|1||Fugue in Du||J.S. Bach||All|
|2||Know Where we're Singing (Parody of "Road to Nowhere")||Talking Heads||All|
|4||Can't Always get what you want||Mick Jagger & Keith Richards||Terrence|
|5||Woody and Dutch on the Slow Train to Peking||Ricky Lee Jones||Jenny|
|6||Tha Thumba||A.J. Glass||Alan|
|7||The Night Paul Simon was Lost in a Glasgow Subway||Graham Weir||All|
|8||Natural Woman||Carole King||Christine|
|9||Wuthering Heights||Kate Bush||Jenny|
|11||Thumberlina||Traditional (Well almost)||All|
|12||Donald Whars yer Trewsers||Andy Stewart||(Mostly) Gaham|
|13||Och Aye||Graham Weir||Graham|
|14||King of the Road||A. Miller||All|
|15||Working Class Hero (Including "samples" of Queen's "We will Rock You")||John Lennon||Christine|
|16||Janie's Got a Gun||Aerosmith||Terence|
|18||Whole Lotta Love||Led Zeppelin||Graham|
|19||Your Children||Kalil Gibran||All|
|20||Roadhouse Blues (Not a Nathaniel number, but a stunning song with chairs)||The Doors||Jenny & Christine|
Recorded live at The Dock Road Theatre on the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, this rare tape captures the feel of a Midnight Mass gig. Although there was a bit of cabaret act to the live show, listening to the songs, you quickly realise that these guys are serious musicians. This group pushed the boundries of a capella singing to the limit with their use of sounds, words and noises. (Bet you've never heard the word "songalolo" used in a rock song before).
The line up has constantly changed over the years, but this was probably the best loved. Built around the brother and sister partnership of Graham and Christine Weir, Jenny Delenta, Alan Glass and Terence Reis all added their unique vocal talents to produce a rounded sound that generally left me awestruck every time I saw them.
Doing mostly cover versions they cover vast ground starting with Bach's "Fugue in D(u)" through the Stones' "You can't always get what you want", touching on Carole King's "Natural Woman" and Jethro Tull's "Moths" then side tracking for the nursery rhyme "Thumberlina", rocking through Zeppelin's "Whole lotta Love" and Aerosmith's "Janie's got a Gun" and even putting part of Kahlil Gibran's "The Prophet" to music in "Your Children". All of which is executed with respect to the original work, but adding to it their charm and wit.
A couple of original songs pop up with Alan's "Tha Thumba", a lighthearted attempt at making "African" music and Graham Weir's homage to his Scottish roots in "Och Aye" a strong love song with a stirring chorus. A bit of nonsense is included in the form of "The night Paul Simon was lost in a Glasgow Subway" which is really each member of the group giving Paul instructions as to how to get around the subway while maintaining thick Scots accents. Cacophanous, but rhythmic and funny.
Each member gets a chance to take lead vocals and show off their voices. Graham Weir has a great rock voice which handles the vocals well on "Whole Lotta Love" and the emotional "Och Aye". Terence Reis has a similar tenor voice and handles "You can't always get..." along with the Mick Jagger pouting and poncing actions. He also takes control of "Janie's got a Gun" and really makes it rock.
Alan Glass' baritone voice could mellow whiskey at 50 meters. He doesn't often venture to the front, usually giving the songs a richness with his background bass tones. However he gets to shine in "Georgia" the old Ray Charles classic finishing with a falsetto note so high that one would think his trousers were about 10 sizes too small.
Where Alan has the mellow baritone, Christine mirrors this in the alto department. Her super smooth delivery of "Natural Woman" ("an old Carole King number written by the old Carole King") should even bring out goosebumps on a biker's leather jacket. She also hammers out John Lennon's "Working Class Hero" with surprising venom (Queen's "We will Rock you" being cleverly woven into the song over a marching beat).
But it's Jenny Delenta who steals the show, not just because she's short and cute, but she renders a spine chillingly accurate cover of Kate Bush's classic "Wuthering Heights", at times adding more soul to the song than Kate Bush could ever manage. This became her trademark and to a degree that of the Midnight Mass.
This eclectic bunch brought a credibility to a capella that the Flying Picketts all but destroyed. Tinged with a gothic punk image they are always a joy to watch and listen to, leaving you feeling good about life. A capella can't possibly be classed as rock you may say, but listen to "Janie's got a Gun" and "Whole Lotta Love" and you will soon realise what a marvelous rock instrument the human voice can be.
John Samson from the South African Rock Digest