SA ROCK DIGEST ISSUE NUMBER 38
3rd November 1999 [edited 2nd November 2009]
The South African Rock Music Digest
is a free, subscription e-mag, edited
by Brian Currin and Stephen “Sugar”
Segerman and delivered direct to your
Established January 1999
This e-mag is a discussion forum for rock and pop music —
South African and International — past, present and future.
…and in the third millennium, the crowded madness came…
— It Started Out So Nice, Rodriguez, 1972
As we hurtle towards the end of the year / decade / century / millennium
(pick one or all of the above), the Digest will become more erratic,
less regular, still irreverent and always éRocking!
SA MUSIC AROUND THE WORLD
The SA Rock Digest now has subscribers in the following countries…
Central African Republic
If you live in a country not mentioned above, please let me know.
KING OF THE CASTLE
The Castle label (not to be confused with the beer!) is well-known among collectors in SA and abroad for their extensive re-issue programme.
Sony Music SA recently announced that they will be distributing Castle CDs in South Africa.
Rock collectors can look out for old classic Uriah Heep, ELP and Black Sabbath albums, all remastered with updated cover art, new detailed sleeve notes, lyrics and even bonus tracks in some cases.
For pop collectors there are wonderful compilations by Sandie Shaw, The Tremeloes, Petula Clark and Elkie Brooks. Also Justin Hayward and Mike Batt’s collaboration ‘Classic Blue’ which includes reworkings of various pop and rock standards.
A CD of Black Sabbath’s first album, creatively titled ‘Black Sabbath’ and including a bonus track ‘Wicked World’ (previously only available on the American release), to the first person to name the first 4 Black Sabbath albums.
And a CD of Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s first album, titled…you guessed it… ‘Emerson, Lake and Palmer’, to the first person to give us the first names of the band members.
Amersham, who have been one of the top performing bands in South Africa over the past few years, have announced that they will be “disbanding”. The reason given is that their drummer, Tim Trotter, has decided to return to the UK. Amersham have been one of the more interesting SA pop/rock bands during the ’90’s and have toured constantly around the country supporting their four albums, the most recent of which, ‘Revolving Doors’, was a ‘Best Of’ collection.
Those wacky “multi-genre-lists” The Original Evergreen, have announced the imminent arrival of ‘Addictive Personalities’, their third release and first on the MELT2000 label. This CD is expected to hit the SA shelves within the next three weeks and closes off the ‘Puff The Magik/Burn The Evidence’ trilogy of singularly unclassifiable dub rap-hop sounds.
Iafrica.com, the biggest web portal in South Africa, has launched Local Beat, a site dedicated to South African music in their entertainment site.
Here you can check out the featured band of the week as well as the featured celebrity, and learn some things about SA muso’s you would never have dreamed possible!
Also get well know music journalist Dave Chislett’s assessment of the gig to go to in your city in the recommended gigs section. If you disagree, you can link from here to the Powerzone to see what else is on in your area. You can also link to some of the coolest SA band sites and read South African music CD reviews.
Check it out at:
and head into the entertainment section
LED ZEPPELIN – THE EARLY DAYS
a best of Led Zeppelin (part 1) for anybody who doesn’t already have every note ever laid down by these Legends of Rock.
ERIC CLAPTON – CLAPTON CHRONICLES – THE BEST OF 1981-1999
a compilation from Eric’s years with the Warner Brothers label including ‘Tears In Heaven’, ‘Layla (Acoustic)’, ‘Blue Eyes Blue’ (a new song from the “Runaway Bride” soundtrack) and many others from this master guitarist.
Also released on video.
GENESIS – TURN IT ON AGAIN – THE HITS
A compilation of hits and including ‘The Carpet Crawl 99’ featuring guest vocals from Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins.
Track list at: http://www.genesis-web.com
DAVID BOWIE – HOURS
includes the haunting ‘Thursday’s Child’
PIET BOTHA – JAN SKOPGRAAF
The second album from South Africa’s cross between Bruce Springsteen and Leonard Cohen is out now on Wildebeest Records. Haunting and humorous, this Afrikaans album tells stories about life and living in South Africa. Not as good as his 1995 outing ”n Suitcase Vol Winter’, but well-worth a listen.
FAMOUS CURTAIN TRICK – LAND OF NO CADILLACS
New album from the Durban-based band who opened for Bryan Adams earlier this year.
THE HONEYMOON SUITES
The Honeymoon Suites have finally released their debut full-length album, ‘Five Star’, the follow-up to their so-called ‘Greatest Hits’ EP from 1998. The Suites have been gigging relentlesly over the past two years, honing their exuberant and energetic stage show and style. As live acts go, there cannot be many SA bands who can match the invention and sheer entertainment of the songs from their legendary live sets. On ‘Five Star’ they have delivered a good-time album that does well to illustrate the band’s sound, songs and ensemble chemistry.
One of SA rock’s unsung heroes, Steve Louw, has just released his ‘Best Of The Decade’ collection. Louw has been playing under the name ‘Big Sky’ since the dissolution of his first band, All Night Radio, late in the 1980’s. Although he performs as Big Sky, Louw is essentially its only permanent member, recruiting musicians specifically for certain tasks. Louw wrote all these songs, which were recorded in America under the watchful eye (ear?) of some well known LA studio producers. The second Big Sky album, ‘Horizon’, won the 1997 SAMA award for “Rock Album of the Year” (highly deserved) and the band grabbed the prestiguous support slot for Rodriguez’ 1998 tour to SA.
See review below.
VARIOUS ARTISTS – A NAARTJIE IN OUR SOSATIE
During the early ’80’s, Shifty Records was the home to many of the SA rock fraternity’s most ‘alternatief’ artists. Many of these tracks appeared on a vinyl compilation called ‘A Naartjie In My Sosatie’, including the Kalahari Surfers (‘Prayer For Civilisation’), National Wake (‘International News’), Bernoldus Niemand (‘Hou My Vas Korporaal’) and Roger Lucey (‘Storms And Fires’).
FETISH – SO MANY PROPHETS
The new Fetish is album out – you can go listen to sound samples from it on
Just Jinger are currently on their national tour to promote their new album ‘Here’s To You’. For more info and all those dates, see http://www.justjinger.co.za or http://www.bmg.co.za
FESTIVAL OF LIVING TREASURES
More than 30 000 people are expected to attend the ‘The Festival of Living Treasures’ which will be held concurrently in the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park on December 15 & 16 and in the Shongweni Resources Reserve on December 16, 17, 18 & 19. The combined festivities will present around 80 performances in more than 60 hours of music and dance over five days.
The projected line-up of acts reads like a “who’s who” on the national and international music scene. It includes Ginger Baker (UK); Oliver Mtukudzi & Mahube (Zimbabwe / SA); Yungchen Lhamo (Tibet); Sergio Dias (Brazil); Bob Brozman (USA); Joel Gonthier (France); Phil Manzanera (UK/ Cuba); Young Ba Cuba (Republic of Congo); Simba Morri (Kenya); Nestor Kornblum & Michele Averard with Patricia Almeyda (Spain / Peru); Lamine Konte (Senegal); Gito Baloi (Mozambique); Miriam Makeba; Ray Phiri & Stimela; Jimmy Dludlu; Mathew Van Der Want & Chris Letcher; Paul Hanmer and McCoy Mrubata; Wendy Oldfield; Landscape Prayers, and “Guitars For Africa” (all from SA) to name but a few.
Elaine Paige is also coming to SA in November for a few performances, try http://www.ticketweb.co.za for info and tickets.
Alanis comes to SA in December…
more info at http://www.air.org.za
DIE SKOPGRAAF TOER – PIET BOTHA
NOV 4 DORPSTRAAT THEATRE, STELLENBOSCH
NOV 5 DORPSTRAAT THEATRE, STELLENBOSCH
NOV 6 DORPSTRAAT THEATRE, STELLENBOSCH
NOV 8 THE GRANGE THEATRE, BELLVILLE
NOV 9 THE GRANGE THEATRE, BELLVILLE
NOV 10 MELKBOSSKERM (WEST COAST)
NOV 11 WHAMMY BAR, TABLE VIEW
NOV 12 ROYAL HOTEL, RIEBEECKKASTEEL
NOV 13 JUFFROUSHOOGHTE, VREDENBURG
The Hangklip Hotel in Pringle Bay are hosting Oblivious Rock from 10 – 16 December 1999. This is an opportunity for young and upcoming bands/talent to present and promote themselves with Hangklip as a venue. Bands like Springbok Nude Girls, Valiant Swart and Akkedis had the same opportunity and developed to what we know and respect today. For more information contact Jacques at (028) 273 8448 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Oblivious Rock will be the appetizing build-up to the Mainstay Hangklip Rock Festival on 18 December. Watch relevant spaces for details.
BIG SKY – BEST OF THE DECADE
When Big Sky won the SAMA award for Best Rock Act in the mid-’90’s, beating off a strong challenge from the younger turks of the SA rock scene (Urban Creep, Squeal), many folks’ reaction was “Who?”. A typical response towards an artist who has worked consistently since the early ’80’s to establish himself as one of SA’s foremost rock musicians. Steve Louw began his career with All Night Radio before creating Big Sky in 1990. With no other fixed band personnel involved, Louw worked with an assortment of producers and musicians, usually international, to create his ’90’s body of work. He worked with Kevin Shirley on the first album, ‘Waiting For The Dawn’, and then used the legendary producer and arranger, Shelley Yakus, for his second, ‘Horizon’, which was the album that won the SAMA award. The third album, ‘Going Down With Mr Green’, completed his trilogy of exceptional ’90’s rock albums.
But despite the quality of the material on these three albums, Steve Louw remained SA Rock’s “Invisible Man”. He popped up with a full band as the support to Rodriguez on his 1998 SA tour and caught the attention of a host of SA rock fans who then went looking for some of these albums. Now Steve has released a compilation of the best tracks off these three albums, and ‘Best Of The Decade’ is a worthy title and damn fine album. Besides the older hits like ‘Waiting For The Dawn’, Diamonds And Dust’, ‘Slow Dancing’, ‘One Cut With A Knife’, ‘Run To Me’, ‘Wasted’, and ‘Strange Room’, there are two new tracks – ‘Destiny’ and ‘Skin Deep’. Steve Louw is a no-frills rocker with an ear for elegaic melodies and intelligent lyrics. He deserves far more attention then he has received and hopefully this strong collection will achieve just that.
ON THE EDGE
I have taped episodes 2,3 and 5 of “Edge” on the then TV1, directed by Cliff Graham for the SABC (MCMLXXXVII). The script was by Gus Silber and reflected the history of South African pop music (Hawk doing Orang Otang on stage and early Rabbitt at Ellis Park Tennis Stadium, sponsored by GAP jeans – fights and all!). In one of the episodes Cindy Alter of Clout was interviewed and the following comes out of that interview.
“Graham Beggs actually knew Glenda. Glenda was our keyboard player and Graham had managed Glenda’s band that she was with before. She told us there’s this manager, he’s got a record company, he’d like to see you. Can I bring him around one Saturday afternoon when we’re rehearsing? And that led on to another thing. Graham came to a few rehearsals – he liked what he saw . He saw some potential there and said “Look I’ve got a good song I’d like you to record”. And that was ‘Substitute’.”
“Mike Fuller and Clive Calder also approached Clout and said, “Please come with us we’ll make you famous” and Graham also said, “Come with me I’ll make you famous. At that stage we went with Graham because we were going overseas the next day. He said, “Sign the contract girls and we’ll go overseas – so we did.”
On the fact that “she hasn’t got millions and doesn’t drive a BMW or a Mercedes,” Cindy mentions that they, “–didn’t read the fine print and what ensued was not what we had expected.” She further states that, “It did become a bit of a puppet show with the grand master puppeteer raking in all the money and the poor little puppets getting put in the box at the end of the day.”
It is also interesting to note that according to the narrator, the fact that it came out that none of the members of Clout had actually played instruments on the single (‘Substitute’) and their places were secretly taken by an all male session band (Circus), helped lead to the “downfall of the group”.
Is there somebody out there who can pull a few strings to get “the Edge” series broadcast again or if that is not possible, to get it released on video tape?
For more info on ‘Substitute’ visit http://www.rock.co.za/files/sa_classic_songs.html
Being a 80’s local music fan – I was wondering if you have any news re. Psycho Reptiles? Are they still around, my vinyl is getting played up!
FINCH AND HENSON
Would love to know if Brian Finch & Kenny Henson still make albums and where are they now. Used to have most of their albums but cannot remember the names. Can you please let me know the names of their albums and if these are available on CD. Can their albums be ordered on the Internet?
PEDRO THE MUSIC MAN
I am based in CT and very well known by children, those who used to be
children when the Kideo series were shown and their parents of course.
I see myself as a music teacher who uses story-telling as a way to
introduce children to African musical instruments and the pleasure of
making music with self-made instruments.
I am not appearing on TV at the moment but my music is playing every
morning on School TV (sung by the Pezoulies puppets). Of course nobody
watches these programs at the moment since the intended audience is at
I do my own recording at home with Cubase VST on a Mac platform and been enjoying it. The Pezouli songs have come out all kinds of flavours (I believe in exposing children to as wide a variety of music as possible.). Many SA musical forms such as Kwela, Marabi, Mbaqanga and then the whole African diaspora stuff such as Blues, Bossa, Salsa with quite a lot of the material turning out quite “rocky”. I even have a song on transport with the Jew’s harp which sound a lot like J.J.Cale.
Also, if you have an advertising section, I am probably the only musician in SA who is not yet “booked” for the great millennium bit. Not sure I want to be working on that day either…
Somewhere somehow there must be some very rich parents planning the mother of all children parties.
Can anyone help with the official original lyrics for the song (TAKE ME BACK TO) BLUE WATER by Julian Laxton Band? It was a hit in SA and Zimbabwe as a single but I have never been able to decipher all the lyrics. Perhaps someone has the sheet music with the official lyric? Would appreciate the help.
Many thanks in advance
Editor’s brother (in case you didn’t guess from the name): I listened to that LP [Spike Milligan and Jeremy Taylor, issue #37 – ed] so many times you could almost hear the other side playing!
I actually met Jeremy Taylor when we were videoing a conference that he and Malie Kelly were performing at. (Sorry for the grammar!). No, they
appeared one after the other, not together.
While my colleagues buzzed around Malie like flies around – well, you know – I had a great chat with Jeremy (well, I DID address him as “Jeremy”). He was most amazed how many of his songs I knew from the LP, since those songs were never released in SA. As he says on the LP: “I wrote a lot of songs while in SA, many of which were recorded, all of which were banned!”
He even sang one song to me (just me!) and we both agreed it would not go down well with the specific audience that night, so I guess I can say I was a music consultant for him, albeit VERY briefly and unofficially!
No, it’s not my fault that he advertised tea-bags on TV. That was BEFORE I met him…
PRISONERS OF WAR – DAVID KRAMER (from KLASSIC KRAMER) and
GOEIE NAG GENERAAL – PIET BOTHA (from ‘n SUITCASE VOL WINTER)
2 very different songs about the border war in South Africa. David Kramer sings in English and is very serious when he asks “what were we fighting for?” Piet Botha offers the answer; “die OK bazaars and die hele bladdy spul by die SAUK”. Piet’s song is thunderingly powerful with a stunning guitar solo.
ON THE NET
Incredible online music database and completely searchable.
Their Top 1000 albums list is particularly interesting and very detailed with cover scans, track listings, release dates, musician info and sound files.
For a while now, the only website dedicated to the world, words and music of Koos Kombuis was Bomskok Babbelaas (http://www.lia.net/agrobler/Bomskok.htm). Now Mr Kombuis has decided to do it himself and you can find his new site at: http://www.kooskombuis.co.za
MUSICA ROCKS THE NET
Musica hits the World Wide Web and cyber space will never be the same again. The focus is on entertainment and on the cutting edge of new technology, but most of all it’s fun! Check out the funkiest designs ever seen on the Web in this country and click through to a multiplicity of rooms offering news, reviews, chart updates, flashbacks, live chats, live Web radio, links, sound bites, video clips and the latest gossip about what’s happening in music, both local and international.