The South African Rock Music Digest
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Edited by Brian Currin and
Stephen "Sugar" Segerman.

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information at the end.

Established January 1999.



This e-mag is a discussion forum for rock music --
South African and International -- 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.

Contributions and comments:

In this issue:
Pop Quiz
Voting Booths
Links and ads
Back Issues



Following the release of their Second Album, 'Superhero
2000', and the highly successful single, 'Hanging Out With
Dave', Scabby Annie disappeared from the public eye for a
full year.

They return today with a brand new single, 'Done Too Much'.
A lot has changed for the Scabs since last August. They
return as a trio once again, with new Bassist, Warren, on
board. This single will also be their very first virtual
release. In conjunction with Digital Cupboard, the new
single with be exclusively available for a limited period
only as a free MP3 Download.

Listen to Barney Simon’s show this week to hear the new
song, and then check out the MP3 on
for a limited period only.

Still recognisably Scabby Annie, 'Done Too Much' is a great
pop song in the punky tradition, loads of fun, pace and
hooks. Look out for it on the Digital Cupboard and on 5 FM.

Blind Faith Promotions
082 897 8740


Simon ‘Mahlathini’ Nkabinde 1938-1999

Simon ‘Mahlathini’ Nkabinde died late on Wednesday, July 27th from complications relating to a longstanding diabetic condition. One of the seminal figures in South African music history, Simon will be sorely missed by friends, colleagues and fans throughout the world.

Simon Nkabinde was born in Newcastle in 1938, but grew up in Alexandra Township. He began his music career whilst still a teenager, leading a traditional choir that performed at township weddings and celebrations. He was introduced to the music industry in the late 1950’s through his older brother Zeph, the leader of one of the most popular pennywhistle bands of that era, and there began developing a reputation as a vocalist. After forming a close professional relationship with record producer Rupert Bopape, Simon began recording for Gallo Record Company in 1964 as part of the band of studio musicians that would later become known as ‘Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens’.

Simon’s trademark bass ‘groaning’ counterpointed by the intricate close harmonies of the Queens with instrumental backing by the influential Makone Tshole Band, became one of the most popular and influential attractions in African music in the 1960’s and 70’s. This stellar combination for many years produced hit after hit record and kept what was in reality the country’s first super-group busy touring the whole of Southern Africa to fulfill the demand for live appearances.

After disbanding in the late 1970’s, the group reformed in 1984 under the leadership of producer West Nkosi and became an attraction around the world with their hit ‘Yebo’. The highlights of their later international career as ‘Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens’ included their appearance at the Nelson Mandela Birthday Concert in the UK in 1988 and their live performance before 500 000 people in New York’s Central Park in 1991.

From The African Invasion Of Rock website
with kind permission from Greg Alberts



Woodstock: The 90's Pop Culture Experience is a three day music and lifestyle expo held over the weekend of the 24th of September, in Heidelberg Kloof, approximately 55 kilometers from Johannesburg.

(011) 646 6467/68/69/70



The Cape based four piece band The Usual are gearing to do a live
performance after the release of their latest album 'Born In A Storm'. With its serious edges, sometimes forlorn beauty and edgy pop sensibilty, 'Born In A Storm' marks the start of an adventure into musical territory. James Stewart lead-singer and principal songwriter for The Usual says about the upcoming event:

"A huge log fire, plenty of red wine, great food on order and The Usual
playing all their greatest songs. Oldies like 'The Shape That I'm In', 'In My Head' and 'Like a Vision' and material off our new album - 'Born in a Storm'."

Sound like a perfect way to spend a winter evening? Come and join us.

Date: Friday, 17 September 1999
Time: 9pm
Venue: Groot Constantia Tavern, Groot Constatia, Constantia, Cape Town
Price: R47.00 (excluding service fees)
Bookings through TicketWeb.
Telephonic: 0860 400 500
TicketWeb outlets at selected Musica stores nationwide.


Myke Ashley Cooper

Mike Fellows will present the following musicians on Monday:

Madam Freak
Tamarin Seed (Winner of our Song Competition this year)
Riaan Berger - 12 string acoustic guitar
Cathy Davy & friends playing Irish trad.

Please don't forget that we are trying to start at 8PM
so get to the River Club early to get a good seat.



Retro-rock with a 90s feel...these guys wear their influences right out in the open. Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Deep Purple, Golden Earring, Motley Crue, Zeppelin and more. Toxic Shame's original songs with searing guitar work and soaring Freddie Mercury-inspired vocals will appeal to a wide rock audience.

Universal Music (Polygram) is rumoured to be interested in signing them...

Watch this space...and remember you read about them here first!


Andrew Brel

Leo Sayer is alive and well and living in London. He has just completed his first new album in Ten years - LEO SAYER: LIVE IN LONDON. Recorded on this Summers UK 99 Tour. Includes all his best songs, performed by a fantastic band including Ronnie Johnson and Geoff Dunn (From Van Morrisons band) Leo is now on Tour In Australia, and singing better than ever. There is talk of a South African Tour, and we hope to see Leo back in one of his favourite Ports of Call before the end of the year. Those with long enough memories may recall Leo opening the Sun City Superbowl.

For more information, and audio preview of the Live Album visit:



Cape Town blues outfit The Hoodlums continue their run of Sunday
afternoon/evening gigs at Prosit Restaurant, Atlantic Road, Muizenberg, this Sunday from 17h30. In the past month, the gig has become one of the most popular in the Cape live music scene. There is no couvert charge.

The Hoodlums are Jonny Blundell and Ted Baumann (guitar and vocals), Kathy van Rensburg (vocals), Malcolm Aberdien (bass) and Rob Ogilive (drums).

Contact the venue at 788-6633,
or Ted at
Tel/fax: 021-788-2311
or cell: 082-602-4330.


In the early seventies, Bobby was lead singer and musical director of 14-piece Cape Town jazz-rock group, Kindred Spirit, and also a member of the Claude Larson Singers. He has also been a regular freelance studio singer since 1970. In 1976 & 1977 he worked as manager of Ballyhoo and The Bats. Formed rock band Free Ride in 1978 and played the club circuit. Joined The Bats as lead singer and bass player in 1979, and toured South Africa extensively.

Appeared in various T.V. shows at this time including "Good Vibrations", "Beatles Songbook", "Popshop", "The Bats Special", "Gentle on my mind", etc. Composed and sang theme song for the T.V. comedy "Oh George", and also acted in one episode. Also wrote and sang theme song for the TV game show, "Cupid".

In 1981 was lead vocalist for Rick Wakeman on his 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth', when Wakeman came to South Africa. Also sang with Peter Sarstedt on nationwide tour.

In 1983 Bobby formed the critically-acclaimed jazz vocal group Fringe Benefits with Malie Kelly, Avryl Stockley and Mike Pilot.

Bobby has worked as producer and/or arranger on albums for Billy Forrest, Gene Rockwell, Jethro Butow, Fringe Benefits, Cinema, Leon Schuster, Jonathan Butler, Clive Bruce, Ge Korsten, Dennis East and many others.

As a songwriter, he has had his compositions sung by many other artistes, such as Dennis East, Malie Kelly, Caricke Keuzenkamp, Anneli van Rooyen, Jonathan Butler, and Chrissy Jackson.

Bobby was the presenter of Telemuzik, a pop video show on TV4, and also musical director and lead singer on numerous music specials on TV4.

On the live side, he has, over the last few years, been involved in various projects:
a) a member of the duo The Dream Merchants, with Billy Forrest.
b) lead vocalist and musical director of 6-piece band Studio Tan, who performed a tribute to the music of Steely Dan.
c) lead singer for the Beat Boys, who do the music of the Beach Boys and the Beatles.
d) singer and arranger for jazz vocal group Fringe Benefits
e) lead vocalist and music arranger for 9-piece rock 'n roll band Vinnie and the Viscounts.

Bobby was also Musical Director for the highly successful "The Great Pretenders" and "Feeling Groovy" shows at the Soundstage in Midrand, and also for "The Kwai Klub" T.V. series.

Bobby Louw

I'm an ex-Capetonian, from Fish Hoek to be exact. I moved up to
Jo'burg in 1976, but used to take part in the Battle in the early seventies. I had a band called Kindred Spirit then, which started off as a 5-piece, but eventually grew to be a 14-piece playing Blood Sweat and Tears, Chicago, Zappa and some originals. Great fun! I was lucky enough to win Best Lead Vocalist in the Battle of the Bands somewhere around 1971 or '72.

I still make my living as a professional (I hope!) musician. In fact
my only "real" job was as a computer programmer for Cape Town City Council between 1970 and 1974.

I recently put together a new band called The Rock Rebels which
features a lot of old names with whom you may be familiar. On drums Kevin Kruger (ex-Dickory, Music Corporation, etc.), guitar - Alistair Coakley (ex-Hotline), keyboards - Danny Antill (ex-Stingray), bass - Denny Lalouette (ex-Theta, Razor) and lead vocalists me, Bill Flynn and P.J. Powers. They're all old friends of mine, and there's a nice mixture of good musicianship and insanity in the band! Apart from any other gigs we get, we play every Thursday at a club called "Fat Arnie's" in the Kyalami area of Jo'burg.

{Editor: speaking of Bill Flynn, visit Amuzine at
to read about Bill's prolific output at the moment}


Neil Daya

I notice that up to now there has been no mention on the Rock Digest of the CD by David's Confession, called 'About Time'. This CD is one of the few truly progressive rock CD's to come out of South Africa in the 90's. I haven't heard of the band before this CD, so I don't have any info to pass on. The CD, however, is a pleasure. I would reckon the band's influences as early Genesis, Marillion, and maybe a little bit of Yes and Pink Floyd. The production is truly professional, and the music is tight, without being so technical that listening to it is a strain. Just from reading the booklet, it appears that three of the band's members are brothers (Conrad, Andries and Phillip Botha). The fourth member (Mel Botes), on vocals and guitar, is responsible for most of the song-writing. I would hate to see this CD vanish into obscurity. It would be great if it could get some airplay, and I encourage all rock music fans to pop into a music store (preferably Vibes N1 City, of course) and take a listen to the disc.


David Marks

JOHN OAKLEY-SMITH like many of the great 'hidden years' artists, is still writing & performing - back in Zimbabwe. 3rd Ear Music are planning to re-issue of MATINEES ON SATURDAYS (Warner Bros/3rd Ear Music 1976) with John's company, RIFF-RAF MUSIC. It would be a limited edition CD-R to start with. No promises, but hopefully by Xmas.

3eM are busy cleaning up analogue (reel) tape recordings of John's amazing early 1970's concerts. There are the 'late night Video Sound sessions' that John recorded with NINO RIVERA and some wonderful (never-before-heard) performances recorded by KEITH BLUNDELL in his home-studio, as well as the 69 KEATS ROAD tapes & the Natal Folk Festival, from 1972/73/74.

We also discovered many good (but noisy) cassette desk mixes from the late 70's early 80's - Market Theatre, Chelsea Theatre, PE & Natal shows & various folk festivals. We now have the technology - but we need the time & the funds - to clean these recordings up for transfer to a digital format (CD-R). (At the end of these notes I have made some suggestions as to how we can raise funds to do all this).

John has to still hear this material & decisions will be made as to how & when they will be issued. But watch this space.

We have almost completed ROGER LUCEY - 20 YEARS DOWN THE ROAD (1979 to 1999) and as we speak, I am busy editing 'the best of' (believe that title or not) GUITARS for AFRICA.


David Marks

We are in the process of trying to raise funds - to get the Music Archive into a presentable shape & historic order - to network with other people, collectors & archives with information & material. Any information, funding links, material or interest in the Hidden Years Archive Project would be greatly appreciated.

It would be a shame if contributions to our hidden history by such great artists as John Oakley-Smith, Roger Lucey, Ian Lawrence, Victor 'Lefifi' Tladi, Colin Shamley, Spirits Rejoice, Dashiki, Mike Dickman, Abstract Truth, Batsumi & countless others were forgotten, simply because they stayed & played to face-the-music (as it were) - or because they did not co-operate with the industry of the day & make music (or recordings) that the SABC thought 'the people' wanted (or needed) to hear here. These artists attracted many people over the years to festivals, clubs, concerts & community gatherings - without the aid of the mainstream media - often having to hide from the glare of government on top of it all. That in itself makes listening to them an entertaining experience. What is it that attracted the crowds to what they sang or played & how come were they sometimes deemed 'a threat to the safety & security of the state'? Sure, the pen & the guitar may be considered by some to be mightier & louder than the sword & the gun.....but this was ridiculous.

I don't want to get too ridiculous myself, but taken further, it would be a sad slap in the face for many hundreds of thousands of South Africans if the 'security establishment' of Verwoed & Vorster were to have the last laugh. The poets & the musicians have been silenced. We won, they are screaming - rocking 'n rolling in their graves - never mind just decomposing - while listening to local radio & the IBA.

To this end, 3eM are in the process of devising a unique plan whereby individuals would be invited to invest in or fund a particular 'hidden years' artist or project - concert recording, master tape, print or audio material. We aim to issue limited edition recordings on CD & a book (or two?) over the Net. We are discussing & planning a travelling photographic, poster & live-music exhibition, a radio series (with a foreign based radio station syndicate) & possibly a TV documentary.

Please eMail 3eM if you are interested. I will send you a list of artists & material that we have in the Hidden Years Music Archives - from licensed studio masters, ready for escape, to 35 years of analogue gold, waiting for a digital outlet.

David Marks
3rd Ear Music Company
The Hidden Years Music Archive Project
Tel: (27)(31) 207-5314
Fax: (27)(31) 207-5305

{Editor: Third Ear Music celebrates 30 years in the crazy world
of local music, art, culture and entertainment this month.}



It's been a busy time, but I'd like to finally get around to saying a public "Thank You" to SA Rock Digest subscribers Bobby Louw, Chris McLaren and Leon Economides for their help in locating old friends, old pictures and really ancient recordings from the sixties -- particularly the A-Cads era.

I had no idea at the time that being an A-Cad would allow me to electronically meet such terrific people more than thirty years down the road. In fact, the way we A-Cads carried on, I thought I'd be long dead by now.

Richard Laws



PJ Powers and Ladysmith Black Mambazo's Rugby World Cup 1995 anthem
'World In Union', which topped the UK charts, has its melody based on 'Jupiter' by Gustav Holst from his acclaimed classical suite
'The Planets'.

And in 1973 a song titled 'Joybringer' and based on the same theme was
taken to the top of the UK charts by Manfred Mann's Earth Band led by
South African born Michael Leibowitz, better known as Manfred Mann...
spooky weirdness, hey?



Who composed this classic South African song which has been recorded by Hawk, Margaret Singana, Harambee and others?

Margaret's Lady Africa CD has McLaren/Ashmen/Gorman as composers while
the single release credits Ramsay Mackay. Any ideas?



Do you know of a site where you can download the titles of songs from a CD? I remember reading about a site that checks what CD is in your CD player on the computer, and saves the titles and artist info.

Any help would be appreciated.



Milestone Studios

Editor's reply:
Thousands of CDs are catalogued at the CD Database (CDDB for short).
If you play music CDs in your CD-ROM player whilst web-surfing, the full track listing will be displayed on a special CD player. I use
CDMAX and it works very well. Quick to download, easy to use and free.
Windows 98 Plus! has a Deluxe CD player which does the same thing, I believe. If a CD you have isn't in their database, you can add the info yourself, and after 2 days or so its there for everyone! I've personally added most of the Rodriguez CDs as well as some others including Jack Hammer's 'Death Of A Gypsy'.



Happy listening...



I am a German vinyl record collector desperately looking for some records from SA.

Initially starting to collect rock (e.g. Rodriguez - cold fact!)
I am drifting now more into funk. However....

The SA records I have been looking for some years are:
Memela Almon - Funky Africa (Atl'79)
ERA - Manyano (Atl)

It would be great if you could help me or if you know someone who could. I will pay good prices!

ERA might not ring your bells, but I am sure you heart about Memela Almon, the guitarist of Miriam Makeba.

Hermann Jahn



Now about Otis Waygood. I'm still trying to locate their third album, preferably on vinyl of course. The title is 'Ten Light Claps and a Scream'. I have their first two albums on vinyl, and on lovingly declicked and restored CD-R to avoid wear and tear.

I also have a website especially dedicated to the FLAMES so check it out on:

{Editor: a lovingly detailed tribute site to Durban's own "funk soul brothers"...go visit}

If you have an idea on how we can trade tapes or other stuff let me know. Also I'm very interested to buy Flames albums, especially one entitled the Best Of The Flames.

And I'm trying to find the Una Valli/Flames album called 'Soul Meeting' in Stereo. I'll part with US$100 for a really clean copy. But it must be stereo.

Any ideas?

Best wishes, from an ex-Rhody/Zim bloke.

Bas Möllenkramer



I lived in Springs in the late 70's and knew Dave Davies very well. I went to most of their gigs even before they where the Radio Rats. After returning to England I have lost touch with everyone and would love to get in touch with Dave. I tried to send an email to the address on the Rats web site but it would not send. Could you please help me.

Sheena, "the punk rocker" as the rats used to call me.

Sheena Hill



There is a deluxe reissue of the 'Silver Trees' LP around, and its very
expensive, anywhere from US$35 to US$60. I have one on order, but it hasn't arrived yet. I think that there are 300 of them. It's legality is unknown, but I suspect it is a boot. A friend also picked up a copy of a limited edition CD-R of 'Totum' with full repro cover that some folks in Japan are doing. There are probably only 100 or so of these. They are obvious boots and sound like shit.

I am doing some Abstract Truth reissue reviews, and I am trying to find
out some more about the band. Do you have any more information than is on the website. I guess I'm after a bio of some description.

Tony Dale

Abstract Truth - Silver Trees



Jacob Hay was a band that played around Joburg and had quite an extensive group of kids that followed them. The lead guitarist had a mustard colored Fender Strat. I have forgotten his name.

Any more info, anyone?

Thomas Schlytter-Henrichsen


Last week's question: Who was the drummer on the HOT RS albums?

Answer: Kevin Kruger

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Bryn Jones

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