T1-Together’s mission is to raise funds for the diabetic community of South Africa and our vision is to assist the disadvantaged diabetic youth and financially assist with the training of diabetic alert dogs.
Every Saturday from 8am to 1pm there is Market on the grounds of the Bothasig Library in Vryburger Road in Bothasig, Cape Town.
Music fundi, Brian Currin, mans the T1-Together stall, almost every Saturday, selling Vinyl Records, CD’s, books and bric-a-brac.
I’m at my favourite record store in Cape Town bemoaning the lack of decent second-hand vinyl these days, when the conversation shifts to collectable South African records – is there such a thing you may ask, as a collector’s market for SA vinyl?
Among aficionados both local and international one thing is certain – LP’s from around the world have become more and more collectable when it comes to certain artists, but more importantly, SA vinyl from the early 1950’s onwards has not escaped the attention of serious collectors worldwide.
“So, what’s the value of a decent copy of Time to Suck by that notorious band SUCK, on the Parlophone label?” I ask.
“Well,” says the owner, “we’ve recently sold a copy to a Russian collector for 20 G’s.”
“Whaaaaat?” I croak, choking on my croissaint!!! 20000 rand for a piece of plastic!!
In 1970 when the record was released, you could buy a new copy for R1.99 at the local record shop, so do the math – it’s about a million and some percent profit over 50 years.
Even cryptocurrencies can’t beat that performance it seems, so what’s going on?
And here’s the story: during the late 60’s local Johannesburg-based music promoter Clive Calder saw currency in 5 of the then ” happening ” groups of the time viz. Freedoms Children, Hawk, Otis Waygood Blues Band, Abstract Truth, and ominously, SUCK.
They began recording for Calder at EMI and each released albums over a period of some 5 years, in the process creating some of the most vital and original music ever to be released on these shores.
In most cases only very limited numbers were stamped at EMI’s plant and sold to the public, and unlike European and American markets, were never released again. This is why their values have skyrocketed over the years. In most instances the groups themselves never became wealthy individuals, Calder later built a multi-million-pound music empire in the UK.
Unlike cryptocurrencies which have become huge investment traps, vinyl has some unique qualities which are much more attractive: you get something tangible. a large piece of plastic with a concentric layer of grooves, a central label identifying artist and record company, and most importantly – a hole in the centre!
Removed from a sleeve, most of which are visually gratifying to the eye, the shiny disc is placed on a turntable and the phono cartridge does the job of conveying the music to your ears. Unlike your cryptocurrency, the LP record doesn’t spin out of control over bad news in the marketplace, it keeps appreciating in value over the years with successive hearings.
The thing that really intrigues me with the Suck album is this – essentially, it’s a collection of heavy rock cover versions, only one original song on the entire record. Played with some ferocity, you can’t help thinking these are some pretty mean dudes involved. The cover doesn’t help, a young boy sitting in front of somebody’s bass drum.
That drum belonged to Savvy Grande, who whacked the skins for Suck, along with cohorts Andy Ionnides, Louis “Moose “Forer and Steve Gilroy.
Open the cover and there you see the gringos in all their glory, in the heyday which saw them become the most notorious group in the country: they beat a path of musical mayhem and destruction around the country, eventually disbanding because no theatres would allow them to play.
“I certainly didn’t get any money from Suck” says a chagrined Savvy, “instead I invested in the restoration of motorcycles, some of which are sold to collectors around the world, some ending up in museums in countries such as Portugal”. Cryptocurrencies don’t interest me at all, I prefer to earn a living using my hands and my technical skills.
Steve Gilroy, a savvy Englishman who came to SA in the 60’s has a different story:
After Suck disbanded, he started a publishing company in Johannesburg, and then began experimenting with home-made beer-making. After several years he expanded his skills into brewing fulltime. He established Gilroy’s in Muldersdrift, which has become popular for his craft beers and his Up Yours poems.
Talking it up has been the making of cryptocurrencies worldwide, but the vinyl revival has ensured that collectors around the globe have achieved more than satisfactory returns from their own collection investments – probably on a far greater measure both aurally and visually.
For those who have SA collectibles the news is good – those shiny plastic discs contain gold – kids, check out dad’s or grandpa’s record collection, there’s bound to be something valuable in there – so much more exciting than sitting on the pc chasing after shadows in the crypto world!
Garth Chilvers / Tom Jasiukowicz
Garth Chilvers and Tom Jasiukowicz published History of Contemporary Music of South Africa, 1994, Toga Publishing.
Immortalized in the Searching for Sugar Man documentary film, this is a great introduction to African rhythms and the genres are as broad and all-encompassing as the continent itself. Hip hop, house, jazz, soul, funk, R&B – check. But add rock, pop, techno and dancehall too – and you’re still not even close to unearthing the full extent of this Gardens favorite, a nice addition to this upscale suburb of the city.
2 Rheede Street, Gardens, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
An informative and inspiring motivational talk about the Rodriguez phenomenon.
For the past 20 years, Stephen “Sugar” Segerman has been involved in the rediscovery of, and resurgence of worldwide interest in, Sixto Rodriguez. This legendary and internationally acclaimed American folk-rock singer-songwriter, who was a huge success in South Africa from the ‘70’s onwards, was believed to be dead but was found alive and well and living in Detroit in 1997. Since then his career has gone from strength to strength following a series of international tours, the re-release of his albums, and the success of the Oscar-winning film about this extraordinary story, ‘Searching For Sugar Man’, in 2013.
Now you can enjoy hearing Stephen “Sugar” Segerman talk about this whole musical adventure. “Sugar” as he is popularly known, has travelled around South Africa and overseas giving these talks and answering questions for the past few years, following the success of the film. He attended the Academy Awards ceremony in 2013, followed by the publishing of his best selling book in 2015, called “Sugar Man – The Birth, Death and Resurrection of Sixto Rodriguez”, co-written with his fellow “Musical Detective” in the story, Craig Bartholomew Strydom.
Stephen “Sugar” Segerman lives in Cape Town and is the owner of the iconic record store, Mabu Vinyl, in Gardens. Along with Malik Bendjelloul, the director of the film ‘Searching For Sugar Man’, Sugar spent over six years working on the documentary which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Festival, where it won two awards. The film then spent the rest of 2012 being shown at many Film Festivals around the world where it won a host of awards, including the Bafta Award, and then in 2013, the Oscar award for Best Documentary.
To find out the details involved in booking Stephen for a talk at your venue, which lasts approximately an hour and a half and includes a question and answer session, please contact:
Worldwide FM presents ‘Cape Town Sounds’, an audio documentary which explores the rich musical heritage of Cape Town, as part of Lufthansa’s #LHcityofthemonth campaign.
The documentary follows Gilles over the course of the day as he sets out to learn about the history of the city’s music, and infiltrate the dynamic contemporary scene. He begins with the music of the Khoisan bushmen, through to Cape Jazz of the ’60s, onto hip hop of the ’80s and ’90s, through to the spoken word and current musical climate of today.
By discovering where the music is from and where it is going, Gilles discovers what makes Cape Town so special.
There is an interview with Stephen “Sugar” Segerman from Mabu Vinyl at about 18 minutes.
The classic song “Sugar Man” by Rodriguez is featured at about 20 minutes.
After a host of recent projects and from New York to Cape Town, Sons of Trout founder member Nick Turner has gone back to his dub reggae rock best. He is currently touring South Africa in various musical collaborations sharing, ‘Home and Secure,’ which is enough of a collection to show that this musician is in the starlight of his career, and he is moving and shaking with the stamina of a long distance runner.
Check out the killer single ‘Everywhere,’ Written about the perennial favourite, ‘unrequitted love’ and given a spark of bourgeoisie by the delicious muted trumpet playing and French accent. But maybe you are more into this big up front reggae back beats that lead out tunes like “Seasons”, “Getting Hotter” (The Sounds of Trout hit), “Norman,” (The Mikanic hit) and “Same world?” The combination of hot horn lines with, tight reggae jams and great vocals is universal, vibey and natural. And as the trumpet rasps in the distance, one knows that this sound will travel!
Nick is well supported by bass and drums, Schalk Joubert and Riaan Van Rensburg, both performers gel alongside the band leader like a sole well glued to a shoe. In fact the trio is so tight that their reputation precedes them! Adrian Brand adds superb trumpet throughout the album sparking Cape Town, Balkan reggae vibrations with a clean tone and adventurous style.
Turner’s vocals are solid and well-crafted into a soothing sometimes stinging delivery. The lyrics are witty and profound in their simplicity. It is Nicks’ heart for inclusion community togetherness and friendship that comes through in the album. “We all look up and see the same moon,” he sings on same world.
There are delightful cameos like Nick’s many musical brothers and sisters such as Mike Rennie (violin) and Zolani Mahola (vocals) who each add their own flavour to the potjie pot music.
The opening song on the album is called “anomaly.” Turner is of English heritage, but is South African for many generations, over 100 years. Thus, he sings in Afrikaans to reach the majority of the market in the region he lives – the Western Cape, and there are enough Afrikaans tunes to keep the home fires burning. The composition, “Roos” by Leslie Javan gives a raucus rural and humourous goema vastrapCape flavour to the music.
Another anomaly is that Nick spent a five year stint in New York as a waiter in an African bistro restaurant. A number of songs refer to this, such as “Cuffed in my Kitchen” and the title track “Home and Secure,” drawing a link between New York and Cape Town.
A South African Afropop mix, including tracks from Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, Brenda Fassie, Lucky Dube, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Chicco, PJ Powers & Hotline, Johnny Clegg, Mandoza, Steve Kekana, Miriam Makeba and more.