Lesley Rae Dowling

Album cover


  1. The Spaniard
  2. Grips Of Emotion
  3. The Raven
  4. Somethin' Goin' On
  5. You
  6. Young Lochnivar
  7. Mama's Leaving
  8. Oh, My Love
  9. Morocco
  10. Lady
  11. Sophistication

All songs written by Tully McCully except 'Grips Of Emotion' by Tully McCully and Lesley Rae Dowling


  • Lesley Rae Dowling: vocals, keyboards
  • Tully McCully: guitars, bass, drums
  • Richard Pickett: drums on 'Grips Of Emotion'
  • Jethro Butow: guitar solos on 'Grips Of Emotion', 'Mama's Leaving', 'Oh, My Love' and 'Sophistication'
  • Peter: sax on 'Somethin' Goin' On'

Cover photography by Tully McCully

Release information:

1981, Warner Brothers Records, WBC 9020
2006, Fresh Music, freshcd149 (with Unravished Brides)

Buy Lesley Rae Dowling CDs from Fresh Music Click here to buy Fresh South African artists

Back cover


The little lady with the big voice seemed to come out of nowhere, bursting on the radio in late 1981 with the powerful 'Grips of Emotion'. The strength of this debut single meant that the album was one of the most eagerly anticipated on the local scene for a while. The final product simply entitled 'Lesley Rae Dowling' did not disappoint.

Masterfully produced by none other than Tully McCully, the album offered up 10 futher tracks of the sultry, sexy rock that had made 'Grips..' so exciting. Dowling's strong alto tones entwine themselves around the tight guitar playing of McCully, jostle for attention next to some slick guitar solo's from the omnipresent Jethro Butow, or weave there way around her own well crafted keybord playing.

She's angry and seductive, relfective and mystical. She sings of the exotic ('The Spaniard' & 'Morroco') of the gothic ('The Raven') and the erotic ('Grips of Emotion'). At times the album so sexually charged the album is almost a substitute for foreplay, yet she was somewhat of a recluse, seeming to shy away from public life. This was at odds with the strength of her voice and the upfrontness of her songs.

This must rank as one of the best debut albums by a South African artist, strong gutsy vocals coiled around a tightly produced backdrop of hard edged rock guitar and piano. The album is summed up in the title of the bluesy final track 'Sophistication'.

John Samson, SA Rock Digest #94, February 2001


Thanks to René Mullenders for all the info and cover scans, July 2000

TOP back to where you came from
South Africa's Rock Classics

South Africa's Rock Legends