James Phillips & The Lurchers
Sunny Skies

album cover


  1. Why Can't We?
  2. Sing No More Love Songs
  3. Warsong
  4. Shout!
  5. I Want The World To Start Again
  6. Pearls & Swine
  7. Money re-recording of a Corporal Punishment song
  8. Hey Everybody!
  9. Force Blues
  10. Moses
  11. Fun's Not Over
  12. Tabane tribute to Philip Tabane from Malombo


  • James Phillips: vocals, guitar, piano
  • Lee Edwards: bass
  • Paul Hanmer: piano
  • Willem Möller: guitar
  • Gavin Minter: sax
  • Bruce Cassidy: Trumpet, flugelhorn
  • Wendy Oldfield, Gloria Bosman, Joanna Weinberg & Jenny de Lenta: vocals
  • Lloyd Martin: drums
  • Dan Selsick: trombone
  • Rick van Heerden: sax

Release information:

1994, BMG


The Oxford English Dictionary defines lurcher as a petty thief, swindler, spy. Or course a lurcher could also mean one who lurchers. Listening to Sunny Skies by the Lurchers, I would opt for the latter as the music tends to swagger from rock to jazz to blues and back again. It's not easy listening.

Only Lee Edwards and the late great James Phillips managed to survive the loss of the Cherry Faced in the group's name, and they were joined by Willem Möller and Paul Hanmer with "Mr Shifty" Lloyd Ross (once a Radio Rat) credited as Button Pusher. The backing vocalists included Wendy Oldfield, Jenny Delenta and Gloria Bosman, so we're not looking at a team of amateur lurchers, these guys knew how to lurch, and lurch they did.

This album is raw, brassy and alive. When it rocks it really rocks, when it's bluesy, it's really bluesy and when it gets jazzy it moves between Miles Davis Kind of Blue smooth, through John Coltrane Love Supreme noisy chaotic to African Jazz Pioneers Hellfire African. The vocals are rough and ready, with Phillip's vocal chords apparently having been made in Sheffield, England and finished in Duluth, Minnesota, USA (work it out yourself).

The opening lines on the album "If we loved one another it would be heaven, it wouldn't be hell" are a clear political statement, although as this was recorded the year before THE election in SA, not as vitriolic as Phillip's earlier work.

The closing track is a sweet instrumental piece that has not only shades of Tananas, but also sunblock, baggies and slip slops of Tananas. It is a soothing end to this rough diamond of an album. Not everyone who listens to this will like it, but those that take the time to get into it will by justly rewarded with a calmly aggressive album of jazzy rock blues. As for me I say have your people call my people and we can do Lurch.
-- John Samson, London, UK, July 2001


Info supplied by Saad Cloete, July 2001.

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