Valiant Swart - Deur Die Donker Vallei

Deur Die Donker Vallei

Released:
1999, Wildebeest Records, SWART004
2002, Rhythm Records, SWART004

SA Rock Digest charts:
highest position: 12
weeks on Top 20: 2

Website:
Valiant Swart

Tracks:

  1. Deur Die Donker Vallei
  2. Duisand Myl Blues
  3. Banneling
  4. Ek En Jy En Die Highway
  5. Die Donker Kom Jou Haal
  6. Sodom En Gomorra
  7. Beggeer
  8. Bobbejaan
  9. Pienk Pajamas
  10. Gange Van Babylon
  11. Die Vloek Van Die Kitaar
  12. Donkerwals
  13. Duisand Myl Blues (Reprise)

Musicians:

  • Vernon Swart: Drums, congas
  • Schalk Joubert: Bass
  • Valiant Swart: Vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, dobro, vibrabass, harmonica
  • Simon "Agent" Orange: Hammond organ, piano
  • Albert Frost: Lead guitar
  • Guy Collins: Slide guitar
  • Brenda Pieterse: Backing vocals
  • Nicole Holm: Backing vocals
  • Rudi Dennis: Backing vocals
  • Catherine du Toit: Castanets
  • Nic le Roux: Saxophone
  • Theuns Botes: Concertina

Review:

A wise man once said to me that 'Deur die Donker Vallei' by Valiant Swart was the best Afrikaans Rock album ever. Later in the same conversation, the same wise man admitted that he had had too much to drink. At this point I recalled the old adage 'In vino vertitas' or perhaps I should have thought 'In vino veri-tassenberg' as it was of that famous fruit of the vine that the wise man had partaken. The other thing that persuaded me to seek out this album was that the wise man was none other than Koos Kombuis.

I must say Oom Koos, that I agree wholeheartedly with you. 'Donker Vallei' finds the mystic one at his soul baring bluesy best, creating 12 lovingly crafted songs of love, loneliness, lost love, just cruising or at times about being pissed off or if you look a bit closer, there's a definite political slant to them. As the title suggests, it's not a happy album, but it is also not a 'oh woe is me' album. Apparently this album was made at a time when Valiant had just broken off a relationship. Although I haven't had that confirmed, the lyrics do tend to suggest a man coming to terms with lost love and finding solace in being alone and on the road. There's a sensitiveness and openness about this that is quite disarming but comforting at the same time.

Musically it's Valiant's beloved blues that dominate, but there's a healthy dose of country rock and in the case of 'Die vloek van die Kitaar', a good old blast of unadulterated rock. The band's playing is superb throughout, and the awesome blues guitar contribution of Albert Frost is enough to send shivers down your spine.

To paraphrase Forrest Gump, this album is like a box of chocolates, you like all of them, but every one has their own favourite. It's not easy to choose a favourite amongst this quality selection as they're all so darn lekker, but at a push I would say my favourite is 'Gange van Babylon' a song that flows so smoothly and melancholically through your speakers that you can't help but be engulfed by it {My favourite is 'Banneling' (The Exile), in case you were wondering - ed}.

While there have been a large number of quality Afrikaans Rock albums of late, this one still comes out tops for me and is never far from my CD player. So Koos Kombuis I take my velhoed off to you for your choice of album, and those of you who have ever wondered where Eminem and his homies in D12 got the idea for their song 'Purple Hills' check out the cover of this quite special album.

John Samson, SA Rockdigest #141, February 2002

Buy MP3s:

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All info supplied by John Samson, June 2002


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