The SA Rock Digest is a weekly,
free subscription e-mag, edited
by Brian Currin and delivered
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In this issue:
Radio Rats
Black Noise
Little Sister
John Oakley-Smith
East Coast Radio
Pop Classics?
Blues In The Bush
Abstract Truth
Jethro Tull
Radio Darkest Africa


The SA Rock Digest is a discussion forum for anything about
South African rock music; past, present and future.

Read it, digest it, enjoy it, send in your comments
and tell your friends....

"Rock" is a very general term encompassing rock and roll,
pop, folk, rock, ethnic-rock, prog-rock, jazz-rock, country-rock,
soul, R&B, metal, indie, alternative, new wave, reggae, etc, etc.

Don't get hung up...if you want to say something about the music
YOU like, go ahead, say it.

To add your contributions and comments send
e-mail to: or...
go to:
and fill in the form.

If you've sent in a contribution or request and its not here yet,
please be patient, it should appear soon.


Finally, all Radio Rats product (5 Titles) will be unleashed on the unsuspecting public through the One World website! First one is 'Into the Night We Slide' and is available now!

More info at:



June will be seeing the release of a handful of potentially huge albums by some of the best SA rock acts. The Springbok Nude Girls have completed their new album ‘Surpass The Powers’ which was produced by Kevin Shirley and the first single off the album, ‘Giant Love Affair’, will be released soon.

At the same time, the new Sugardrive album, ‘When I Died I was Elvis’, will be making its appearance to challenge the Nudies. Sugardrives' previous album, ‘Sand.Man.Sky.’, was extremely highly rated and their new offering threatens to build on the success of that release.

Little Sister is back with a vengance and a retrospective album and will be touring SA over the next few weeks. The Lonman sisters achieved noticeable popularity during the early nineties and look set to recapture all those fans who thought they’d disappeared for ever. The dates will start in Bloemfontein at Barneys Loch Logan Waterfront on the June 15th. Other dates (with some more to be added) include: June 25th - Saldhana Bay, June 28th to 3rd July - On Broadway in Greenpoint.
July 6th and 7th at The Tin Roof in Knysna and July 9th and 10th at Center Stage in Port Elizabeth. The dates for George, on the 5th or 6th, are subject to confirmation.

Stephen Segerman



Battle of the Year South Africa

This year the dynamic Cape-based hip hop group "Black Noise" has been
awarded the rights, by the organisers of the World Breakdance
Championships, to host the 1999 South African National Championships.

To help us to achieve this, the following need to be sourced as soon as
· Venues around the country to showcase "Black Noise" as part of the
National Awareness Tour, which leads up to the National Championships.
(Schools, Campus and/or Community Centres would all work well).
· A venue in Capetown to host the SA National Breakdance Championships.
These championships will determine which six individuals will represent
South Africa at the World Championships in Germany later this year.
· Sponsorship for the related costs.

Why you should consider this?
Black Noise are a group of individuals who from humble beginnings have made
a difference in the Western Cape Community, through music, dance and song,
and in so doing have motivated others to do likewise. We believe that our
society ought to reward this kind of personality and effort.

If you feel you can help:
Please email or call Emile (Black Noise) on
082 854 3159

The Nebula News Team

The Indie Music Explosion



sharkbrother will be performing again on the 20th of June at Tings an Times.
The address is Hatfield Galleries, Burnett Street Hatfield Pretoria. Tel:
(012) 362-5537).

The gig will start at about nine.

After this the next gig will be the Winterfest on June 26th.

The address is somewhere in Muldersdrift, when I know, you will know.



Looking for MP3s of South African artists?
Got to:

Thanks to Koos Miller who supplied this short message:
Another great band. Check out The Loud on:

Need an MP3 player?
Go to:



Rick Barber asks:
Does anyone know the whereabouts of John Oakley-Smith and his sister

Thanks for the mags - they really bring back memories (I left Zim in
By the way, Jeremy Taylor was in Melbourne a few months ago and certainly
hasn't lost his touch. It was great seeing him after all this time.
Best wishes
Mike & Rick



Pete Kramer wants to know...

What ever happened to Cedric Sampson?
One of South Africa's most talented. Do you know his contact details?



I wanted to know if you have any information on what happened to Debbie Lan?

Debbi Lonman



One band I think deserves a mention is *Peach*. They were a great female-fronted rock band around the time of Rabbitt, and 2 songs I remember are :
*A Lot of Things*, and

It was great stuff.


Silicon 39 -

PS. I heard *Boys Will be Boys* was once released on CD (Jet records), but is no longer manufactured. Any idea where I could get it from?

{Editor: It was only released in the USA with a slightly modified cover. No longer
available as far as I know. With all the Trevor Rabin awareness at the moment, surely
now is a great time to re-release some old Rabbitt LPs on CD?}

Visit: to see the US CD cover.



I would also like to draw your attention to two shows that feature on our
Station that highlights South African music. Firstly we are doing an un-official
SA Top Ten with Mahosi Khoza on our daily chart show Top Ten at
Ten. The South African show is on Wednesday nights at 22h00. The content of
the show is not restricted to play list material and looks at the best
selling and most popular songs in the country at the moment be it Kwaito,
Maskanda, Gospel, R&B, Rock or Pop.

The other show is Totally SA at 21h00 every Sunday presented by Trevor
Williams. This show features old and new South African material and
interviews and news on South African Artist. For people living outside of
KwaZulu Natal we can be heard on Real Audio on our Web site on:

Gavin Meiring
Program Manager
East Coast Radio



My pet hate is classical music 'popped - up'. What extreme sacrilege! I always get the impression it's like trying to get the un-educated converted, not to mention an easy freebie on the lack of royalties required! Frankly, anyone who requires a watered-down version of classical music to get hooked is best left unconverted. Of note is the fact that there are few serious muso's, be it jazz, rock or anything else for that matter, that do not have their grounding in classical music. Trying to give a 'pop' feel to classics is like a paint by numbers version of Van Gogh! Having got that of my chest (gee, I I've been wanting to do that for years!). I never-the-less endorse 100% good orchestral backing with any contemporary music. The best example for me still is an old Procol Harum album done live about 25 years ago with a massive choir and orchestra. Stunning stuff! (also Deep Purple of-course).

My recent discovery (at the Oudshoorn festival noggal) was a truly unbelievable local band called 'Namaqua'. Kinda like a jazz fusion with rap. (and I hate rap!). The level of musicianship was out of this world. To my knowledge they do have a CD out but need as much exposure as they can get. They certainly merit it. (anybody heard them?)

Paul Prohn



Voice Of America will be re-broadcasting my "Blues In The Bush" radio
program on the history, origin and development of the Blues, editing it
from two hours to 45 minutes, on their VOA World Music Mix as of this month.

They present this program daily, with shows from around the world, but as
yet I'm not sure on which day mine will appear, nor how often. But I'm
being paid for it, in dollars! VOA broadcast 24 hours per day to over 90
countries with a listenership of over 80 million.

Apparently what has impressed them most is the continued emphasis on the
AFRICAN musical origins and elements in the Blues, and the bits of
biography, sociology and history which I enjoy throwing in since that's
almost as interesting to me as the music itself.

Since the demise of Richard Haslop's "Blues Train" program on SAfm, there
isn't, to my knowledge, another locally produced Blues-based radio program
in this country. Considering the inestimable influence the Blues has had on
most modern popular music, and the fact that there'd be no jazz without it,
interest in the genre seems to endure.

For two and a half years, Jeff Roberts and I have wandered in to the Bush
Radio studios on a Sunday evening, had a great time for two hours playing
our favourite Blues at FULL volume on their amazing equipment, and have
basically used it as an excuse to go to the pub afterwards! How odd that
anyone should take it seriously.

VOA have asked me to drop the "Blues Doctor" by-line, since they say there
are 32 other radio presenters in the USA who use this tag, five in Texas
alone -- but since only one of them can also lay claim to being a real
medic, sod that, I'll continue prescribing a weekly dose of the Blues under
that banner.

Apart from VOA, Bush Radio's sponsors include the BBC World Service, Radio
France International, Deutsche Welle, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
and Radio Nederlands. The station managers at Bush have suggested I include
locally produced Blues-based material, where possible, so this is an
invitation ... and it WILL get heard by those organisations since they
monitor all broadcasts.

Also, if anyone would like to see the studios, you're welcome. I did two
one-hour "guest spots" on Jazz FM (allegedly the most popular radio station
in Europe) and Greater London Radio last year and I can tell you their
studios were not a patch on Bush in terms of a state-of-the-art
broadcasting setup.

Tap into the radio occasionally and you'll be amazed at what you can catch.
And it's free. When last were you asked for your bar-coded radio listeners

Ian Bell



Nice little buzz to see Abstract Truth up on the web site...
Would be nice to have had the album cover up there
as well. The story behind that fuzzy looking cover is that the photo
was shot by a Swiss photographer who was in SA for a while, Teak
Glauser, I believe. Teak had been part of the group that had looked
after Timothy Leary in Switzerland while he was on the run at one point

Anyway, he had come up with a photo technique where on a colour photo
everything would appear normal except for objects that moved - these
would get a rainbow aura around them, really trippy stuff. So the album
cover was shot making sure that we all moved at the critical moment.
EMI however refused to spring for a colour photo so it ended up just
looking blurred in B & W. Oh well...the good ol' bad 'ol days


I must answer Peter Measroch's message in Forum from newsletter #19. In the first place I have been a professional musician myself for the past 24 years, have recorded and released material in South Africa under the name Mac The Nite; therefore I am not suggesting that some smartass entrepreneur pirate someone's intellectual property and flog it off to the punters without giving the musicians who created it some of the proceeds. Okay, so Peter doesn't know me from Adam, which may explain his tone, but I was a great admirer of Abstract Truth when they were performing in the early 70's and am pissed off (but not surprised) to hear that the band saw no money for their creative efforts. So little has changed in the music business, then - Record companies being in music in the sense that Jesse James was in banking.

What I was implying was that good music remains good music, even 30 years after its creation, and deserves to see the light of day, even if only for the converts. I don't know what Peter Measroch is involved in today (perhaps he could let me know at, but Abstract Truth were a fine legacy; thanks also to him for putting me in touch with Mac McCallum.

Colin MacDonald



Way back in Issue#6 (February, sometime), Leon Economides wrote about
Mellow Candle and Flibbertigibbet. Well, here is an e-mail from Alison O'Donnell...

I am Alison O'Donnell (Assie) formerly of Irish cult folkrock band Mellow Candle and SA band, Flibbertigibbet, amongst other things.

In fact Mellow Candle was an Irish band who recorded with a British label
and achieved long-term cult status partly due to the fact that Decca didn't
see fit to spend much money on promotion. Despite good reviews, the group
was largely overlooked at the time, although this was somewhat rectified
years later when several journalists and folk rock experts decided they
should occupy a little niche in folk rock (progressive music) history. Their
album "Swaddling Songs" has been licensed from Deram and re-released on CD
several times on the See For Miles label. It has also been licensed to
other labels in Japan and Korea. Mellow Candle played alongside some of the
greats at the time: Genesis, Fairport Convention, The Chieftains, Thin
Lizzy, Steeleye Span.

I now head up a band called EISHTLINN (there is an accent over the first E
but my e-mail software can't cope with it!) together with an excellent
acoustic guitar player from Flanders, called Philip Masure who has played
with the top traditional artists in Belgium and has also played exensively
throughout Europe. We play traditional and original songs and tunes in an
Irish style.

There are five of us (guitar/flutes/cittern/mandolin/fiddle/bodhran/vocals)'
and our debut gig was in January this year at a Flanders concert venue. We have recorded a demo disc and have played at a number of concerts, festivals and other gigs. Our website is accessible via Philip's homepage at: (for those who can download a sound package,
you can listen to extracts from the demo recording).

EISHTLINN is pronounced phonetically and means "listen to us" from the
gaelic words "eist linn". I am writing and performing with a vengeance so as
not to waste any more time (I dropped out of active involvement in music for
ten years).
A big howzit to all those stalwarts who supported Flibbertigibbet back in
the late seventies (boy did we need it!) and all the many and varied music
projects I was involved with up to 1985.

Alison O'Donnell



I think it's appalling that the recent awards were held at Sun City. Many nominees did not attend because they didn't have the finances to spend the night and few wish to hit that notorious stretch of road late and after a few or many tots. Add to that the fact that if said nominees wished to be accompanied by anyone they were expected to pay more than it (presumably) was worth for the pleasure(?).
One thing music has avoided being in this country, is elitest. Why start now?
That's it.
Suzanne Brenner



Okay, so here's my top 25 in no particular order. Not all are rock, but hey, they're South African ...

Hard Ride - Rabbitt
Portable Radio - Clout
Too Young - Face to Face
Johannesburg - Julian Laxton Band
Mysteries and Jealousy - Helicopters
Somebody to Love - (Hi-NRG song by?????? - Can't remember)
Taximan - eVoid
Nightmare - Peach
Hey Boy - Via Africa
I Was Eleven - Rabbitt
I'm Alone Again - Karoo
Magical Touch - Petit Cheval
Night of the Long Knives - Face to Face
A Lot of Things - Peach
Man on the Moon - Ballyhoo
Burn Out - Sipho Hotstix Mabusa
Where is the Music - Karu (and where is this album??)
Mr X - Rory Perrins (I think this is the title)
Buccaneer - McCully Workshop
Living Inside My Head - John Ireland
Shadows - eVoid
Wild Warrior - Arapaho
Savage - Rabbitt
Morning Light - Rabbitt
Tribal Fence - Margaret Singana

-- Ian

{Editor: To see other people's lists visit: }



Andrew Brel wrote:

In the course of making the 'SASBand' album last year, and requiring a flute part, we contacted Ian Anderson. His subsequent performance on the track 'Baby Youre a rich man' is quite outstanding.

Unfortunately the SASBand album is not yet released in South Africa, however you can order it on the net at
In addition to Ian on flute, other great players who appear on the album include Chris Thompson (Manfred Mann singer) Tony Hadley, Roger Taylor and John Deacon (Queen) Kiki Dee, and Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac)


Jim Collins wrote:

I was reading the latest issue of the SA
Rock Digest, when the mention of Tull caught my eye. Now I am a HUGE
Tull fan, so I checked out the link you printed. WOW! I'm going to check
out the rest of that site tommorrow. Thanks for the link! So you're a
big Tull fan too? I saw them in 78, 79 & 80. Fantastic band, one of my
all time faves. In 1980, they brought this unknown UK band to open for
them on their "A" tour. Somebody called Whitesnake or something? Had a
guy named David? singing, and a John somebody on keyboards. Drummer was
a short guy with bushy hair and oval glasses. Ian P......something.
Anyway, real good band. Don't know whatever happened to them. I think a
couple of the guys later hooked up with some guys they used to make
records with back in the 70's. Anyway, thanks for the Tull tip.

{Editor: visit for more info on Jethro Tull}



I'm quite confident in saying I'm the biggest SA music fan in the
Central African Republic!

I'm also a big Basil Coetzee fan...been collecting his music since
long before the days of CD's.....went to many live shows at Kippies,
Wits, etc.

I'd love to see the Softies come out on CD. How about it!! When will
Shifty let us have more?

David Smith
Director - Radio MINURCA
Bangui, Central African Republic

I actually have three e-mail addresses, because up here in the
Central African Republic, the infrastructure is extremely fragile, and
on any particular day at any particular time, something usually isn't



Andrew Brel wrote:

As a SA Music fan, you might be interested in Patrick Lee Thorps 'Mountain'
label - which specialises in SA music, including the fantastic work of Basil
You can find the site on


by Annette Carson

The first and only definitive biography of Jeff Beck - published in South Africa in January 1999 and available by mail order from the author. Trade paperback format,
256 pages, with a comprehensive discography.

SA price R85,00, or R100,00 including registered p&p. International orders
by surface mail US$18.00 or 13 British pounds, by airmail US$30.00 or 20
British pounds. E-mail or call (011) 883 3619.

"A fascinating and very entertaining biography" - Los Angeles (USA) Daily

"Coherent and entertaining . . . provides a musician's insight into his
technique" - Gavin (US West Coast radio station magazine).

"Crazy Fingers lives in its writer's warmly enthusiastic style, touches of
humour, and healthy balance between fact and opinion" - Record Collector (UK

Annette Carson, who is a contemporary of Jeff Beck's and worked for many
years in London's entertainment business, is well known as an author of
books on aerobatics. This foray into the world of rock guitar has been
welcomed as a thoughtful and detailed account of one of rock's most
reclusive figures, and in May 1999 reached Number 3 in the best-seller list
of London's Helter Skelter music bookshop.

A former student at the Royal College of Music, the author's aim is to
concentrate on Beck's music, guitars, and pioneering technique which has
exerted an extraordinary influence on generations of guitarists. Carson is
a recent resident of South Africa and, in between books, makes a living as
an advertising copywriter.



SA bands looking for photos of themselves for CD covers, posters, personal photo albums, etc. .....
contact freelance photo-journalist Sharon Gill.
I've been covering gigs, festivals, concerts, etc. for the past four years, and the chances are I've got photos of you in my picture library.

telephone (031) 708-4608
cell phone 082-410-4727


Famous Curtain Trick supports Bryan Adams on SA Tour.
Read a review here...


Vote for YOUR favourite SA Rock album at:

Vote for YOUR all-time favourite SA song at:

Vote for YOUR favourite McCully Workshop album at:


The online archive for the History of South African Rock

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Type "Digest Member" in brackets
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What's on in Cape Town and around South Africa

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Free musical equipment classifieds ad website

Over 100 links relating to South African music

Message Board for SA Rock


a book by Garth Chilvers and Tom Jasiukowicz,
published by TOGA Publishing in 1994.

More info at:


Chris Chapman
(031) 3036466


Makes your computer sound better if you listen to MP3's, WAV files, music samples, web radio, on-line concerts and much more.

Visit and click on QSound banner.


An extensive selection of vinyl and CDs. Big supporters of South African music.
Speak to Neil or Alan on 021-595 3220 or email Neil at:


Vinyl and second-hand CDs. Always something new.

Branches at:
Cape Town Central:
55 Castle Street (off Long Street), Cape Town

3 CHB Building (opposite the entrance to Wynberg Hospital),
Maynard Road, Wynberg

10% discount for Digest members!


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The SA Rock Digest is compiled by Brian Currin from the
"Too Good To Be Forgotten" internet message board, e-mails from
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