- Valiant Swart - vocals, electric and acoustic guitar and harmonica
- Albert Frost - lead guitar
- Anton L'amour - lead guitar
- Schalk Joubert - bass
- Simon "Agent" Orange - Hammond organ and piano
- Barry van Zyl - drums
- Tonia Selley, Anika, Liela Groenewald - backing vocals
- Willem Fourie - guitar, backing vocals
- Mike Rennie - violin
- Jaco Viljoen - cello
Hey Valiant what the hell are moon hairs? Is that like in "moonhair worrie nie"?
Okay so I was probably one of the first souties to ask Mr Swart what Maanhare means, and for those of you out there who don't know it's a mane as in a lion's mane. But these ou's don't make it easy for us as the CD cover features a grainy black and white shot of Valiant looking cool under a cartoon moon. (A bald moon as far as I can tell).
Okay having dispensed with the bad pun, let's get down to the music. This album is about poetry and motion. There is a real sense of movement through vast open spaces in the music here. This is your soundtrack to your drive through the Karoo. The top's down on the car, the wind cascading through your hair and Maanhare is blaring from the stereo. You're going nowhere, in no rush to get there, but most important is that you're moving. The steady rhythm section sets the cruise control, the guitar is your best friend and occasionally there is the lone howl of a stray harmonica.
There are quieter tracks for those moments when you pull over and sit by the side of the road, contemplating the beauty of your surroundings and having a long hard look inside yourself. The fragile and beautiful 'Sonvanger', the aching 'Helfte van Die Maan' and the quiet almost whispered 'Weeskante' are wonderful time-outs on the album.
It's not just the music that conjures up images in the mind. The lyrics, as with all of Valiant's work, are pure poetry. Lines like 'Wentel my spirits in 'n silwer spiraal', from 'Waar Die Dromers Dwaal', 'swem sy met fosfor en pťrels' from the lilting and uplifting 'Matrooslied' and 'hier begrawe ek my drome in die sagte warm grond' from 'Weeskante' are but a few examples of the lyrical talent of the man.
The Mystic Boer-ish title track is destined to become a classic with its country tinged blues sound, racy pace and half sung/half spoken lyrics. 'Horison Hotel' (a block down from Morrison Hotel) and 'Whiskey en ReŽn' are fine examples of melancholic blues rock while 'Diep in die Bos' features some awesome drumming from Barry van Zyl and top guitar playing by Valiant himself, and this on a album featuring both Albert Frost and Anton L'Amour. Here is definitely a boytjie who's been to the deep south of America.
This album is a progression from the brilliant 'Deur die Donker Vallei'. It is the sound of a gentle spirit wandering the countryside, drinking in the sights, sounds, experiences and the cheap whiskey and crafting this into some of the finest country rock blues that has been committed to disc. When it comes to quality albums, Valiant is definitely the mane man.
-- John Samson, July 2002