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In this issue:

Out Of The Void
Music Source remembered
In My Car
Album of the week
USA for Africa
Garth remembers
Drive Alive!
Johnny B Goode
Top 10 and All That Jazz
I Like...John Ireland
South African Music Day
New CD from Freedoms Children!


This 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....

This digest started on the 27 January 1999 with 15
members, we are now just over 100!

We have subscribers from the USA, Australia, UK, Israel,
Sweden, Switzerland, Holland, Zambia and of course
South Africa. If you are from a country that I haven't
mentioned, please let me know.


(an extract from the liner notes for The Very Best Of Finch and Henson,
written by David Marks in 1993)

South Africans are wanting to know what happened in the great
"black out" of the 60's/70's/80's - they want to know more about
South African Music Roots, Routes and Directions.

The fact that there WAS a vibrant "underground" flow of original
South African Music throughout the 60's and 70's may have escaped many

South African songwriters just couldn't be heard above the din of an
imported top 40 in a dislocated society.

Unkike the UK or USA re-issues of popular acts, nostalgia can't play
it's rightful romantic role in South africa because very few original
songs were ever heard via the "normal" commercial music and record
channels for us to remember.

-- David Marks


Music Source was a South African music magazine that was published
in November 1995 to celebrate SA music. It unfortunately folded before
its second issue!

Leon Economides was on the editorial team of Music Source and he faxed
me a copy of the cover. Here is an extract...

"Together we'll discover and introduce the latest, the forgotten or
often dismissed good music that is available."

{Tearful editor: Why is it that a magazine with such a noble purpose
didn't make it?}


Every Sunday evening I grab some CDs and/or tapes to listen
in the car for the next week. Here's whats in at the moment...

All The Facts - own C90 compilation of Cold Fact, After
The Fact and the 3 tracks from The Best Of Rodriguez plus the live
version of Climb Up On My Music with THAT guitar solo from Willem Moller.

Karma - One Day review below.

Various Artists - Q1998: CD with January issue of Q
magazine, includes some great tracks from Gomez, Oasis, Air, Fatboy
Slim, Marilyn Manson (Dope Show, what a song!), R.E.M., Massive Attack,
James, Placebo and others.

Trip of Africa - Jorge Carlos
"Where real passion meets real percussion"...this CD is never far away
from my CD player, car or home.
Reviewed in the previous issue of this digest.

Janis Joplin - Live At Winterland '68...recently released by
SonyMusic SA. Great stuff.

Bryan Adams - On A Day Like Today...his latest album. So far so good...

Kariba...SA band playing various medleys of classic reggae songs and a
cover of The Bats Shabby Little Hut. Nice bouncy driving music.

Tell us what you are currently listening to...


Karma-Ann Swanepoel's debut solo album arrives on a wave of expectation
following the success of the previous Henry Ate album, 'Slap In The
Face'. As songwriter and vocalist for Henry Ate, Karma fulfilled her
early promise as an SA artist of great potential. The band split up
however and the newly formed Primedia Music decided to surround Karma
with a new band. They retained Henry Ate veteran Julian Sun on backing
vocals and guitar and added ex-Bright Blue and Mango Groove drummer
Peter Cohen and Brendan ou Tim on bass. Max Mikula also contributed
some subtle guitar textures and shadings to the album. Willem Moller
and Marvin Moses were asked to help Karma with the production of
'One Day Soon' and the resulting album is sure to cement Karma's
already glowing reputation.

Karma wrote all these songs and they all have a similar feel and tone
with the intricate melodies and intelligent lyrics emerging after a few
listens. As the first single, 'Dr Pepper' could have been replaced by
at least six of these songs but does its job with a light, poppy
performance. The title track opens the album with an assured and
confident "cheers" to an ex-friend. 'Indian Giver' is a slow and
emotional ballad and 'Delorise' Point' has a sassy Michelle
Shocked-type, cynical vocal and skippy beat. 'Days Like These' is a
gorgeous, accordion-backed song and 'Pachabal' is a simple melodic
tribute to this classical composer focusing on the emotional
undercurrent of unrequited love. This very ("Karma Chameleon") green
cover adorned with simple close-up shots of Karma illustrates the
understated intentions of this excellent album. Karma's songs are
uniformly interesting and evocative and the backing and production is
geared to emphasise the strength of her compositions. 'One Day Soon'
will satisfy all those Henry Ate fans and bring many more new fans into
Karma's orbit. This album is simply and succintly "Good Karma" and is
really worth buying.

-- Stephen "Sugar" Segerman

View the album cover at:

Visit Karma's website at:

Read more of Sugar reviews at Amuzine:

Anybody want to send in any reviews of current or old classic albums?
Feel free...


Yes, I'm definitely in, it's way overdue and it's agreed, news groups
really do attract some weird, offbeat morons.

-- Mike du Toit

{Frightfully normal editor: this digest also attracts the weird and
the offbeat, but definitely no morons!}


More from Leigh Barrett in the USA...

Go for it - put me on the mailing list. Should there be a good response,
and I start receiving music to play over here, I would need to keep up
to speed with what's happening in the music world in SA, as well as
stuff happening on the proverbial "grass roots" level.

If you have any decent contacts who would like to help getting SA music
played here, please let me know. KRVM is not only prepared to play SA
music on my show, but have expressed interest in playing it on the other
shows. They do (if you check out the web site), have a few specialised
shows, such as American Indian and Latino music. If there is enough of a
demand, they have even suggested the possibility of an African music

Get this message onto the mailing list if you want, and let's see the

Regards from wet and cold Oregon! (We don't put down roots here, we just
grow moss!)

-- Leigh

{Editor: Craig Bartholomew, the journalist who tracked down Rodriguez,
told me he is sending Leigh a copy of Generation EXT's version of
"I Wonder". Hear this re-make on the Dance Connexion 17 CD.}


Thanks for issue #1, I must tell you that the idea of keeping the
garbage off the site is brilliant, as it makes people find something
worthwhile to say, rather than simply mouthing off.

I have so many memories of SA music and musicians, it would probably
take another book to fill, but here are a few appetisers:
1st gig - Lance James at the Peter Pan in Greenside circa 1968.
A few months later, Jeremy Taylor and Keith Blundell at Joubert Park.

My cousin Howie Jones joined Dickie Loader's Blue Jeans - total
hero-worship. Seeing Buzzard (Cedric Samson on drums, Larry Friedman on
guitar) blow off at the Johannesburg Pop Festival followed by
Freedom's Children later. Going to see American group Chase at the
Coliseum, and being questioned by security staff for smuggling a
cassette recorder in!! Witnessed probably the best live gig that night
I have ever seen - remember their guitarist Angel South doing a solo
using a violin bow. Remember crying when most of the band got killed
in a plane crash a few months later.

Went one afternoon to Audio Arts, introduced to Hedgehoppers Anonymous
who had come out from England and were recording. Played the drums and
got some tips from Bill Honeyman, then sang backing vocals with Brian
Gibson on Song for Pete. It was later released on their album.
Got pally with Neville Mann from the Staccatos, saw them live one
Saturday afternoon at Benmore Shopping centre, till the police closed
the gig because it was being heard up to 5km away!!
Witnessed the first practice of RUBBABAND at someone's garage in
Sandown, recall Kenny Saint, Neville Mann, Calvin Malherbe and Frances
Alder - they became The Julian Laxton Band.

Seeing Cliff Richard in 1974 at His Majesty's, later that year RABBITT,
Jimmy Smith on the Hammond, Bill Haley and the Comets - still kicking
up a storm.

Wits University hosted a number of local groups, one of the best
undoubtedly MALOMBO featuring Gabriel Thobejane, but also COLLISON
MACBRIAN, with Kenny Henson, Brian Finch, RAMSAY and the hugely
talented Colin Pratley who made most drummer/percussionists look
positively lame. They were supported by Johnny and Sipho (two guesses).
Free People's Concerts were promoted by Dave Marks (who else but 3rd
EAR), and it was a total rave. Barclay James Harvest played Wits Great
Hall, unplugged, refused to play Lord of the Ages. {Editor: maybe
because its a Magna Carta song!}

SAKHILE at Le Chaim in Hillbrow, Safro-jazz at it's very best,
afterwards we bought peri-peri chicken at Fontana. That was the life.
Baxtop at the Chelsea, Tim and the boys deadly - boogie all nite long.

Yup - SA rock is still as good as it gets, even the new crop on the
scene are doing great.

So, keep up the good work and hope this site grows and grows.

-- Garth Chilvers

{Informative editor: Garth and Tom Jasiukowicz wrote the History Of
Contemporary Music of South Africa, published by TOGA Publishing in
1994. Order this book by sending }


Sugardrive...if you really dig the new album you should try to see them
live. To truly experience the greatness of the band they have to be
on stage, they are in essence a live band. I bought the first album
after hearing their stuff on the radio. My first South african CD,
this was possibly the best buy I have ever had because it opened me up
to other S.A. bands like the Nude Girls and Battery 9. Go and watch
someone like Koos Kombuis do a blues set or do the Fetish/the LED thing.

-- Craig Gibbs


Is there a CD of "Johnny Mair" available? (I used to play in a
band with him!)

-- David Green

{Inquisitive editor: tell us more David!}


Thought I'd drop you my favourite SA rock/pop(?) tracks as of now
(probably out of date because of my 10-year absence from the country).

1. Mannenberg is Where it's Happening ­ Dollar Brand
2. Tugela Rail ­ Darius Brubeck (if anyone knows where I can get this,
album, tape or CD, please let me know)
3. Prayer for Civilization ­ Kalahari Surfers
4. Snor City ­ Bernoldus Niemand
5. Zen Surfing in the Third World ­ Robin Auld
6. Spies ­ Joe Azania and the Chameleons
7. Johnny Cool ­ Illegal Gathering (James Phillips)
8. Hard Hat Jive ­ Tananas
9. Rock & Roll ­ Koos Kombuis
10.Window on the World ­ Bright Blue

Any interest on the Digest for people remembering the first
album/single they bought, and why? I can vividly remember the first
four albums I spent my own, hard-saved boarding school pocket money ­
Traffic's eponymously titled second album; Jethro Tull's Stand Up;
Bowie's 'Hunky Dory' and Shawn Phillips' 'Second Contribution'.

First single was, dare I say it, Jeremy Taylor's 'Ag Pleez Deddy'.

-- Nigel Walsh (from the UK)

{Extremely embarrassed editor: my first single was Barbara Ray's "I Don't
Wanna Play House"!! I think I bought it to impress some chick. My next
purchase was "I'm Just A Singer In A Rock And Roll Band" by the Moody
Blues. Redemption!}


Could you please help - we are looking for a cassette/LP in good
condition of John Ireland's first(?) album "I Like". We do have
"Just Desserts" on LP.

-- Elizabeth

{Real Names R Us: John Ireland's real name is John Griffith and he
went to Boksburg High School in the 70s. So did Rafe Lavine, I believe
...and me too!}

- SATURDAY, 27 MARCH 1999 -

South African music is loved at home and abroad, and South African
Music Day on Saturday, 27 March 1999 is the day South Africans can
celebrate and learn more about our rich and diverse musical heritage.
This day is a unique opportunity to impact on all in the music industry
and boost sales and exposure of South African music to the public.
South African Music Day is the result of a joint effort between the
National Arts Council and the Music Industry Development Initiative
Trust (MIDI).

On 27 March South Africans will have an opportunity to support local
music by listening to, reading about or buying local music. Radio and
television will increase their local music content. The press will
cover issues and profile players in the music industry. Music
retailers will promote local releases.

President Nelson Mandela emphasised the importance of this day when he
endorsed South African Music Day by saying, "South African Music Day
is central to the process of building pride in South Africa."

Other South African Music Day events include South Africans getting the
chance to hear and see some of their favourite local acts live at
venues across the country. Engineers and studios will donate free time
to enable 30 unrecorded artists to get their start in the music industry
by recording a demo.

In addition to celebrating all the beautiful and varied sounds of South
Africa, South African Music Day will answer questions South Africans
ask about the music world - What and where are the origins of South
African music?; What's the present status of the music industry, and
what mechanisms are needed to keep it going?; What role does music
play in South Africa's economy cultural heritage and everyday lives?
And, what does the future hold in store?

One of the aims of South African Music Day is to build links between
various stakeholders within South Africa's cultural industries. South
African Music Day has the support of major music industry and media
players and artists.

The National Arts Council (NAC), the South African Music Rights
Organisation (SAMRO), the Arts and Culture Trust of the President (ACT),
Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), the Association of the South
African Music Industry (ASAMI) and record companies have pledged their
support for this project, as well as many of our South African

Turn It On and Face The Music on Saturday, 27 March.

Whatever South African musical flavour you're into - be it Kwaito,
Classical, Mbaqanga, Traditional, Country, Jazz, R&B, Traditional
Reggae, Gospel, Rock, and much, much more, you'll get to hear it all on
South African Music Day. As Brigitte Mabandla, Deputy Minister of Arts,
Culture, Science and Technology, said, "Music is the symbol of a vibrant
and creative nation. At last we have a South African Music Day."

-- Kim Saville

OR contact MIDI Trust on (011) 482 7037


Derek Smith from Gallo tells me that Ramsay MacKay is living in
Scotland, but visits SA every now and then to put the finishing
touches on a brand-new Freedoms Children album that is due for
release in May this year. Watch this space for details.


Back to Index
The SA Rock Digest is compiled by Brian "Vagabond" Currin from the
"Too Good To Be Forgotten" internet message board, e-mails from
various Digest members and other varied sources.

The opinions expressed here are not necessarily echoed by myself, but I
try to keep an open mind. (After growing up in SA in the 70s and
spending 5 years in the Army, that's not so easy!)

For the basic rules of the Digest please visit:
or I can e-mail them to you.

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Want to know more about me, my websites and my love for music?
Go to:

Want up-to-date news, reviews and interviews on South African and
international music, with a healthy dose of humour?
Visit Sugar's Amuzine site at:

Visit the Indie Music Explosion website at:

Are you are a SA musician looking for info or resources?
Visit Gareth's excellent website.

Try SonicNet's music guide for info on international artists at:


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