‘Asem in, asem uit’ and enter the smooth, poetic ambience created by The Buckfever Underground with their latest, spoken word and experimental EP – Satelliet.
Recorded predominantly on cell phones during the creative silence of 2020 – The Buckfever Underground have created a soothing selection of poetry and musical builds that echoes emotions experienced by many of us in recent days. Their EP – ‘Satelliet’ transports listeners through sections of calm tied into subtle frustration with clean acoustic guitar, beautifully spoken poetry and distant ambient tones.
Composed by Michael Currin (guitar), Stephen Timm (production, effects) and Toast Coetzer (vocals, lyrics) ‘Satelliet’ carries through the band’s strong opinions that have been shared with the public since 1998 and exudes characteristics of experimental music with an improvised air. Captivating track names like ‘Love in the Time of Visas’ (2002) and ‘Die Volk’ (featured in the top 100 best protest songs, 1998) engage eyes and ears simultaneously.
The first two tracks of ‘Satelliet’ – specifically: ‘My Geheim Aan Jou’ emits a tone of surrender to whatever the world has in store. This mood starts to shift once the first few seconds of ‘The News’ introduces frustrating topics explored through the media. ‘Ice Pyramid’ creates a transition between opposing moods, exploring both light and dark aspects until the subtle melodies of ‘Een Oog’ drift towards the melancholy. The sounds of ‘Satelliet’ come to an end during ‘The Valley of the Dancing Stones’ which explores all that the world has to offer and leaves listeners in deep contemplation.
‘The Buckfever Underground’ have created a work of art that may leave you feeling strong and somewhat mellow, wallowing in the calm after entertaining the demands of chaos.
I recently saw for the second time, Searching for Sugarman. It is a fascinating documentary of a musician, Sixto Rodriguez, who recorded two albums in the late sixties in Detroit. After being dropped from his record label in 1970, he went into obscurity, giving up his career as a professional musician and turning to construction for his living.
His record producers (who also produced the greats of Motown) said Sixto Rodriguez was one of the best they had ever heard. They ranked him greater than Bob Dylan. But for whatever reason, the early 70’s American public did not embrace him. A cloud of obscurity enveloped him and success eluded him. About the time he was hanging up his guitar, a young American woman shared his album with friends in South Africa. What follows is a lesson for all of us.
Apartheid was in full force in South Africa when Rodriguez’s music came to light. That sharing of an album started a grassroots effort that unfolded into Rodriguez selling over half a million records and becoming a rock superstar in South Africa for more than 30 years. He became a household name bigger than Elvis, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. However, this newfound fame was unbeknownst to Rodriguez as well as his producers. It was only through the efforts of a South African journalist and a jewelry store owner that he found out, 30 years later, that he was famous in a country halfway around the world.
Everyone in South Africa thought Rodriguez was dead. Rumors of different death scenarios had circulated for years as there was no information available on him during this pre-internet time. When a journalist found out he was alive and well, many people in South Africa did not believe it. The story unfolds from there to an invitation for Rodriguez to do a nationwide South African tour, which he did before thousands of adoring fans.
Rodriguez’s art had a life of its own that went well beyond his or anyone’s expectations and touched a nation that badly needed his words. His music had meaning for millions of people. His art providentially found its audience.
As artists, life can get in the way of getting to the easel. Sometimes thoughts of quitting float in your head. You may never feel good enough. But I am here to say, push those thoughts aside. The world needs your voice. It is never whether you are good enough because we all have something to say at every stage of our artistic journey. The better path is to keep working, striving to grow each day, being honest about strengths and weaknesses in your work, and looking for ways to improve. Always improve! Risk, experiment, try new mediums, ask and welcome feedback, be mentored and mentor others, make adjustments in your work, always set your standards high, but tell your story!
We each have a unique artistic voice that was given us. In searching for that voice in your painting, and being true to it, you may just find yourself unintentionally touching lives that you never knew possible.
Searching for the Sugarman, can be found on Vudu as a rental.
April 6 2021, Capetown, SA: Today, much-revered South African singer/songwriter/guitarist, Steve Louw releases, “Crazy River,” the first track from his forthcoming album, Headlight Dreams to be released in May via BFD/The Orchard.
The song itself is an upbeat, transcendent ode to the beauty of a river, its timelessness against the impermanent world it runs through, and the aspects of ourselves that long to be just like it. Louw, with a rich lifetime of music making under the belt, gets it and embraces the moment. The video puts him occasionally front and center, singing and playing with millennial enthusiasm, yet with the confidence that experience brings, his image juxtaposed with footage and stills of lives lived large against a backdrop of mountains, valleys and rapids. So lush is it all that one could just jump at the screen before getting a hold of themselves.
Says Louw of the song, “I once took a long canoe trip down the Colorado River, through the Grand Canyon and out again. It was a very spacy spiritual place and it felt like I was on a journey to the middle of the earth. I wrote this after the trip. On one level the song is about the river trip and the journey deep inside the raw power and beating heart of nature, but it also reflects on time, our time on Earth, how we experience it, and how the bonds of deep personal relationships with our fellow travellers nurture our souls. I played the acoustic guitar using a few African-style riffs and the band picked up on that feel. Guitarist Rob McNelley contributed beautiful slide guitar.”
From the moment he jumped into the South African music scene in the eighties, he was swimming with the best of em. At that time, he fronted All Night Radio, a group that would release two hit records, The Heart’s the Best Part (1984) and The Killing Floor (1986) and establish Louw as a force to be reckoned with on the SA music scene. But in 1990, Steve achieved legendary status after forming Big Sky, who won the honour of Best South African Rock Act in 1996 and were subsequently accepted into the SA Rock Hall of Fame. In 1998, they supported Rodriguez on tour and were incidentally featured in the film, Searching For Sugar Man.
In 2003, Steve collaborated with Dave Stewart (Eurythmics), Anastacia and Brian May (Queen) on a song called “Amandla” that was performed for the Madiba’s 46664 concert in Cape Town by Beyonce and Bono.
He also played and recorded with the aforementioned Rodriguez, Blondie Chaplin and Kevin Shirley, who produced Headlight Dreams. The new album also features a guest spot from heroic guitarist Joe Bonamassa on “Wind In Your Hair.”
My name is Jay, I am a rapper living in the UK, and I was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in South Africa in the post-apartheid, ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ era. I spent my youth watching Cheech and Chong films and Listening to Sixto in various shebeens around Johannesburg, smoking good weed.
I unfortunately ended up in Jail which led me to the UK, upon my release. I then followed a path of music to steer my life away from drugs and the perils that come with it. I decided to do a ‘Sugar Man’ remix, which is an ode and a story of my perils with a modern era take, with the original chorus to keep authentic and change the verse to rap style vocals.
I have registered and released the remix and obviously Sixto is the beneficiary of this, which I am more than happy with. I am writing to request an opinion or a short moment for feedback. The album and song in particular were such a huge part of my up-bringing and being from South Africa, where the story is Legend, I was hoping I may get a moment of feedback.
In truth it took me over ten years to complete, as one, I was on a journey (sure you can relate) and two, I wanted it to be a worthy offering. There were various different versions made between bpm’s etc, however it took ages to get to the point where I thought I would one, hopefully keep the essence and make Sixto proud however and two, still reach this modern generation. So, to get some feedback would be awesome, please.
I also hope I have not offended anyone in this process, as it was done with pure love and inspiration in mind and, as I mentioned, Sixto is the beneficiary who I am happy to send info relating to.
I also have a cool artwork animation on my insta profile (@riskology) where the artwork of the table and menu all become interactive and trippy. I have attached a short animation of the artwork that my biz partner, Rowan L Designs, made for the release , it took her years to perfect and this artwork took hours/months to produce as each item is an individual layer and all parts interact, she did an amazing job.
Anyway – I hope this email finds you all well in these crazy times. And, on behalf of my whole generation, Thank You for the love, light, and inspiration, I look forward to hearing back from you 1love,
I’m going for a ride with Rodriguez this mornin’ they scoped his story cross my plate -not a moment too late- it crucified my mind and I still wonder if I got time to see tha Sugarman at Inner City Blues down on Sandraven tonight -I’m really looking forward to it- I’m gonna burn a pack of Sixto and chase tha dragons where tha black smoke flows I’m gonna burn with a little Sixto this mornin’, all the way to tha Market on Lullaby Lane I’m gonna wonder while I wander with Rodriguez -you stay here Sixto- me and tha Cold Facts will climb tha other half of stairs and bring it back so we can burn it over a stein of a most disgusting song -I always wonder when I wander-
P.S. you are greatly appreciated in this neck of tha woods(all of ya) wish I could shake your hands and give ya’ll bear hugs…
Hi folks at sugarman.org 🙂 I tried sending the below to the fanmail email for Rodriguez but it bounced. I know it probably won’t reach Rodriguez here but thought I’d give it a shot anyway.
Hi Sixto Rodriguez (or whoever reads your fanmail!),
I hope this email finds you well in the absurd reality of the covid world!
I am in the middle of my final year of a Music and Human Development degree in Dublin. I decided to do my musicological research dissertation on your music and its effect in South Africa during aparthied. It’s such a fascinating story and I’m delighted to get to delve into your music a bit more, and the complexities around the social and cultural phenomena in South Africa which endeared your music to so many there.
I have read all about you of course. I’ve focused on your music career but was interested that you got a BA in Philosophy and ran for Public Office. Such a well-rounded life you’ve had! It must be very strange for so many people to know so much about you, but having read the many forums on the Sugarman.org website, it’s clear that all who know you truly admire you and love your music. I have studied some philosophy as part of my Human Development course and am an introverted deep thinker in general (something I inherited from my Dad). I also write music, sometimes about the boy-girl stuff, as you say, but I also incorporate other issues which affect me. I think your music is great and I often sing your songs to myself. I hope to learn to play some on the guitar.
Well, I just wanted to say that you’re an inspiring man and musician and it’s been a pleasure listening to and studying your music. It’s amazing to see what an eye-opening effect you had on South Africans and how your music really got them through difficult times. My brother lives in Cape Town with his wife and I hope to visit next year and walk some of the paths you did when over there. I shall be making a trip to Stephen’s record shop, too!
Hello! I might be one of the last people in the U.S. to see the Searching For Sugar Man documentary – I was so moved, laughing and crying with my friend who checked it out from the public library to share with me.
My friend also had his Cold Fact CD, which I am about to rip into my iTunes Library… on the condition that I can pay Sixto Rodriguez directly. After watching the documentary and reading a few articles, I have zero confidence that purchasing any of his albums new results in revenue or royalties ever actually reach Rodriguez. So, can someone direct if he accepts Venmo or PayPal, or maybe Patreon. I poked around on this website and on the Rodriguez YouTube channel – where found a Facebook comment feed with comments similar to my feelings about buying Rodriguez albums and merch, worrying about others profiting, but him never seeing a cent. Most of us were probably not surprised about the mercenary nature of the music industry already, but Rodriguez’ story has got to be the worst of the worst as far as exploitation and fraud. Considering what Rodriguez has already been through, it seems like insult to injury to enthusiastically purchase his albums now, only to have it again get sucked down some hole… right into someone else’s pocket.
If anyone can direct me to a legit avenue to purchase his albums and/or make a direct payment to him, please let me know! I will keep looking until I find a way.
This mix opens with a recent cover version of “Sugar Man” by South African singer Rebekah Thompson.
This version plays under the closing credits of the 2019 film “Moffie” which is about a young man drafted into South Africa’s military, but he knows he is different and must keep himself hidden.
1. Sugar Man (from Moffie) – Rebekah Thompson 2. Heart Of Glass (Crabtree remix) – Blondie & Philip Glass 3. Adagio In G Minor – The Doors 4. Oblivion – M83 feat Susanne Sundfør 5. The Black Page #1 (piano version) – Ruth Underwood 6. Love Scene (from Zabriskie Point) – Richard Wright 7. The Rains Of Castamere (from Game Of Thrones) – Ramin Djawadi & Serj Tankian 8. Skyrim (Dragonborn) – Tina Guo 9. Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – Emily Browning 10. Chasing The Dragon – Epica 11. Nymphetamine (Fix) – Cradle Of Filth feat Liv Kristine 12. Crazy In Love (2014 version) from Fifty Shades Of Grey – Beyoncé 13. Tomorrow Never Knows (from Sucker Punch) – Alison Mosshart & Carla Azar 14. Oh! Darling – Peachy Keen 15. Sugar Man – Barbara Moleko
Unreleased track by the lads, featuring the McCully brothers, Tully and Mike. In comms with Tully, “…This track was featured on Springbok Radio’s ‘Battle of the Beats’ in 1966/67….Mel (Green), Mel (Miller) and Julian (Laxton) won, we came second…” …This is their take on the blues song first recorded by American Delta Blues musician Bukka White in 1940. An autobiographical piece, in which White sings of his experience at the infamous Mississippi State Penitentiary, known as Parchman Farm. The track has been covered by several other artists over the years.
Marq Vas, 29 December 2020
The Blue Beats – “Parchman Farm” Line up: Mike McCully – Drums Tully McCully – Bass, Lead Vocals Richard Hyam – Rhythm Guitar Maurice Findlay – Lead Guitar
Publisher: Marquis Music
Thanks to Tully for the track/band info and use of band pic.
Probably Rodriguez’s most well-known song. Rodriguez himself is also often referred to as The Sugar Man. A great song with superb instrumentation. This slow bluesy rock song is a paean to his drug dealer, however Rodriguez said on a TV interview in March 1998 that this song is “descriptive not prescriptive”. Great imagery and use of hippy slang, like “silver magic ships” and “sweet Mary Jane”, ensure the listeners’ interest. The psychedelic freak-out section in the middle reminds me of similar sections in Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and Uriah Heep’s ‘Gypsy’. – Brian Currin, 1998
“Cold Fact” opens with the ultra trippy Sugar Man, which may well have been straight out of an acid trip. “Sugar man met a false friend on a lonely dusty road, lost my heart, when I found it, it had turned to dead black coal” suggests just where exactly the inspiration came from as he goes on to list jumpers, coke and sweet Mary Jane. More than any other Rodriguez song, it is Sugar Man which personifies the artist in the minds of those who have always wondered. The eerie moog synthesizer, whistling in the background, the lazy and simple guitar chords and the dreamy nasal voice place the listener firmly in an era of fantasy. It sets a perfect tone for the album and the myth. – Andrew Bond, 1998
I’m not for drugs, I never advocated drug taking – Rodriguez, March 1998
What’s that song about anyway? – Rodriguez, 22 September 2001
This track was the first encore song on the 1998 South African tour. It was preceded by much chanting of “Su-gar Man, Su-gar Man…”. Were we calling for the song or the Man? Who knows, but he came and he sang and we loved it.
South African band Just Jinger also did a great cover of this song on their March 1998 EP “Something For Now”.
There have also been cover versions recorded by American band The Monkey Wrench and Australian band Stella One Eleven.
Kris Kristofferson recorded a completely different song called “Sugar Man” in 1972. Released on the “Jesus Was A Capricorn” album.
In 1991 The Escape Club also recorded a song titled “Sugar Man” (no relation to the Rodriguez song) on their “Dollars And Sex” CD.
In 2001 Rapper Nas sampled “Sugar Man” for his “You’re Da Man” track off “Stillmatic”.
In the December 2002 issue of UK music mag, MOJO, in the list “The 100 Greatest Drug Songs Ever!” “Sugarman” was at number 34.
You’d Like To Admit It
Extremely rare b-side of a seven single recorded in 1967 and credited to Rod Riguez.
This classic folk-rock song is the one that most people seem to associate with Rodriguez. Used as the show opener on the 1998 and 2001 SA tours. Simple in composition but penetrating in it’s lyrics.
It came as no surprise then that when “Cold Fact” hit the record racks, it became a hit, simply because it contained a phrase which would muddy the country’s sexually chaste waters and serve as a mantra to the youth: I wonder, how many times you’ve had sex… – Craig Bartholomew, 1997
Generation EXT’s slow hip-hop rap version of I Wonder was released on the compilation CD “Dance Connexion 17” in September 1998.
Only Good For Conversation
Classic fuzz metal guitar riff by Dennis Coffey opens this song, reminds me of Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke On The Water’. A harsh bitter song of lost love (..you’re the coldest bitch I know..), this track really rocks! Great bass line and a superb guitar solo. – Brian Currin, 1998
Climb Up On My Music
My favourite Rodriguez song and also one of my all-time favourite songs. Brilliant title and great lyrics. Excellent rock guitar from Chris Spedding and jazzy piano (by Phil Dennys?) make this song a classic. Wonderful production by Steve Rowland and superb stereo imaging. Listen to it!!
When performed live on the 1998 South African tour this track became a classic rock song of anthemic proportions. Willem Möller’s guitar solo is one of my magic moments in music. – Brian Currin, 1998
A wonderful instrumental duet for acoustic guitar and violin. Used as the intro for “Lifestyles”. Written by Rodriguez for his 2 daughters, Sandra and Eva. Sometimes mistitled as Sundrevan Lullaby.
…the musical part of Sandrevan Lullaby touches my heart (named after my sister Sandra and me)… – Eva Rodriguez, 1997
Rehearsed for the 1998 SA tour, but not performed (I know ‘coz I was there!) – Brian Currin, 1998
Rich Folks Hoax
Great song, what more can I say – listen to the words.
Craig Bartholomew told me that in 1987 when he was busking his way around Spain, this song received the best response, and the most money into his open guitar case!
Not written by Rodriguez, but sure sounds like it could have been. “Hate Street Dialogue” actually refers to the famous “Haight/Ashbury” area of San Francisco, the famous Hippie hang-out during the late 60s “Summer Of Love”.
…for years the title Hate Street Dialogue has been bothering me, when I listened to the song I gathered the lyrics were referring to the famous hippie street in San Francisco: Haight/Ashbury, however the title on the album is spelt “Hate”. Rodriguez said (on a South African radio phone-in show in March 1998) that although the lyrics of that particular song were not written by himself they did refer to the Haight and not to the opposite of love. – Stelios, 1998
Could this be “Janis Pity” – a sort of tribute to Janis Joplin? Read the lyrics and see the similarity to Janis and her lifestyle. Lyrics like “now you sit there thinking, feeling insecure…” and “…don’t bother to buy insurance, coz you’ve already died…”. Great imagery and biting prose. Read more about this song and ‘Like Janis’.
To Whom It May Concern (1979 live version)
A wonderful, almost progressive rock version with jazz-blues flute and even a bass solo. Recorded in Australia in 1979. This track is over 8 minutes long and the band is introduced on this song. Really great version.
Heikki’s Suburbia Bus Tour
After a conversation with my father, I wanted to share a short story…
In the sixties, there were these people called hippies. It can be said that a long hair, dark skin, free thinking musician, like Rodriguez could have been labelled one. In my youth, I recall hearing about how the “rich folks” (those living in the suburbs), would come down to the inner city of Detroit to actually see these “oddities” in their natural environment. Maybe even take a picture or two. This happened to be my neighborhood and some of my people.
Rodriguez had a very good friend named Heikki. I remember a large man with long blond/brown hair. He had a very nice home, a wife named Linda and two huge bull mastiff dogs. Despite stereotypes, Heikki was a mathematician from “Estonia” (Estonia is a republic in North-Eastern Europe, near Finland) who rode a classic motorcycle. In fact, one of the places that Rodriguez played, a “motorcycle funeral”, was for one of Heikki’s friends. The motorcycle club was called “The Penetrators”.
Anyway, someone had made fun of Rodriguez’s friend. Protective of Heikki’s feelings, Rodriguez organized what I consider to be a peaceful form of retaliation. A bus was chartered, full of hippies, four gallons of wine, etc. The group went to Grosse Point, Michigan and surrounding areas where they visited suburbian malls and neighborhoods on a tour of their own. The rest, is in the music. The story made the newspapers in Detroit and also reached Florida (a southern U.S. state). – Eva Rodriguez, 1997
A Most Disgusting Song
In “A Most Disgusting Song” the people are like someone we all know. I think it was a depiction of a place Rodriguez played, a bar called “The Sewer” near the Detroit River, that was demolished a long time ago (In the song “Cause” Rodriguez speaks to Jesus (his brother?) at the Sewer). One of the places that Rodriguez played, a “motorcycle funeral”, was for one of Heikki’s friends. The motorcycle club was called “The Penetrators”. – Eva Rodriguez, 1997
The 1967 version of I’ll Slip Away was released on The Best Of Impact Records CD (Collectables COL-5883) in November 1997. Also released as a bonus track on Sugar Man: The Best Of Rodriguez (South Africa) in September 2005.
The 1967 single features more upfront Byrds-type jangly guitar, vocal harmonies and a subdued organ in the background, when compared to the early 70’s version. The strings that are so prominent on the later version are absent on the 1967 version.
I’ll Slip Away: As far as the Rodriguez Impact single, “I’ll Slip Away” is concerned, I would highly suspect that both sides of that single were probably recorded at Terra Shirma Studios, since most of all of the later Impact records were recorded there. But it is possible that it may have been recorded at United Sound Studios in Detroit, since Harry Balk recorded many of his artists there as well.
The “B” side of the Impact 45, “I’ll Slip Away” is a song titled, “You’d Like To Admit It”. Both sides were produced by Harry Balk (the owner of Impact). To my knowledge, the record was only issued as a “promotional” 45, and not sold commercially to the public (see note below). The record is “near-impossible” to find, due to the fact that few copies were pressed, and Impact records went out of business shortly after the record was released. By the way, the song, “You’d Like To Admit It” was also written by Rodriguez.
I’m afraid that I can’t help you out with the lyrics to the song (read them here),”You’d Like To Admit It”, because I don’t own a copy of the single. In my many years of collecting records, I have only seen ONE copy of that record for sale, and it was much too expensive for me to buy. (IT WAS ABOUT $175.00 U.S. DOLLARS!)…
— Jerry Schollenberger, “Best of Impact Records” CD producer, May 1999
I can confirm that a regular (NOT a promo) release of Impact #1031 does exist. A speculation to the contrary exists on your Sixto R. page. Thanx for the info on this artist that you supplied; you have added to my enjoyment of record collecting, and listening.
— Steve Jones, Canada, August 2003
I’LL SLIP AWAY
And I’ll forget about the girl that said no Then I’ll tell who I want where to go And I’ll forget about your lies and deceit And your attempts to be so discreet
Maybe today, yeah I’ll slip away
And you can keep your symbols of success Then I’ll pursue my own happiness And you can keep your clocks and routines Then I’ll go mend all my shattered dreams
Maybe today, yeah I’ll slip away
Cause you’ve been down on me for too long And for too long I just put you on Now I’m tired of lying and I’m sick of trying Cause I’m losing who I really am And I’m not choosing to be like them
And if you get bored or got loneliness Or it’s dislike for me you express I won’t care if you’re right or you’re wrong I won’t care cause you see I’ll be gone