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In this issue:
petit cheval
lancaster band
alternative rock
robbi robb
top 20 hits
magic moments in music
in my car this week
banned on the run
take me down to Cape Town
Pop Quiz
music and memories meetings
rocky horror
photo finish


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....

154 subscribers and growing...


An album I would like to see on CD is "Workshop Revisited" from the

{Editor: yeah, me too - for more info on McCully Workshop please visit: }

Also the "Radio Rats" album "Into The Night We Slide" with the full version
of ZX DAN just flashed across my mind! Why I do not not know!

On my last visit to SA in 97 I picked up the Rabbitt greatest hits
compilation and did that bring back some memories!!!

-- Christopher Bush (UK)


I am an ex-South African living in Canada these past 26 years. I often
browse around SA sites and was intrigued by your forgotten rock site,
( )
and was especially so when I noticed a CD of Julian Laxton who, I
believe was with a group called Mel, Mel and Julian. In the late 60's,
my wife and I really enjoyed folk music and enjoyed Mel, Mel and Julian
on their visits to Durban.

I realise that the topic of your web site is rock, but was wondering
whether you knew where I could obtain copies of their album called One
More Town as well as another folk singer Des Lindberg's album called
Live. These albums are obviously long out of production (old CBS albums)
but was wondering if you knew where to get in touch with these two
musicians as they may be able to copy them.

Thanks for listening to this odd request and I look forward to your

Best Wishes
Frank Graham (Canada)

{Editor: anybody here able to help with Frank's request?}



In issue number 5, Nick asked "where is Petit Cheval?"

Well, here is Jonathan Selby's reply written especially for the
SA Rock Digest...

I left for overseas in 1987 having become disillusioned with the "big
fish in small pond" syndrome and a rather vacuous existence of sex,
drugs and not much rock n roll. Yes, I did the "existential overseas"
thing, and then came back in '88 and studied Psychology. I qualified
with honours at UCT in the Cape (where I am now based) but decided I did
not have the coping mechanisms required to be the object of peoples
negative projections from 9 to 5. I then went on to study a Post
Graduate Diploma in Human Resources Management and also did a sub-major
in Information Systems. I guess I had a yearning to gain knowledge and
discover the truth! I joined Qdata as a consultant & then went full
time into my own projects. One is a Graphic Design & Advertising Agency
"The Graphic Shop" and the other is a software development company

I have not forsaken my musical talent however. I have a fully digitised
studio setup at my home and look to complete an album this year, before
the power fades in 2000! I have done some theme music for video and
radio jingles (mostly on the regional Cape radio stations) for some of
our clients and used the experience to master my digital studio.
I am married now with a little 6 month old daughter. She is my
current muse.

The music I am busy composing for the album reflects the changes in my
life as well as the new peace presiding over me. It is of a more (or
less...) contemporary rock format but will, I trust, be challenging and
enjoyable to the listener. I released an album through Gallo some years
ago (while I was at varsity, 93 or 94 I think) under the name "Big On
Arrival" (BOA). It also features some female vocals by a talented
singer from the Cape, Jennifer Jones. It is a very eclectic bunch of
songs and reflects a rather unfocused stage in my life. However, it was
never marketed and I never had the time to promote it due to my studies
at the time. I think there are some gems on the album but I had a
limited budget (what else is new) and never had the opportunity to
produce the jewel I was looking for.

I will keep Brian informed about the album and I am happy to answer any
further questions and/or make contact with other subscribers should they
be interested. Thanks for the inquiry and look out for the Selby solo

PS: I do not know what the other band members are presently doing but
when last I heard Craig (lead guitar) returned to the states to form his
own band; Sheldon (keys) toured the states and is now back in SA with a
design studio; Johan (bass) is one of the country's top sound engineers;
and Danny has formed his own band (not sure of the name?) and until
awhile ago co-owned a nightclub in Jo'burg called "Wings".


Howard Butcher wrote:

Hello Brian, thanks for sending me a copy of the Digest, it makes
entertaining reading.

I now live and run a project studio in Knysna called Peace of Eden and
have floated an indie label called Alchemi. Nagual are an ambient trans
outfit from Cape Town who are our first release (December 1998) and they
are receiving an enthusiastic response as they are about to be nationally
released through Nebula Bos. Other projects are in the studio at the

On the personal interest front I am producing and, with a core of three
others, a multi instrumentalist in the Odd Enjineers, a non narrative
music and theatre group which is highly experimental. We play the fringe
at the Standard Bank National Arts Festival at Grahamstown this year.
A European tour with Warner and Consorten of Holland and recordings are
being discussed with sponsors for later this year or early next. Other
news is the possible reformation of Lancaster for some new recordings.
Robin, Harry and I have been talking about this more often now as a great
deal of interest seems to have sprung up in the band from as far afield
as Australia (we learnt that we sold more copies of Comic Strip Heroes
there through EMI than we did in SA).

{Editor: for more info on Comic Strip Heroes visit:
I'm still looking for a scan of the cover though!}

What of Brian Davidson? I heard he was seriously ill. Will he be involved
with Freedoms?


Howard Kenrick-Butcher


Fred wrote...

I do feel that you are leaving out a number of great alternative bands that
changed the face of local music in the late 80's and early 90's. As we all
know radio in SA has always been slow to catch on to changes in the world,
especially in the late 80's when Radio 5 had their monopoly thing going.

recorded albums without the support of radio or major record companies.
They had large followings and proved to the club owners that young bands
could pack clubs by playing only original material. This was at a time
when the hated cover band was at it's peak.

Although only 2 of these bands released full albums [Psycho Reptiles 1,
The Outsiders 2] all the other bands were featured on compilation albums.
The albums that were released got great reviews in the written press and
are still available.

Some late 80's and 90's CD's you would want to consider for your great
list of SA artists:

1.Battery 9 --Gris [1996]
2.The Outsiders--The Outsiders [1990]
3.The Outsiders--Butta Grunge [1993]
4.Sugardrive----SandManSky [1997]
5.Matthew vd Want---Turn on you [1995]
6.The Led---Last evenings dream [1997]
7.Springbok Nude Girls---Omnisofa [1998]
8.Fetish---Shade of a Ghost [1999]
9.No friends of Harry----1986-1998 Best of [1998]
10.The Psycho Reptiles---Have beans will travel [1988]

Compilations: alternative
1.In from the cold [1988] The Gathering,No friends of Harry etc.
2.The Flying Circus [1989] Psycho Reptiles,The Gathering,Helter Skelter etc.

These artists are all considered alternative and more so back in the late
80's, most of the albums are still available.
More and more great SA artists are released every year and record companies
are at last putting money into great bands.
Thanks again for your website, I am learning more and more about the bands
of the 60's and 70's.


Peter Alston wrote:

A subscriber {Nigel Walsh} recalled visiting a basement nightclub on the
Heerengracht in the 70's. From his description he seems to be referring
to the Van Donck which was actually on the top floor of the (then) Trust
Bank Building! {Ed - too much "something", Nigel?} The last place to close
in the CBD (1.00 a.m.!) it was always a remarkable accomplishment to order
last rounds at 1.00 and still be in time for the last train south at 1.20.

On making enquiries to SABC Record Library I was told exactly what
Christopher Bush was. Old records dumped/sold. I did in fact see that a
few had found their way to Renegade Music opposite (then) Edgars in town.
Interesting to see how the titles are either ticked or marked "avoid"
- obviously by the programme compiler. Albums generally in good/very
good condition (MOJO criteria).

Pete Clifford (ex-Bats) teaches guitar in Pietermaritzburg.

Clive Calder is well-known as a producer. During 1970 a song came
out by the Calders Collection called "We're building a love (day by day on
a strong foundation...paradise is our destination...)" Anyone remember it?
Is it available ? Did this group ever make anything else ? Who were


Stephan Forster wrote:

I've just found your site and it's great!!! Brought back all sorts of
happy memories!

Being an ex-SA (in UK now for 10 years), one of the things that I miss
about SA is the music scene. I grew up on many of the things mentioned in
your site - I can remember seeing Freedoms Children, Jericho, Hawk, etc at
the rock festivals in Ellis Park (I think!) during the early 70's and used
to enjoy the gigs by bands such as Morocko, Rabbitt, Ballyhoo, Stingray,
e'Void etc etc.

I released a single in 1982 called "There's Magic" c/w "Dreamer" on the
Snake Corporation label which didn't go anywhere but generated a fair
amount of airplay on Radio 5 and 702 together with some other demo tapes of
mine under the name of "Forger".

I also did quite a lot of work with Steve Linnegar, Martin Kopelowitz and
Peter Hubner - collectively "Steve Linnegar's Snakeshed" - Peter also ran
Emcee Studios in downtown Jo'burg. Did you ever see them live or hear their
albums? Great atmospheric, Prog rock!

I've lost touch with Steve and would love to get hold of him again - do you
have any pointers on what he's doing now/where he is?



Hi, my name is Andre and I'm running the (official) Robbi Robb site at

Brian asked me to write a short review of my favorite Robbi Robb album, so
here we go:

Well, it was the summer of 1991 when I watched some European cable TV
channel as I had nothing better to do with my free time. Nothing
interesting happened until this mindblowing video started that would
change my musical point of view. The band was Tribe After Tribe with their video for
"White Boys In The Jungle" from their self titled album. I saw three men
in the dark dancing around a fire. And this African sound was completely
new to me.

Call me nuts, but I was and I still am pretty sure that the sound of
Tribe After Tribe is what pure African music sounds like. Well, Tribe
After Tribe is the only band from South Africa that I know about, but I
still think this way :)

Anyway, some moments later, I found myself at the local record store
looking for albums starting with the letter "T". When I finally found this
record I went to the counter in order to listen to it. That's what I
usually do when I don't know an album. Anyway, the player started with a
ballad, "Remember". Starting with jungle sounds and screams I instantly
knew that I'd buy this album. the next number was "Build A Subway". Then
"Sally", another ballad called "Just For A While" and so further and so on.

I don't want to go into detail when describing the album. It's just a
perfect album for me having 12 songs on an extraordinary high level. The
music sounds so clear, the voice of Robbi Robb sounds so honest and
passionate that it still makes me shiver after all those years. Needless
to mention I bought the album. Now, in 1999, it's still my favorite one in
my ever-growing CD collection.

When the successor "Love Under Will" got released in 1993, I was quite
happy as you can imagine. I didn't know that the band still existed.
Many fans think that this is Robbi's best work to date. Well, I don't
share their opinions but please put in mind that it seems that it's always
the first Robbi album which becomes your favorite one. Anyway, in 1996,
Robbi released the first (the second album will hit the stores in late
April/early May '99) Three Fish CD (just a side project with Jeff Ament
[Pearl Jam] and Richard Stuverud) and in 1997 it was time for "Pearls
Before Swine", the latest Tribe After Tribe album. When I met Robbi in
Germany in August '97 when he toured with the Tribe, I met a nice and
friendly old man. We talked some minutes and then he left for dinner.

As I mentioned above I don't know any other African artists, but if they
do sound as African and honest as Tribe After Tribe does, I'd love to
learn more about your music. Tribe After Tribe definitely changed my life
and interests. I hope African artists keep their culture and don't turn to
the European or American market which is so boring after a while.

Oh, by the way, I believe that some of you went to Tribe After Tribe or
Asylum Kids concerts in the 80's when they played and recorded in SA. If
you want to contribute to my site with your experiences and memories I'd
love to get in touch with you. From what people told me it must have been
a great time to see the kids play live in tiny little clubs.

-- Andre Wilms (Germany)
The Official Robbi Robb Website



LIVING DOLL - Cliff Richard
A FOOL SUCH AS I - Elvis Presley
TIEN DUISEND MYL - Virginia Lee (SA)
STAGGER LEE - Lloyd Price
VENUS - Frankie Avalon
ONLY SIXTEEN - Craig Douglas
SIDE SADDLE - Russ Conway
DON'T YOU KNOW - Della Reese
THINK IT OVER - Mickie Most (SA, see comments below)
TIL I KISSED YOU - Everly Brothers
MACK THE KNIFE - Bobby Darin
LONELY BOY - Paul Anka
WHY - Frankie Avalon

Info from Top 40 magazine, August 1989.

(SA) means South African artist.

Mickie Most was born in England, but he recorded Think It Over in SA
whilst living here from 1959 to 1962. He returned to England and made
his name as the producer of Herman's Hermits, the Animals, Donovan, Suzi
Quatro, Jeff Beck and many others.


These are those incidents, that when remembered, send cold shivers up
and down your spine. If nothing does that to you, then you're dead.

Here's another one...

On the 21st January 1992 I was at the Boipuso Hall in Gaberone, Botswana,
to see Paul Simon. I had already seen him at Ellis Park, but the Botswana
concert was mind-blowing.

The magic moment? The third or fourth encore (and very last song) when Paul
played Sounds Of Silence accompanied only by the incredible guitar-picking
of SA's own Ray Phiri. Brilliant.

Please send in your comments...
What are your magic moments in SA music?
A song, a concert, a radio show, a guitar solo, a bass riff, a drum
pattern, an opening note, whatever...?


Deep Purple In Denmark...a tape I recorded from the video soundtrack of
Scandinavian Nights, from Copenhagen in March 1972, just a few months before
the famous Made In Japan concerts.

Please visit:
for info on Deep Purple's 1995 SA tour with Uriah Heep.

The opening band in Cape Town was the Little Rock Band featuring
Andre Fourie and Reg Edwards. I remember them playing a stonking version
of The Doors' Roadhouse Blues. Andre is a digest member so please tell
us more about this when you get a chance, Andre.

Piet Botha and Jack Hammer opened the Rand Show concerts.
Anybody got any comments on their performance there?

Jimi Hendrix - BBC Sessions...superb performances from this master
guitarist. Driving South is an incredible instrumental in the technical
style later emulated by Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, our own Mauritz Lotz
and many others.

Alida White - Pathologic Blues...this is a copy of a promo cassette
featuring the vocal talents of the late Alida White who passed away in
1992. I believe Mauritz Lotz plays on this as well. It was recorded in
1990, I think! Can anybody tell me anything more about this recording?


Des And Dawn Lindberg's "Folk On Trek" album from 1966 was banned and
has never been unbanned.

Die Naaimasjiene's Die Saai Lewe was originally banned, but is now
available with a warning sticker on it!

Rodney Currin wrote:
Don't forget poor old Jeremy Taylor (ok, not quite rock music, but SA none
the less) who, to use his words, 'wrote a lot of songs, many of which were
recorded, all of which were banned!'


More songs that mention Cape Town in their lyrics...

Des and Dawn's This Land Is My Land/The Power And The Glory

Lisa se Klavier by Koos Kombuis
(Koos was born Andre le Roux du Toit on 5 November 1954)

I saw Koos perform this song at Kirstenbosch on Sunday evening,
backed by the Valiant Swart band with Valiant himself on drums.

In the last issue, regarding Take Me Down To Cape Town, I wrote:
"Isn't this the Ballyhoo song recorded in 1982 and released on
the b-side of Don't Go Walking With My Heart? It was written by Attie
van Wyk and Mark Grey. Mark was from the UK band Exile."

Andre Bakkes replied...

Exile was a USA band Mark from Nashville Tennessee and another member
Sonny Lemaire, bass, was from Lexington Kentucky, Marlon, keyboard,
from Lexington, Steve the drummer from Kentucky and Les lead guitar

{Embarrased editor: oooops!}

Last week's question:

Byron du Plessis changed his name and joined Toto for
a brief spell in 1990. What was the new name he sang under?

First correct reply from Stephan Forster:

The answer is "Jean-Michel Byron".

By the way, I have a copy of Byron's solo CD which includes the original
of "Love Has The Power"!


This week's question:

Name SA's first all-female band (and no, its not Clout!)

The answer can be found at:

The first correct answer will win a CD kindly supplied by Derek Smith
from Gallo.



Alan Hilton of Vibes Music has suggested a get-together of Cape Town
members of the SA Rock digest. I've spoken to Robbie Woodward who says
his pub, The Royal Oak in Table View, could be used as a venue.
Anybody interested?
Replies to


If anyone is interested in a get together in UK, please let me know.

Kind regards

Stephan Forster


More here...


Chris Roper wrote:

I can't believe you liked the Rocky Horror Show.
Useless acting, tired, recycled riffs stolen from a host of bands,
and the most dodgy take on sexuality since the Mixed Marriages Act.
And don't even mention the costumes...

{Editor: Well you are entitled to your opinion, but I think you missed the
irony. Its SUPPOSED to be one big over-acted cliche!}

{Eddie-tor: I remember Science Fiction being one of the top songs of 1976
on Radio 5, and it never even charted in the US or UK - nor did the Time
Warp. S'trange, but s'true}


Thanx for caring for music, being a "air guitarist". Myself, I am an "air
drummer", maybe we could name a band AIR.
{Editor: sorry, that name's already been taken!}

Enough being corny, I am a photographer that prefers doing images of
bands and music related events. I also have a graphic design studio in
which I create posters, pamphlets, flyers, etc. for bands at much reduced
prices (can't rip the musos that's being ripped already).

I would appreciate if you could include me in your mailing list.


Arthur H. Viljoen

Next interview with Tully McCully, a report from David Marks,
Suck (again), a Japanese SA music fan and more...oh, much, much more...


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 always 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.

Want a digest like this for your company, band, radio station...?
Go to:


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

The SA Rock Files (the online archive for the History of South
African rock) is at:

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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