The Hippest of Hippies
Passed away on the 22nd March 2011, aged 60.
Syd's many years as a performing musician have given him a richly varied musical background, having fronted everything from Parkinsons Law, a sixties rock 'n' roll bandthat performed the hits of The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Spencer Davis Group, to his stint withHarry was a Snake, an experimental accoustic outfit. There were a host of other musical ventures thatincluded a period as the other half of Project, with the country's then foremost singer/songwriter, Jannie Hofmeyer; a duo, Curry and Rice, with guitarist Steve Newman, and the seven-piece jazz outfit, Equinoxe.
His musical involvement with his brother Pete lasted seven years during which they performed their own brandof acoustic music with Mark Maingard as Strawberry Fields and with cellist, Rob Larsen and flautist Eric Dorr,as The Kitchen Brothers. They appeared at countless folk festivals around the country and were recorded as festivalguests by David Marks' SAFMA label and in thier own right by the SABC's World Service for external broadcast toNorth America, Europe, Japan and North Africa.
In 1979 Syd went solo and began working on a number of musical revues which included his own "S'No Good and the ReasonWhy" and two highly successful Bob Dylan revues. During this time he continued writing not only songs, but his own uniquely personal poetry and prose that had already sold more than 3 000 copies when published as an anthology titled"Scars That Shine" a few years earlier.
Syd went on to open a guitar shop which soon became a mecca for local musicians, serving as a venue for both concerts and clinics that featured musicians from all over the country. After re-evaluating his life, Syd decided to concentrate on hiswork as a songwriter and began to dedicate all his time and energy to his music. A couple of hundred songs later and heemerged as a wonderfully original songwriter.
Rather than merely talking his literate, personal and sometimes passionate lyrics over a strummed acoustic guitar, Syd Kitchen formed the Utensils for his debut album. With them he was able to reproduce the subtleties, the implications, the images and the insights that characterise his work.
It was nearly eight years before his second album 'City Child' was released and this showed a decidedly jazzy side to the man.As the millennium came to an end, Syd become more active. 1999 saw him teaming up with Wesley Gibbens, Nux Schwartzand Greg Leisegang to produce the EP 'AmakoologiK'. The following year he joined Steve Newman, Tony Cox and Greg Georgiades for the highly successful acoustic project The Aquarian Quartet. Then in 2001 he produced what is possibly his best work to datewith the stunning 'Africa's Not For Sissies'. The album received much critical acclaim and was nominated 4th in the SA Rock Digest's Top 30 Albums of 2001.
Taken from an insert in the album 'Waiting for the Heave' and supplemented and updated by John Samson, September 2002.