long guitar solos, etc. I love it!
The unusual Scottish/South African accent of Ramsay MacKay guides us through this album of contrasts. From the country sounds of “Country Boy” to the Traffic-style rock of “Judas Queen” this album does not let up for a moment. It rocks, it soothes, it challenges, it refreshes (thanks to the inclusion of an old Pepsi advert!).
A great album, yet to see the light of day on CD, if ever.
for more info and cover scans.
DEEP PURPLE – TOTAL ABANDON
The new live CD and video recorded live in Australia in April this year is only available
Go to: http://www.cybermusic.net/deep_purple/
and place your order.
Derek Smith from Gallo has compiled a 2CD set called Disco Fever which features some great South African disco/dance tracks from the 70s. These 2 discs are filled to the max with music…over 150 minutes of music, memories and magic.
Artists include HOT RS, Buffalo, People Like Us, Disco Rock Machine, Rouge, John Ireland and Neil Cloud.
Buy this CD, put on your platforms, grab your cherrie and take yourself on a magic carpet ride with the delta queen to the garden of Eden.
STEVE KEKANA – THE ENGLISH ALBUM
A compilation by Derek Smith with liner notes by Malcolm Lombard. Includes all Steve’s great hits like “The Bushman”, “I Feel So Strong” (with PJ Powers), “Raising My Family” and “All I Need Is Here In Africa”.
SPRINGBOK NUDE GIRLS – SURPASS THE POWERS
The new Springbok Nude Girls album, ‘Surpass The Powers’, has now been released. This 11-track album, which was produced by Kevin Shirley, is also being set up for an international release with some of the earlier Nude Girls’ singles tacked on. The previous Nude Girls’ single, ‘Blue Eyes’, is already on this album along with the new singles, ‘Giant Love Affair’, ‘Again, and ‘Un-Ez’.
— Stephen Segerman
WIN A CD!
Tell us how the Springbok Nude Girls got their name and you could win a copy of the new Springbok Nude Girls CD “Surpass The Powers” courtesy of Paul Thackwray of Sony Music South Africa.
RADIO RATS – INTO THE NIGHT WE SLIDE
Jonathan Handley, in association with Andy Harrod of the One World online CD store, has re-released the seminal debut Rats album, ‘Into The Night We Slide’ on CDR. This limited edition CD with bonus tracks and revised artwork is available online at http://www.oneworld.co.za.
Also coming soon is the Radio Rats 5th album Radio Ketamine…watch out for it.
ONE WORLD MUSIC
Andy Harrod (Mad Andy to his friends), announced recently that One World Music
now includes cover scans and track listings on their extensive website.
One World Music has everything from the new Springbok Nude Girls “Surpass The Powers” to the classic “Into The Night We Slide” by the Radio Rats.
One World has an extremely wide range of CDs including Afrikaans Volksliedjies, African Traditional music, music of the Kalahari Bushmen, Sounds of Nature, Kwaito, Johnny Clegg and a host of other genres, styles and artists. Also unique releases like Chris de Burgh’s “Live In South Africa” and the “Cosmos” TV series soundtrack CD which are very difficult to find anywhere else.
If its Made In South Africa and its on CD, then its available at One World.
Visit http://www.oneworld.co.za and remember SA Rock Digest members get a 5% discount off their purchases. Just put “digest member” in brackets behind your name when filling in the order form and they will do the rest.
Visit these voting booths and cast a vote for YOUR favourites….
SA Classic Rock albums
All-time Great SA Pop and Rock songs
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SOUTH AFRICA’S ROCK FILES
The online archive for the History of South African Rock
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Type “Digest Member” in brackets
after your name when submitting info.
INDIE MUSIC EXPLOSION
The Ultimate Independent Music Site in South Africa
Supporting South African Music
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Whats on in Cape Town
What’s on in Cape Town and around South Africa
STREET LEVEL RECORDS
Cape Town’s Independent Record Label
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SA MUSIC DATABASE
Over 100 links relating to South African music
RIESTER INTERNATIONAL RECORDS
South African independent record company
Independent multi-faceted music group
AFRICAN INVASION OF ROCK
News, reviews and opinions
SPLASHY FEN BOOK
Makes your computer sound better if you listen to MP3’s, WAV files, music samples, web radio, on-line concerts and much more.
Visit http://www.rock.co.za/files/mp3software.html and click on QSound banner.
OUTLAW RECORDS, CAPE TOWN
Vinyl and second-hand CDs. Always something new.
Cape Town Central:
55 Castle Street (off Long Street), Cape Town
3 CHB Building (opposite the entrance to Wynberg Hospital),
Maynard Road, Wynberg
10% discount for Digest members!
Looking for Radio Rats, Popguns, Chauffeurs or Glee Club recordings?
Contact Johathan Handley for a catalogue at:
Private Bag X10
JEFF BECK: CRAZY FINGERS
by Annette Carson
The first and only definitive biography of Jeff Beck – published in South Africa in January 1999 and available by mail order from the author. Trade paperback format,
256 pages, with a comprehensive discography.
All Digest back-issues can now be downloaded as one
small zip file (less than 300kb).
Go to: http://www.rock.co.za/files/sarockdigest.zip
The SA Rock Digest is compiled by Brian Currin from the
“Too Good To Be Forgotten” internet message board, e-mails from
Digest members and other varied sources.
For the basic rules of the Digest please visit:
or I can e-mail them to you.
Reading someone else’s copy of this e-mag?
Firstly thank the person who sent it to you, for being someone of
incredible good taste and perception…
…and then subcribe yourself by sending an e-mail to
mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org with any words or phrases that vaguely
Y’know, like “I’m in”, “That’s great”, “OK”, “Here’s R1000 send me a
Or…visit http://browse.to/sarock and fill in the very simple form.
Want to unsubscribe from this e-mag?
Surely not, but if you really must, then just send me an e-mail,
saying “I hate SA music”, “I’m bored” or “get my out of here” or
“I’ve had enough” or whatever, I’ll get the idea, eventually.
Formed in June 2006, The Black Hotels’ first release, a five-track EP titled Beautiful Mornings, made them one of the most critically acclaimed South African indie bands of 2007 and 2008. Films For The Next Century is their first full-length album.
“Currently the most authentic, original and exciting rock band in SA – FFTNC is the most important SA album of 2009”, The Tonight
“Reminiscent of the best moments of bands such as REM and Interpol”, Muse Magazine
“Plays like some weird night in a bar in Russia, sipping vodka with Lloyd Cole and riling up close to a boy wearing a Joy Division T shirt”, Painter Jane
Available at RhythmMusicStore.com
Magna Carta … what an act ! If you are one of the true followers of the band, then the name Magna Carta, known in the seventies as the Simon & Garfunkel of the U.K., will need no introduction. Following two successful tours to South Africa in the seventies and two later tours in 2007 and 2008, they are set to give us one more tour in September and October of this year.
Magna Carta is one of the longest running acoustic acts in the world. Founded by North Yorkshireman Chris Simpson in 1969, they have toured 64 countries so far, sold 8,000,000 albums world-wide, and performed 29 tours for the British Council as far afield as the Rain Forests of South America, the Arctic highway in Norway, the Himalayas, Iraq and the deserts of the Oman. One of the most travelled outfits on the planet, they have an unbelievable array of stories and experiences. Real troubadours.
It was the albums ‘Seasons’ and the magnificent classic ‘Lord of the Ages’, (regarded by many in South Africa as up there with ‘Dark side of the Moon’ and ‘Sergeant Pepper’) and the evergreen single ‘Airport Song’ that put them on the world map. From London’s Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to the Montreux Festival and Lisbon Opera House and the Canterbury Festival in Ontario, Canada, to the ancient souk in Damascus, Syria, their timeless music has woven its magic across every kind of audience and nationality.
What exactly is it then that has kept them going down 30 albums and through clubs; concerts; radio and TV shows too numerous to mention? Just how did they survive so many of the rock ’n roll years, when so many didn’t or simply faded away? Maybe it is the music, mostly written by Simpson and a rich pot-pourri of all his influences from Elvis’ Sun sessions via Bob Dylan, J.J. Cale, Paul Simon and the Blues, together with a rich vein of melody and some English folk traditions. He also mixed in certain country influences, not least the ground breaking guitar style of the late Chet Atkins.
The vocal sound is as unique as is the guitar sound. Simpson plays either a Martin HD28 or Gibson J200. Tom plays a Martin D41. You might not believe that two acoustic guitars can rock? Well, listen to these two and you would be proved wrong. There is the aforementioned J.J. Cale in there, the wistfulness of a James Taylor and the gritty edge of early ‘folk-baroque’, and more than a touch of Blues.
THEY WILL BE APPEARING AT THE FOLLOWING VENUES:
|16-Sep-09||Old Selbornian Club||c/o Pierce Street and Old Transkei Rd, Stirling, East London|
|17-Sep-09||The Lounge@ The Square||Pascoe Crescent, Port Alfred|
|18-Sep-09||Toni’s Place||69 Mangold Street,Newton Park|
|20-Sep-09||Potters Place||18 Oosterland Street, Jeffreys Bay|
|22-Sep-09||GEORGE ARTS THEATRE||125 York Street, George.|
|23-Sep-09||Dorp Street Theatre||Dorp Street, Stellenbosch|
|24-Sep-09||Fogeys Railway House Restaurant||Main Road Muizenberg|
|25-Sep-09||Villa Pascal||28 van der Westhuizen Street, Durbanville|
|26-Sep-09||Villa Pascal||as above|
|28-Sep-09||BarleycornMusic Club||Rygersdal Sports Club, Erin Rd, Rondebosch|
|29-Sep-09||New Space Theatre||44 Long Street Cape Town|
|30-Sep-09||Die Boer||6 Chenoweth Str, Durbanville|
|07-Oct-09||Krakatoa||Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Centre, 1 Sibaya Drive, Umhlanga Rocks|
INITIATED BY : THE CAPE TOWN FRIENDS OF MAGNA CARTA
Posted by Michael Currin, 04 July 2009
After 35 years, the classic, but sadly over-looked ‘Chimera’ by keyboard wizard, Duncan Mackay, is officially available on CD for the first time, thanks to Fresh Music. Also includes a bonus track ‘The Opening’ from 1990.
- Morpheus [11.14]
- 12 Tone Nostalgia [8.10]
- Song For Witches [19.42]
- The Opening [7.07]
It was the early 70’s. Progressive rock in the form of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Genesis, King Crimson, Yes and countless others, was on the rise in those dim and distant lands. The closest we got to seeing our heroes was in the pages of Melody Maker or New Musical Express.Seeing the likes of Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Vincent Crane, Brian Auger, Rod Argent, and Jon Lord in action was merely a pipedream for us, here in isolated South Africa. For those of us into the more progressive side of music, these were gods, the untouchables, almost forbidden fruit, if you will, never to be seen in the flesh. We were condemned to drown in a sea of musical mediocrity, forever to believe that the likes of “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” and “Mammy Blue” were the be-all and end-all of the music scene in South Africa.
Fortunately, all was not lost.
In spite of what the radio stations and record companies would have us believe, South Africa certainly did have a very vocal, albeit small community, of, dare I say it, more “discerning” music lovers, and we had some really great bands who, sometimes under incredibly difficult conditions, managed to release some fantastic albums.
We had Freedoms Children, Otis Waygood, Suck and Hawk (most of these legendary bands’ albums have been released on CD on the Retro Fresh label,) and a host of others.
And we had Duncan Mackay.
Born in the UK, he won the best young violinist in Great Britain award and in 1963 he went to Shrewsbury School on a music scholarship . His family came to South Africa in the late 60’s, where he acheived L.T.C.L and L.R.S.M violin teaching diplomas at Port Elizabeth University. Whilst studying, Duncan would earn money playing keyboards at local music venues which lead in 1970 to a tour of Brazil with members of the Sergio Mendes band.
Moving to Johannesburg in 1971, Duncan and drummer Mike Gray were working the hotel cabaret circuit but were getting restless. They wanted to spread their wings and play music that stretched their talents.
As fate would have it, a week from finishing a residency at The Criterion, they were approached by a big Scotsman, Tom Buchanan who had been listening to them all night. Having won the lease to an old restaurant at the bottom end of Jeppe street in a poker game the previous evening Tom had the dream of converting it to a venue for progressive music and asked Duncan to take the gamble with him.
Duncan grabbed the opportunity, got stuck in, built the stage and started rehearsing. Word soon got around that this was the place to go. “The Branch Office” was born, named by Tom after a New York jazz club.
I remember hitching all the way from Sandown, as it was known then, sometimes with a few friends, always concerned that I wouldn’t get to the venue in time for the first set.
The banks of keyboards, the monster double bass drum kit, the endlessly revolving Leslie’s and the air fan blowing in the face of one of the finest keyboard players I had ever heard. His musical skills and the energy he put into his performances ensured that the punters, like myself, kept coming back. I looked on in awe as he effortlessly moved from keyboard to keyboard, his feet playing the bass pedals, never failing to blow me away, and I was forever grateful to my future brother-in-law for taking me to this place.
Duncan and Mike practiced day in day out, honing their skills, playing Peddlers, Nice and ELP material, as well as Duncan’s own compositions. Everybody, from record company execs, to musos, to members of the media, used to flock to this fantastic new music venue to hear the seriously talented band that played there every night. The band, now known as Tricycle, with the addition of Duncan’s brother, Gordon, on violin and keyboards, was the talk of the town. The Peddlers themselves visited the venue during their highly popular visit to the country.
It was on one of these sold out performances that Peter Knight, head of Phonogram International, visited the club, and the seeds were sown for the recording and release of the album you hold in your hand.
“Chimera” was recorded virtually “live” at Gallo Studios, Johannesburg in April 1974. A week of hauling his B3, Leslie’s and ARP synths back and forward between the club and the studio. Putting down what was to become a milestone in keyboard-orientated progressive rock in South Africa.
Originally released on the Vertigo “Spaceship” Record label, the album was produced by Duncan and re-mixed at Pye Studios in London. It featured the near twenty minute long epic “Song For Witches”, a track drenched with some of the most intricate keyboard work you’ll hear anywhere from the awesomely talented Duncan, who used as many as 14 keyboards on stage! He was superbly supported by Mike Gray and Gordon. The other two tracks, “Morpheus” and “12 Tone Nostalgia”, a personal Branch Office favourite, put the seal on a phenomenal piece of work that has, until now, been tragically omitted from the compact disc format.
But now, the album, in all its re-mastered glory, is finally available on CD, thanks to Benjy Mudie, who has been on a crusade to release long, lost, and much missed South African classics on his Retro Fresh label.
And Duncan? Well, we’re talking about a musician who went on to become extremely highly regarded and much in demand. His biog is the stuff of legends, Check THIS out:
Returning to England, at the invitation of Peter Knight, Duncan joined Ginger Baker and the Gurvitz brothers, Adrian and Paul, in the Baker Gurvitz Army. Apparently they weren’t the easiest musicians in the world to work with and not much came of this. He then started rehearsing with Jon Hiseman and Gary Moore in Hiseman’s newly formed Colosseum 2, although he never recorded with the band (Don Airey appeared on the band’s three albums).
Then, in 1974 he joined Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, enjoying a number one hit in the UK and Europe with “Come Up And See Me, Make Me Smile”, followed by extensive touring and four gold and platinum albums.
During this time he recorded and released his second solo album, “Score”, with respected musicians such as Clive Chaman – bass (Jeff Beck, Hummingbird), Andy McCulloch – drums (King Crimson, Fields, Greenslade), and Mel Collins – sax (Kokomo, Camel). His skills as a session muso were much in demand and he featured on Kate Bush’s first three albums and albums by Camel, The Alan Parsons Project and Budgie.
Solo album number three, “Visa”, which was pretty solo in every sense of the word, barring guest appearances by Simon Phillips and Alan Jones, was released in 1980.
Duncan became a member of 10CC. The first album he recorded with the band “Bloody Tourists” included the worldwide number 1 hit “Dreadlock Holiday”. The album went platinum and was followed by stadium concerts world wide.
He was appointed musical director for ex-Vinegar Joe hottie, Elkie Brooks, and played on her next three albums. And it goes on and on……
Nothing like name dropping, but you gotta admit, that’s one helluva pedigree, and a past to be seriously proud of!
Not satisfied with just performing anymore and wanting now to concentrate on composing and production, Duncan had started investing in his own studio and so, when in 1993 he returned to South Africa he opened “Down South Recording” from which he has written for many TV campaigns. The theme and incidental music for “The Syndicate”, SABC’s number 1 rated 13 part drama series. 24 songs for a new “Pingu” educational DVD in the UK. Several wildlife documentaries including “White Lions – King of Kings” commissioned by Animal Planet. An album collaboration “Reunion” with Greg McEwan and 4 albums with South Africa’s virtuoso classical guitarist James Grace.
So here it is – The first ever recorded work by Duncan Mackay – they don’t play them like that anymore!!
LEON ECONOMIDES 2008
More info and sound samples at Fresh Music
- “Dimestore Diamond”
- “Heavy Cross”
- “8th Wonder”
- “Love Long Distance”
- “Pop Goes the World”
- “Vertical Rhythm”
- “Men in Love”
- “For Keeps”
- “Love and Let Love”
- “Four Letter Word”
- “Spare Me from the Mold”