Blues from the Warm Frosts.
At the dawn of the modern rock era during the Sixties, it was bands like John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Fleetwood Mac, Alexis Korner, Cream and even the Rolling Stones who turned to their blues roots for their inspiration. It was these and many similar artists who eventually used the blues to create what became rock. Scratch any of the older statesmen of rock and you'll find a rich seam of blues influences in their hearts and in their music. Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Bob Dylan and Keith Richards all owe major debts to Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Willie Dixon and the grandaddy of them all, Robert Johnson.
In South Africa it is no different. Frank D Frost is a man who has been ploughing this particular musical furrow since he grew up with the sounds of these artists soundtracking his formative years. Frank is now a walking reference source on the history of blues music in this country having worked, jammed and partied with the full roster of SA bluesmen.
He and his wife Maggie (or 'Ma Tell' and 'Pa Tell' as they are affectionately known) have dedicated themselves to promoting the music they love in this country. For many years, blues was mostly a cult item but recently it has jumped a deserved ride on the South African music train that is gathering momentum and is threatening to become the major industry we always knew it could be. Maggie and Frank run a music company called Real Music Africa which, among its many functions, organises blues festivals. Among these are the annual Martell Blues Rock festival in Grahamstown (since 1994), the Martell Hangklip Rock Festival and the Mini Woodstocks. Real Music Africa have organised tours for, among others, Jackhammer, Wendy Oldfield and Squeal They also manage, promote, protect and nuture a host of new, young SA bands like Dorp, Son Of Rain and Frosted Orange. Their major interest is their own band the Blues Broers who have built up a popular following due to their wild and crazy live gigs and two outstanding albums, 'Sharp Street' and 'Been Around'.
Frank is the manager and drummer for the Broers and his son Albert plays guitar. Maggie does the 'motherly' thing, keeping the boys happy, healthy and on the stage on time. The Blues Broers gig incessantly, mostly around the Western Cape and have completed six very successful national tours Their albums are perfect party detonators and were produced by 'Mr. Ears' Willem Moller. Their earlier album 'Damn Fine Mojo' is only available on cassette and is almost impossible to find. Such is the success of their two recent CDs that there are plans to re-release 'Mojo' on CD due to the huge demand for any product by these Belushi-/Aykroyd-inspired funsters. There is also talk of a live album which would go along way to bringing the vitality of the Broers' live shows into your lounges. (Check gig listings below to be a part of these live recordings)
Speaking to Maggie and Frank is like cruising 'Route Ses en Sestig' in a convertible Chevrolet with two cool guides. They speak with great affection of the much-missed 'Soul Ou' James Phillips. They've seen it all and heard it all and still have enough energy and love for the music to put back as much as they can to keep the "blues flame" alight. It is folks like the Frosts who still have a large role to play as SA music starts to thunder down the tracks. Their knowledge and inspiration is vital to our new generation of bluesrockers. Frank tells of the time he was stopped by a cop in Joburg for "going the other way down a one-way". Here's hoping Frank and Maggie never stop getting tickets.
The Blues Broers' website is at http://www.bluesbroers.org.za
Frank and Maggie Frost can be contacted at:
Phone: (021) 851 5771
Fax: (021) 851 3136
The Blues Broers' albums 'Sharp Street' and 'Been Around' can be ordered online at: http://www.oneworld.co.za
Upcoming Blues Broers gigs:
Fri 24 Oct - The Planet, Observatory
Sat 25 Oct - The Brass Bell, Kalk Bay
Sun 26 Oct - Take 4 Bistro
Mon 27 Oct - Evertsdal Bistro, Durbanville (unconfirmed)
Fri 7 Nov - River Club Observatory
Fri 14 Nov - Tollies Stellenbosch
Fri 28 Nov - Mossel Bay & Dynamics (unconfirmed)
Sat 29 Nov - Knysna Locals Jol Fest & Dynamics (unconfirmed)
Wed 3 - Sat 6 Dec - Hidden Cellar (LIVE RECORDINGS)
Sat 6 Dec - Brass Bell (unconfirmed)
Sun 7 Dec - Oppikoppi (unconfirmed)
Fri 12 Dec - Troubadour & Dynamics (unconfirmed)
Stephen Segerman (firstname.lastname@example.org)