Illuminating Headlight Dreams

by Brian Currin, June 2021

Back in early April 2021, I read a press release announcing a new album coming from Steve Louw and it included the video of a song called “Crazy River”. I loved the big open spaces this song evoked (and enhanced by the video) and the subtle African guitar sounds reminded me of early Johnny Clegg.

I first heard of Steve Louw in 1990 when the cassette version of the “Pop Shop 48” album featured the song “Waiting For The Dawn” by Big Sky as a bonus track. There is actually no real band called Big Sky, it is the name Steve Louw has used when he surrounds himself with the cream of the crop of American and South African musicians.

I first met Steve in March 1998, backstage at the first Rodriguez concert at the Bellville Velodrome, outside Cape Town. Steve and that year’s incarnation of Big Sky were a worthy support act. The rest of Big Sky (led by Steve’s old buddy since the seventies, Willem Möller) also backed Rodriguez for his set. That sold-out tour of South Africa is featured in the Oscar-winning film, “Searching For Sugar Man“.

Steve recorded two albums in the 80’s with his band All Night Radio, and then four albums as Big Sky between 1990 and 2008, as well as a compilation album, “Best Of The Decade” (in 1999), and a live concert DVD recorded over two nights in 2008.

And now he comes blasting back with his first solo album (well, technically) in 13 years. As in his Big Sky days, he has surrounded himself with some top players in their fields. So let’s drop a few names; “Headlight Dreams” was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, produced by Kevin Shirley, mastered by Bob Ludwig, liner notes by Stephen Thomas Erlewine (from AllMusic), and a guitar solo on “Wind In Your Hair” by one of my favourite guys from the more recent crop of Blues guitar-slingers, Joe Bonamassa.

Louw also brought in some of the best musos in Nashville, namely Kevin McKendree (keyboards), Alison Prestwood (bass), Rob McNelly (guitars) and Greg Morrow (drums). Steve Louw wrote all the songs and sings and plays acoustic guitar.

This album is filled with great songs, from the bluesy, lyrically hard-hitting “Get Out Of My Heart” to the bouncy “Queen Bee Maybe” with its delightful Hammond organ solo from Kevin McKendree, however my favourite track on this album is the almost proggish “Train Don’t Run”. Clocking in at seven and half minutes this is an epic tune that you hope never finishes. There is a soaring guitar solo by Rob McNelly that David Gilmour fans will love. No surprise to discover that this track was mixed on the same console as the classic “Dark Side Of The Moon“.

If you immerse yourself in the Steve Louw back-catalogue you will find recurring themes and reappearing characters, in a similar vein to Rodriguez, Piet Botha and many others. It is one of the things I love about listening to music, that there are rewards for paying extra attention.

This album can be played in the background, but if you give it your full awareness and dive into its depths you will be rewarded with poetic lyrics melded with great tunes, recorded by superb musicians.

Steve’s enthusiasm for life and love is expressed in every note in this superb creation. “Headlight Dreams” deserves to be listened to over and over again, and if you do, you will get something new every time.

Steve Louw on Social

#MusicExchange: Steve Louw releases new album Headlight Dreams | Biz Community

From Biz Community, by Martin Myers

It’s hard to believe the last music we heard from Steve Louw arrived seven long years ago. With the wait now finally over, fans right around the world are already embracing the pop-rock icon’s return with arms wide open. The past year has been a rich and hugely rewarding one for Louw. Not only did Louw record his brand-new album, Headlight Dreams, in Nashville along with his long-time friend and producer extraordinaire Kevin Shirley (John Hiatt, Joe Satriani, Led Zeppelin, The Black Crowes), but Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter and genius guitarist Joe Bonamassa also pitched up and added his magic to the record. 

#MusicExchange: Steve Louw releases new album Headlight Dreams
Steve Louw

To boot, Sony ATV, upon hearing the finished album, offered Louw his first international solo artist record deal.

The album, which is out now, already has two singles on high rotation, “Crazy River” and “Wind in your Hair”; the latter is the one that’s quite literally blowing up all around the world. In its first week of release in the US, the track landed at the highly coveted number two position on the Billboard ACC Folk Chart, ahead of the likes of the equally commendable Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi.

“Wind in your Hair” is the track that sports Joe Bonamassa guitar fills and outstanding middle-eight. The single has had over 100,000 plays on Spotify in under three weeks. 

With 10 tracks captured in an arresting three-day recording sprint, producer Kevin Shirley channelled each one of Headlight Dreams’ songs through a vintage Neve console inside of a converted church. 

“From the first moment, I loved the acoustics of the studio and the vibe created by the wonderful Nashville musicians with their great feel and playing, drawing you into a world shimmering in the half-light, just out of reach,” Louw shares.

A consummate storyteller, a supremely gifted guitarist and a genuinely wonderful human being, Louw’s Headlight Dreams is a beautiful statement.

I caught up with the Cape Town resident last week. 

BizcommunityThe new decade means: Radical carbon emission cuts.

BizcommunityFame is about: An illusion.

#MusicExchange: Steve Louw releases new album Headlight Dreams
Steve Louw and Kevin Shirley

BizcommunityRetirement will happen when: You have lived beyond three figures

BizcommunityI don’t do:Fake people. 

BizcommunityMy music is about: Everyday experiences.  

BizcommunityWhat is the most enjoyable aspect of your work? Playing live and singing. 

BizcommunityThe song you must do in every show: “Waiting for the Dawn” 

BizcommunityAny funny moments on stage: When the power tripped, half the show was acoustic; we just kept playing. Luckily, the power came back and then we had an electric show.

BizcommunityMy style icon: Bob Dylan. 

BizcommunityWhat is your most treasured possession? My 1964 Epiphone as played by John (Lennon), Paul (McCartney) and George (Harrison). 

BizcommunityIt’s your round, what are you drinking? Glenmorangie Single Malt. 

BizcommunityWhat makes you stand out? The stage lights. 

BizcommunityNicknames: Stevo. 

BizcommunityIf you were not a musician, what would you do? Conservation. 

BizcommunityWho would play you in a Hollywood blockbuster and why? Edward Norton; we both smirk. 

#MusicExchange: Steve Louw releases new album Headlight Dreams
Steve Louw

BizcommunityPick five words to describe yourself: Musical, songwriter, guitar player, dendrophile, singer.

BizcommunityFive favourite SA albums: 
GBB – Eet Kreef
Baxtop – Work It Out
Juluka – Scatterlings
Tananas – Tananas
Tribe After Tribe – Power

BizcommunityWhat is your favourite word? Truth.  

BizcommunityFavourite fashion garment: My leather flying jacket. 

BizcommunityGive us some real proper slang and what it means: Lank kiff: Awesome, great. 

BizcommunityYour greatest achievement: My family. 

BizcommunityWhat do you complain about most often? Dishonesty. 

BizcommunityWhat is your fear? Large puff adders. 

BizcommunityHappiness is: Riding motorcycles. 

BizcommunityWhere would you like to be right now? Where I am.  

BizcommunityDo you do charity work and, if you do, what do you do? Yes, conservation. 

Twitter: @stevelouwmusic

Website: SteveLouw.com

Review: SATELLIET – ‘The Buckfever Underground’ | Underground Press

From https://www.undergroundpress.co.za/reviews/eps/review-satelliet-the-buckfever-underground

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.

Jodie Reid, 16th April 2021

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.

The Songs of Rodriguez

“…Climb up on my music and my songs will set you free…”

Originally appeared on SugarMan.org

Sugar Man

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.

I Wonder

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

Sandrevan Lullaby

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!

Covered by Amanda Strydom in September 2003.
– Brian Currin, 2003

Hate Street Dialogue

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

Read the full amazing story of Hate Street Dialogue.

Jane S Piddy

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 50-Year Legacy of Sixto Rodriguez’s “Cold Fact” Is Rooted In Detroit | WDET

Rodriguez

It’s the 50-year anniversary of Sixto Rodriguez’s “Cold Fact,” co-produced with Motown Funk Brother Dennis Coffey. Although the album took off internationally, it’s still a Detroit story.

One of music’s most fascinating stories originated in Detroit, but unfolded in South Africa and Australia when audiences in those countries embraced an album largely ignored in the states.

Sixto Rodriguez, born in Detroit to Mexican immigrants, became a singer/songwriter composing protest songs that reflected the disparities in our society.

This culminated on the album “Cold Fact” released in March, 1970 — 50 years ago this month. Most recently, the Academy Award winning documentary titled “Searching for Sugarman” helped introduce “Cold Fact” to a whole new audience.

Read and listen to the full story at WDET.

Rodriguez’s Forgotten ‘70s Albums Make Their Vinyl Return | Forbes

It’s one of pop music’s unlikeliest and greatest comeback stories ever: a Mexican-American singer-songwriter from Detroit named Sixto Rodriguez recorded two albums of psychedelic folk rock in the early 1970s that went nowhere in the U.S. upon their initial release; afterwards, he worked in construction. Unbeknownst to him, his music was a huge hit in South Africa, where his unsentimental and gritty outsider lyrics resonated with young liberal Afrikaners during that country’s policy of apartheid. Rodriguez’s impact on South Africa and his subsequent reemergence in the late 1990s–thanks to the efforts of some dedicated fans–formed the crux of the 2012 Academy Award-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man, directed by the late Malik Bendjelloul. Due to the success of the film, Rodriguez’s music has experienced belated and renewed attention.

Read more at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidchiu/2019/09/11/rodriguezs-forgotten-70s-albums-make-their-vinyl-return/

Rodriguez Live at The Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Los Angeles | mxdwn.com

https://music.mxdwn.com/2018/08/28/reviews/rodriguez-live-at-the-luckman-fine-arts-complex-los-angeles/

Rodriguez Live at The Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Los Angeles

On a Saturday night, many gathered for a performance of the legendary singer-songwriter and Oscar winner, Rodriguez, at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex on the Cal State L.A. campus in East Los Angeles. Searching for Sugar Man documented Rodriguez’s story of being a Mexican-American songwriter whose two early ’70s albums bombed in America, but who wound up finding a huge audience in Apartheid-era South Africa. Sixto Rodriguez had no idea he was a legend there until a group of fans found him on the Internet and brought him to the country for a series of triumphant concerts.

A little before 8:00 p.m., attendees were enjoying the reception right outside the theater, complete with a taco stand, beverages and a DJ. But those who were seated promptly at 8:00 p.m. were treated to a stunning performance by singer-songwriter Vera Sola.

“Hello Los Angeles,” Vera Sola greeted the seated audience. “We’re about to have a discussion…” she trailed into song. She played a solo set with plenty of arpeggiated guitar and deep vocals. She wandered and slinked about the stage, never missing a beat as she pierced the audience with her intense gaze. She performed songs from her upcoming album Shades and took time between each song to share a little bit about them. “A lot of these songs are funny,” she shared after a particularly dark love song, “Small Minds,” to which the crowd laughed. But the highlight of her set was a cover of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” where she turned disco into folk and showcased the full range of her vocals, from trembling to belting. The crowd cheered during and after the song and she replied, “That’s how I do a disco song.” She performed a couple more songs, each with their own unique story—one about a woman she met in Mississippi named Honey, and another dedicated to her sister with powerful lyrics like, “got the universe inside my body.”

While the audience waited eagerly for Rodriguez to take the stage, a performer by the name of S.K. took the stage, guitar in hand, and performed a couple original songs including “Don’t Go Changing” and “Solution,” as well as a couple covers the crowd got into including Jewel’s “Who Will Save Your Soul” and New Kingdom’s “Mexico or Bust.”

Shortly after, Rodriguez took the stage with the help of his posse, and the crowd cheered as loud as they could. Rodriguez took a seat and was left solo with his guitar on stage. “I always check the tuning—trust no one,” he shared as he re-tuned his guitar. Some phrases he repeated throughout the night included, “I was born in 1942,” “I’m a musical activist” and “I have a few words for the commander in chief,” just to paint a picture. The crowd took the liberty of speaking back to Rodriguez whenever there was a pause. “Rodriguez for President!” One man said, which was followed by cheers. He played a few covers throughout the set, opening with Elton John’s “Your Song” and “Sixteen Tons” by Merle Travis and later playing The Doors’ “Light My Fire.” He performed mostly solo, sometimes accompanied by tambourine or maracas.

Rodriguez shared openly about his political views and activism, sharing that he’d ran for mayor of Detroit, his city of origin. He also shared his distaste for current events, “how about the 300 priests in Pennsylvania?” The crowd groaned along. But he also kept things light at times, joking, “I want to be treated like an ordinary legend.” The crowd hooted and cheered along to songs like “The Establishment Blues,” moving their heads along to the rhythm. “Would you like to know my thesis?” Rodriguez asked the crowd, who were on the edge of their seats hanging on to every word… ” O.R. Oppression will result in revolution!” One audience member replied, “help us, Rodriguez, you’re our only hope!” “Power to the people!” He replied as he got ready for the next song, “You’d Like to Admit It.” About halfway into the set, he put down his hat and put on goggles, which he left on for the rest of the set. “It was only when I left Detroit that I realized people smiled,” he chuckled. The crowd started shouting out the cities they were from… “Berlin!” “East Los!” and Rodriguez looked around the audience, listening with intent. Some sang along to “Sugarman,” one of the more popular songs of the night. Stage lights danced around the audience. After the song, Rodriguez warned, “Sugarman is a descriptive song, not prescriptive. Stay off drugs!”

The stage lights made it appear as though he was playing in a pool of water with flowers bobbing on the surface, adding a soothing element to his folk style performance. Before going into another popular song, “I Wonder,” he shared some words of wisdom: “It’s not kill or be killed, it’s live and let live.” The crowd sang and clapped along. He closed the set with “Forget It,” and everyone waited eagerly for an encore, which they received. He closed the night with a final, “I love you guys and my love is real,” leaving his message of love in the air all night.

Setlist:

  1. Your Song (Elton John cover)
  2. Sixteen Tons (Merle Travis cover)
  3. Inner City Blues
  4. Cause
  5. Let’s Think About Living (Bob Luhman cover)
  6. This In Not A Song, It’s An Outburst: Or, The Establishment Blues
  7. You’d Like to Admit it
  8. Sugarman
  9. Rich Folk Hoax
  10. Sandrevan Lullaby – Lifestyles
  11. I Wonder
  12. Somebody To Love (The Great Society cover)
  13. Forget It

Encore:

  1. Light My Fire (The Doors cover)
  2. Street Boy

Photos by Mauricio Alvarado

Worldwide FM presents ‘Cape Town Sounds’ with Gilles Peterson

mabu
Mighty, Gilles, Jacques

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 http://www.MabuVinyl.co.za at about 18 minutes.

The classic song “Sugar Man” by Rodriguez is featured at about 20 minutes.

Vinyl sales hit a 25-year high: John Maytham talks to Stephen “Sugar” Segerman

http://www.capetalk.co.za/articles/239026/vinyl-sales-hits-a-25-year-high

Deloitte expects double-digit growth in the sales of vinyl records for the seventh consecutive year, passing the $1 billion mark for the first time since the 1980s.

The professional services company expects 12-inch records to generate between 15% and 18% of all physical music sales.

According to the Entertainment Retailers Association, vinyl outsold digital downloads for the first time in December.

Consumers bought 3.2 million LPs in 2015 – a 25-year high.

John Maytham interviewed Mabu Vinyl’s Stephen Segerman.

Listen to the interview in the audio below (and/or scroll down for quotes from it).

Vinyl sales hits a 25-year high
VINYL SALES HITS A 25-YEAR HIGH
Deloitte expects double-digit growth in the sales of vinyl records for the seventh consecutive year, passing the $1 billion mark for the first time since the 1980s.

Musica has a full vinyl section now.

Stephen Segerman, Mabu Vinyl

New vinyl is a bit pricy.

Stephen Segerman, Mabu Vinyl

The market big.

Stephen Segerman, Mabu Vinyl

It’s much more expensive to buy a vinyl record than to digitally download an album.

Stephen Segerman, Mabu Vinyl

Stephen “Sugar” Segerman in the Road Through The Grove book

The Road Through The Grove

In the late 1950s, the 1960s and into the 1970s, Louis Botha Avenue – the road through the Grove – throbbed with life. Lined with shops and eateries, and alive with music and romance, it was the backdrop to a melting-pot of working-class people, many of them with roots in Europe, who had made their homes in Orange Grove and the surrounding suburbs.

Sugar.png

For The Love Of Vinyl … | Atlantic Sun, 24 March 2016

For The Love Of Vinyl

There’s something about carefully
placing the needle into the groove of
a record, then carefully having to lift
it again to turn the record around and listen
to the other side. It’s the kind of interaction
with music you just don’t get when
listening to a CD in the front-loader of your
car or a digital file on your phone or MP3
player.
The allure of vinyl has seen many a
music-lover dedicate a room or more to
house precious collections, with Martin
Scorsese and Mick Jagger even naming
their TV series homage to the 70s US
recording scene in honour of the format.
With World Record Store Day (April
16), on the horizon, Atlantic Sun speaks to
two vinyl enthusiasts, record store owner
Stephen Segerman and Paul Waxon, DJ
and organiser of one of the city’s hottest
vinyl-only parties.
Stephen, the co-owner of Mabu Vinyl
record store owner, and also one of the
men who initiated the search for folk
singer Rodriguez documented in the film
Searching for Sugarman, said that it is great
to see the younger generation coming into
his store and buying records.
“I can only talk from experience from
my own shop which is now 15 years old –
and according to the Oranjezicht residents,
that is a long time for a record shop in
Cape Town.”
Stephen, who says he “grew up going to
record stores and loving record stores” was
born and raised in Johannesburg and
studied at Wits University. He worked with
his dad at a jewellery factory for 20 years
and in the 90s he decided to move to Cape
Town.
“I watched as CD’s came and records
disappeared and people gave up on them.
I didn’t, because I didn’t want to give up
my records.” Stephen said his business
partner, Jacques Vosloo, started the shop
on Kloof Street, not far from their current
location in Rheede Street.
“Across the road, where Vida Café is
now, was a double shop. It was a secondhand
shop called Kloof Mart and it was his
dad’s shop. Jacques bought a batch of
records and turned part of the shop into a
record store.” This was the beginning of
Mabu Vinyl. They have been in there current
location for the last eight years. “I’d
been a big customer in his shop and
helped him advertise. In the 13 years that
we’ve built this shop and moved here
(about eight years ago) we’ve seen nothing
but the rise of vinyl. Vinyl has been massive
and come back.”
He said that originally the shop just
focused on dance, trance and house
records.
“This is what kept vinyl alive. Slowly as
DJs started using computers and CDs, pop,
rock soul and jazz records became popular
again. There were record shops where you
could buy (vinyl) records which there hadn’t
been for years.”
“With electronics you won’t be able to
touch things, put a needle on it and get that kind
of quality. We’ve watched records become popular
with the younger generation which is wonderful.
There are thousands of records out there.”
At Mabu Vinyl, they only sell second-hand
records. “We have a saying that the universe has to
bring it to us. In the old days these records were
analogue and you could feel the sound. These new
records are made digitally and then converted to
vinyl. It doesn’t have the same soul,” said Stephen.
“People nowadays download tracks but we grew
up listening to whole albums. You had Ziggy Stardust
and you would put it on your record player.
You looked at the cover to find out who the musicians
were. After 20 minutes you had to turn it over
and listen to the other side. I still think that people
who love music want to hear the whole album.
What we’ve seen now is that this analogue world has
come back. It has a place and it is not going anywhere
because these records are valuable.”
“We are supportive of World Record Store Day
but we are not going to go out and get new records
just for it. We are a 365 day celebration. We are all
music addicts and it is wonderful that this addiction
has bought records back.”
DJ Paul Waxon said he has been collecting vinyl
records since he was young and started his WaxOn
events, at The Waiting Room, two and a half years
ago because he just loved playing music.
“I have been collecting records and DJing for a
long time. I stopped for a while when everything
went to digital. I went away on a holiday with my
friends and I realised how much I missed playing
music to people.”
He said that he also knew that the only way he
would get back into it again would be with vinyl
records. “I’m not a purist but I didn’t enjoy playing
the CDs and MP3s. I started my event because I
wanted to play music in the way I wanted to.” Vinyl,
he said, was the only format being played in the
clubs up until the early 2000s, and it was this scene
that contributed to keeping vinyl alive when many
vinyl pressing plants were shutting down.
It was the introduction of CDs to the market
which pretty much killed off vinyl sales. Then came
digital formats such as MP3, which turned the
music industry on its head, challenging recording
companies and music stores to reconsider their traditional
ways of looking at the music business.
Over the past few years, however, vinyl has
regained its popularity. “They started Record Store
Day to create interest in a broad way,” said Paul. “It
put some weight behind and sales started growing
on a very rapid scale. We are close to the point
where vinyl will outsell CDs in the next couple of
years.
But it hasn’t all been positive, with record pricing
often in the upper-hundreds as everyone seeks
to cash in on the renewed interest in the vinyl
record.
Now the big major record labels have jumped
on to it. The people that kept the plants open were
doing small indie rock bands and electronic music.
They are reissuing albums now that are already
there and also overpricing the new records. I saw
a Saturday Night Fever album for R500.
“I feel like we should promote our own music in
this country. If we want to promote Record Store
Day we have to find a way to support local music
and not just bring in old re-issues.
“There is a lot of music from the 60s and 70s that
sit in our record stores and nobody cares about it.
Then what happens is people overseas find them
and reissue them. Then they become popular. We
need to value our own music more. If I find the
right store, I walk out of there really happy.”

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: