(The Ballad Of The Southern Suburbs)

by Jeremy Taylor


(Gallotone PD 7-8531)

Ag pleez deddy won't you take us to the drive-in
All six, seven of us, eight, nine, ten
We wanna see a flick about
Tarzan and the Ape-men
And when the show is over you can bring us back again

Popcorn, chewing gum, peanuts and bubble gum
Ice cream, candy floss and Eskimo Pie
Ag deddy how we miss
Nigger balls and liquorice
Pepsi Cola, ginger beer
and Canada Dry

Ag pleez deddy won't you take us to the fun-fair
We wanna have a ride on the bumper-cars
We'll buy a stick of candy floss
And eat it on the Octopus
Then we'll take the rocket ship that goes to Mars


Ag pleez deddy won't you take us to the wrestling
We wanna see an ou called Sky Hi Lee
When he fights Willie Liebenberg
There's gonna be a murder
'Cos Willie's gonna donner that blerrie yankee


Ag pleez deddy won't you take us off to Durban
It's only eight hours in the Chevrolet
There's spans of sea and sand and sun
And fish in the aquarium
That's a lekker place for a holiday


Ag Pleeeeeez Deddy - VOETSEK!

Ag sies deddy if we can't kraak to bioscope
Or go off to Durban, life's a henguva bore
If you won't take us to the zoo
Then what the heck else can we do
But go on out and moer all the outjies next door


Words and Music by Jeremy Taylor, 1961
Transcribed by Rodney Currin with assistance from Brian Currin, August 2000.
Lyrics confirmed in August 2003 after discovering a book by Jeremy Taylor titled 'Ag Pleez Deddy!', published in 1992 by Jeremy Taylor Publishing.

album cover
Quite what the appeal of 'The Ballad of the Southern Suburbs' (or 'Ag Pleez Deddy' as it's more affectionately known) is, is somewhat a mystery to me. It's a very simple tune strummed on an acoustic guitar and sung by an ou who doesn't have the greatest voice, yet this little ditty has made it's way into South African musical folklore and is still regarded as a classic. Although I can't put my finger on why, I, like thousands of other South Africans love this song, possibly it's the reference to all those lekker things of one's youth like candy floss and eskimo pies that keep this song fresh and alive.
-- John Samson, November 2000
This song was taken from a live recording of the stage musical 'Wait A Minim' in 1962. It was banned by the SABC (as were most of Jeremy's songs). It reached #1 on the LM radio charts in June 1962. Jeremy received a gold disc for over 75 000 units sold of 'Ag Pleez Deddy' - s'true's bob. (Info from sleeve notes for the 'The Best Of SA Pop Volume 1' CD written by Malcolm Lombard)
1961 I vividly remember writing this song. I remember the little flat in Violet Street and the room I used to pace around at nights nursing a cholicky daughter. Sometimes I would put her in the karrikot and into the back of my 1947 Morris Minor (the one with the split windscreen and side valves) and we'd drive around the Southern suburbs. Jess would sleep then. But as soon as we got back and I stopped the car she would wake up again so I don't know if it was such a good ruse after all. But at least she and her mother got some sleep, until the next feed. Today she plays the 'cello and nurses two children of her own.

One curious fact about AG PLEEZ DEDDY is that after I had written a verse and a chorus of it I threw it away because I thought it was dumb. It probably was dumb, but three weeks later I read an article about a writer, a serious one, who said there was one golden rule about writing and that was to finish whatever you had started, otherwise you would never learn anything. Reluctantly I hauled my verse and chorus out of the dustbin, wrote three more verses, added "Voetsek" and sang it surreptitiously one night to Manny Wainer, the owner of the Cul de Sac, who gave me encouragement and a pound note and said, "Sing it to the people tonight." I was later persuaded to take it to the Gallo Record Company. A gentleman - Phil Goldblatt - listened patiently while I sang it to him then explained that no one would buy it because it wasn't commercial. He added, however, that he would always be happy to listen to any future efforts.

AG PLEEZ DEDDY was recorded a year later (live - at a Cape Town recording of Wait a Minim) and the single sold more copies in South Africa than any of Elvis Presley's.

The birth of a song is like any other birth; it can be short and sweet or long and arduous and you never know what you are going to get at the end of it. You just have to take each one as it comes.
-- Jeremy Taylor, taken off the 3rd Ear Music website

The Ballad of the Northern Suburbs

The Northern Side Of Town