South African Music History: 4 For Africa, a 12″ EP released in 1985

4 For Africa

A 12″ EP released in South Africa in 1985 by EMI. Catalogue number: EMI, 12EMIL(C) 11236


  1. Via Afrika – Vice In Bombay
  2. Tribe After Tribe – As I Went Out One Morning (Damsel)
  3. Ella Mental – 30 Million Lonely People
  4. Angie Peach – I Come Undone
4 For Africa, back cover | Discogs

Thanks to Leon Rossouw for the cover and videos.


photo: Doug Seymour Photography

Rodriguez’s family in Detroit have asked us at Sugar Music / to let everyone know that Rodriguez is well and on the mend after being operated on, following the stroke that he had in February. The surgery to repair the damage caused by the stroke was successful, and Rodriguez is feeling strong, and, following the physical therapy that he is currently undergoing, as part of his post-op rehab, his family are hopeful that he will be returning home soon to continue and complete his healing process.

Rodriguez, who will be turning 81 in July, is strong and in good spirits and his family have asked all his South African fans, as well as all his fans around the world, to keep Rodriguez in their thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.

His family have also told us that it will be wonderful if all his fans could post their well wishes, as well as their messages of love, support, and encouragement which they will pass on to him and which will be a source of great inspiration and positive motivation to him at a time when that is essential as a part of his recovery.

On behalf of all of us at, we join all Rodriguez’s followers and fans around the world in wishing Rodriguez a full and complete recovery and in sending all our love and best wishes and support to Rodriguez’s Family.

We will continue to update everyone on Rodriguez’s recovery….

Please post your messages on the Facebook Page.

South African Music History: Bright Blue’s Weeping

Weeping by Bright Blue

This is the original uncensored music video for Bright Blue’s seminal South African song ‘Weeping’. It was filmed by Nic Hofmeyr on the Cape Flats in the late nineteen eighties, during the State of Emergency. Catch the ‘Nkosi Sikelela’ bridge, snuck onto SABC airwaves despite the anthem’s banning, and look out for the late Basil ‘Manenberg’ Coetzee on sax, filmed in Manenberg township! The song has been covered by Josh Grobin, Vusi Mahlasela and others.

Nic Hofmeyr


I knew a man who lived in fear
it was huge it was angry
it was drawing near
Behind his house a secret place
was the shadow of the demon
he could never face.

He built a wall of steel and flame
and men with guns to keep it tame
Then standing back he made it plain
that the nightmare would never ever rise again
But the fear and the fire and the guns remain.

It doesn’t matter now it’s over anyhow
He tells the world that it’s sleeping
But as the night came round I heard
it slowly sound
it wasn’t roaring it was weeping
it wasn’t roaring it was weeping.

SAX SOLO – Basil Coetzee

And then one day the neighbours came
they were curious to know about the smoke and flame
They stood around outside the wall
but of course there was nothing to be heard at all
“My friends”, he said, “we’ve reached our goal
the threat is under firm control
As long as peace and order reign
I’ll be damned if I can see a reason to explain
Why the fear and the fire and the guns remain”.

It doesn’t matter now it’s over anyhow
He tells the world that it’s sleeping
But as the night came round I heard
it slowly sound
it wasn’t roaring it was weeping
it wasn’t roaring it was weeping.


It doesn’t matter now it’s over anyhow
He tells the world that it’s sleeping
But as the night came round I heard
it slowly sound
it wasn’t roaring it was weeping
it wasn’t roaring it was weeping.

Composed by: Heymann/ Fox/ Cohen/ Cohen

Recorded and released by Bright Blue in 1987. One of South Africa’s greatest songs… includes instrumental references to ‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica’.


New Video, Take Me Down from Steve Louw, launched today!

Steve Louw – Take Me Down

The official video for “Take Me Down”, created by Jacqui Van Staden and Kian Eriksen.

Written by Steve Louw.

From the album “Thunder And Rain“, released 11 November 2022.

Produced by Kevin Shirley.

Stream/download “Thunder And Rain” album:


by Steve Louw

A 1964 Epiphone Casino guitar gave me the gift of this song. The intro riff played high on the neck, sounding ‘Beatlesque’, led me to the chord changes and chorus.

A song of endings and beginning of solace in solitude, of joy in the future, of hope, resilience, and anticipation for the future.


Five in the morning
I’m out of my head
I can hear voices calling
People I thought were dead
And it’s alright, you know
When you’re down on your knees
I can see the light
Coming up on the trees.

Take me down, down, down
Down to the ground
You got to count me down
Count me down, but don’t count me out
Count me down to the ground.

Hey, I got to say, it’s gonna be OK
Hey, I got to say, it’s gonna be OK.

One more piece to make a picture
‘Til you can say yes
I think you know the one
I’m sure you can guess
Yeah, the love you feel
That’s been laid at your gate
Oh, you know, you know it’s real
You can feel the weight.

You gotta take me down, down, down
Take me down to the ground, yeah, yeah
Count me down, count me down, yeah
Don’t count me out, down, down.

I said hey, I want to say hey
It’s gonna be OK, it’s gonna be OK
I got to say, it’s gonna be OK
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Oh yeah, yeah.

‘Cause I’ll take the hours
I’m watching the trees
Or the flowers
Around the bees
Or that picture, anything I please
It’s alright, it’s OK, ‘cause I’m gonna be
I’m, I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be free, yeah, yeah.

You got to take me down, down, down
You can take me down, down, down not out
Just count me down, down, down to the ground
Take me down, take me rolling round.

I said hey, I got to say
It’s gonna be OK
I got to say, you gonna be OK
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
You can hear it now, it’s gonna be
You got to be, yeah free, oh yeah
Gonna be, gonna be, gonna be
You gonna be, yeah, yeah, free
I got to say, it’s gonna be OK
I got to say, gonna be OK
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Falling Mirror: First Demo Session 1978, released 2nd February 2023

Nielen and Allan’s original collection of songs which would go on to appear on their iconic albums Zen Boulders (1979), The Storming of the Loft (1980), and Fantasy Kid (1981).


Released February 2, 2023

Lyrics and vocals by Nielen Mirror
Guitars and piano by Allan Faull
Recorded and Produced by Tully McCully
At Spaced-Out Sound Studios, Cape Town

Unreleased and previously unavailable material from the iconic South African Alternative band, Falling Mirror.

In memory of Allan Faull and Pat Humphreys.

Proceeds go to Nielen Mirror.

For the Falling Mirror fans: I found a rare quarter inch tape, buried in my storage area, with the first demos Allan and Nielen did before recording their debut album. Very interesting to listen to 45 years later. It’s available on Bandcamp where you can name your price if you are feeling generous. All money will go to support Nielen and your support is greatly appreciated.

I will be posting some more rarities in the future so please follow and share the Bandcamp page

Tully McCully, February 2023

SA Rock Digest Issue Number 1 went out on this day 24 years ago.

The first issue of the SA Rock Digest went out on the 27th January 1999 to 15 subscribers in a plain text email.

It grew out of conversation in 1998 between Brian Currin and Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, who had both been involved in the amazing Rodriguez story.

“What do we do now?”.

“How about remembering South Africa’s Legends of Rock?”.

So we did.

In this issue:

Memories are made of this
Freedoms Children
Where’s my Tuxx?
Lost drummer?
Info wanted
The Hidden Years
Japanese pressings of SA Rock Classics?!?
The A-Cads, anyone?
Top Ten favourite SA rock songs




This is a discussion forum for anything about
South African rock music; past, present and future.

Read it, digest it, enjoy it, add your comments and tell your



I am a South African who was a teenager in the early 70’s
and remember going to Ciro’s in Jhb to see bands like Clout
and Ballyhoo by train, as I was not old enough to drive (or
drink for that matter). I currently live in California and met
up with an old friend and started reminiscing about the good
old days in SA and started remembering all those great bands
that unfortunately never gained the recognition they deserved.

Memories of Saturday morning concerts at the Coliseum, as well
as the Ellis Park and later Free People Concerts came flooding

— Craig B

I am glad I survived the 70’s and 80’s. Anybody that used to
go to the Canterbury Inn, Stealers, Hout Bay Hotel, Mowbray
Hotel, Beverly Hills Hotel and 1886 will know what I mean.
South Africa had some good bands and I am glad I had the
opportunity to experience most of them first hand.

— Piet Obermeyer

{Brian “nostalgia rules” Currin: I was in the army at Youngsfield
in CT in the late 70s and remember seeing McCully Workshop at the
Canterbury Inn, Charles G and John T at Stealers, Baxtop at the
Chelsea, Joe Parker at the Century Hotel, Omega Ltd at the Clifton,
Ballyhoo at the Rotunda, oh the memories….}

You may recall the great Israeli band, Jericho? I had a
wonderful opportunity to see them rehearsing with Hawk in the
Sandown Town Hall in 1971. The following day, they both
featured in an open-air concert with the likes of Freedom’s
Children, Razamatazz and a whole bunch of great bands.
Those were the days, my friend…..! By the way, both Jericho
albums have been available on CD (Repertoire) for about five

And the days at the Branch Office restaurant in Jeppe Street,
Jhb? Duncan MacKay was the greatest thing since multi-speed
vibrators – SA’s answer to Rick Wakeman, Lee Michaels and
Rick van der Linden!

— Leon Economides

TIDAL WAVE are remembered primarily for the vastly and
incomprehensibly over-rated “Spider Spider” and the indifferent
“Mango Mango”. The B-side to “Spider” was infinitely better
(“Man on a String”) but their best ever (again in my humble view)
was “WITH TEARS IN MY EYES” which was vaguely popular in
late 1969 (pre-“Spider”) but which is extremely hard to find;
frustrating for me as it is well within my personal top 40.

In Kimberley in 1971 Tidal Wave and Otis Waygood appeared as a
double bill. Probably the second best concert I’ve attended.
(The best was undoubtedly Barclay James Harvest who were less
remarkable after the departure of Woolly Wolstenholme).

Tidal Wave – in concert – were asked to do “TEARS” but declined,
saying acoustics not right and a full orchestra needed to do it
justice. Oh, I think they had members who hailed from (the then)

— Peter Alston

I have lived in California since 1990 and have explored other business
ventures but over the last few years developed a keen interest in Rock
and Roll collectibles and memorabilia. I’ve also been having flashbacks
to my teens and have wonderful memories of the South African music
scene in the 70’s and early 80’s.

Thanks again for you excellent sites and if you or anyone else you
know ever needs help locating music gear or related items I would
gladly do research or send info (I know how expensive equipment is
in SA)

— Craig Ballen




(Freedoms Children) is perhaps most closely associated with the ASTRA
album (1970/1). Less frequently encountered or spoken of is its
predecessor KAFKAESQUE which includes such marvellous numbers (apart
from the title track) as “Mrs Browning” and their best ever – in my
humble view – “Eclipse”. Another song of merit was the appropriately
(for now) titled “1999” which the lead singer tried to revive last year
apparently without much success.

— Peter Alston

{Brian “detail nut and trivia freak” Currin: Kafkaesque (the album) was
actually titled “Battle Hymn Of The Broken-Hearted Horde” and was
released in 1968. “1999” comes from the “Galactic Vibes” album in 1972.}

Read more about these albums at:

Battle Hymn (including sleeve notes)

Galactic Vibes

Astra (including cover scan)



I’m interested in finding out what happend to the black guy
in Just Jinger. His name was Tuxx and I think he played bass,
it was supposed to be the beginning of inter-racial rock but
as soon as JJ got popular the guy just disappeared and there
has been no trace of him since, there has been rumours of him
disappearing to Zimbabwe and also rumours of him and cocaine.

— Craig Gibbs

{Brian “Just Jinger fan” Currin: Pri$m (a Digest member) has
a great Just Jinger site at: }



…does anybody happen to know anything about a drummer called
Tony Awin? He was a South African-born drummer who moved to the
UK in the early 70’s and featured with a power rock trio called
Incredible Hog. They released a single excellent album, also
available on CD, called “Volume 1”, and split in 1973. They did
write enough material for a second album, but this never materialised.

I’ve subsequently heard that an unknown German label managed to get
hold of these “lost tapes” and is in the process of putting together
a CD of this material. I’d really like to get a chance to interview
Tony about these “lost tapes” as well as about the band, so if
anybody can help, I’d be extremely grateful.

— Leon Economides

{Brian “prog-rock” Currin: listen to Leon and Phil Wright on Dinosaur
Days on 5FM, Sunday nights from 11.30pm, great stuff!}



The year: Hmm about 1985 somewhere
The song: I want to fly in a 747
Name of the album: ?????

Lead Guitar: Andre Meyer

Song was played on the Martin Bailie show a lot on Radio 5.
I think he might have even had a hand in putting the album together.

I HAD this LP – but when I left South Africa it stayed behind.
Does anybody know if there is a CD version of this album and if
I can purchase it online?

I have tried One World already – its not on there.

Thanks for any help.

— Nico

{SA’s premier on-line CD store: }


(extract from long posting on message board)

The irony is that if we do not [remember the music], the apartheid
security establishment would have had the last laugh! Their aim –
to prevent us from listening to ourselves – would have been achieved.

— David Marks, Third Ear Music’s Hidden Years Project

{Brian “Zappa fan” Currin: Great comment Dave! I remember receiving
lectures in the army on the evils of playing records backwards (!)
and how corrupt Zappa was, etc, etc…}


(extract from posting on message board)

…Suck, Abstract Truth’s Totem, Duncan MacKay’s Chimera,
Otis Waygood’s Ten Light Claps and another great SA hard
rocking band, Wildebeest, with their Bushrock Live album,
have all been released in Japan on a label called Never
Never Land, supposedly taken from the Pink Fairies album
of the same name! These discs have obviously been mastered
from vinyl, but they are of very good quality and the sleeves
have been very professionally reproduced in a unique “mini LP”
format, very different to a normal CD.

— Leon Economides



What about the A-Cads, circa 1965? I may be biased (I was the
guitar player), but they were considered to be an exceptionally
heavy-duty band at the time.

— Richard Laws

Not many people realise that the A-CADS were a SA group. They had
a one-hit wonder with “Hungry for Love”. Before that I believe
they provided backing vocals to another outfit, whose name escapes me.

— Peter Alston

{Brian “hungry for love” Currin: Dick Laws, the guitarist, backed Tommy Roe
on his 1969 SA tour.}



Here is a list of my favourite SA rock songs, as of this moment!
(in alphabetical order):

1. Cape Axe – Jorge Carlos
2. Eclipse – Freedoms Children
3. Goeie Nag Generaal – Piet Botha
4. Making Out With Granny – Falling Mirror
5. Sarajevo – Jack Hammer
6. Sex – Pressure Cookies (featuring Willem Moller)
7. So Cold – Hotline
8. Sugar Man – Just Jinger
9. The Thin Red Line – Julian Laxton
10.Who Killed Kurt Cobain – Koos Kombuis

Subject to change without notice.

Send me your lists and I’ll post them here.

The “rock” genre is wide-open, so don’t get bogged down too much –
if you like a song, say so…

My favourite POP song list is of course, very different to this list.

Coming soon: The South African Rock List site – watch this space for


The SA Rock Digest is compiled by Brian “Vagabond” Currin from the
“Too Good To Be Forgotten” internet message board and e-mails from
various Digest members.

Any suggestions on format or content will be gratefully received, but
may be ignored. 8)

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

Post a message on the “Too Good To Be Forgotten” message board 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:

Want to unsubscribe from this e-mag?
I hope not, but if you really must, then just send me an e-mail,
saying “I’m bored” or “get my out of here” or “I’ve had enough”
or whatever, I’ll get the idea, eventually.



If we had had Spotify back then, we would have included a playlist something like this:

Ramsay MacKay – The Suburbs Of Ur (1982)


  1. St Judas
  2. It’s The Fashion (It’s The Most)
  3. Tarzan And The Humans
  4. The Witchdoctor Of Hillbrow
  5. I Like The Rebel
  6. Goodbye To The Islands
  7. Eyes Of Zimbabwe
  8. Crocodile Chant
  9. Benny The Side Car Man
  10. Silent Water
  11. Mumbo Jumbo
  12. The Blind Boys Of The Mist
Ramsay MacKay – The Suburbs Of Ur


  • Ramsay Mackay: Vocals, electric, bass and acoustic guitars
  • Dave Tarr: Violin, dulcimer, tenor and alto sax, acoustic guitar, penny whistle, harmony vocals and viola
  • George Spencer: Drums
  • Colin Pratley: Drums
  • Ronnie Robot: Bass Guitar on “Saint Judas” and “I Like The Rebel”
  • Trevor Rabin: Lead Guitar on “Mumbo Jumbo”
  • Brian Davidson: Voice at end of “Mumbo Jumbo”
  • Silver Creek Band: Backing vocals on “Silent Water”

Engineers – Tony Manuel, Graham Handley, Hennie Hartman, Julian Laxton and Greg Cutler

All songs written by Ramsay Mackay

Produced by Ramsay Mackay

Release information

1982, Principal, PRC 005


Thanks to Andrew King for info.

“Silent Water” (with “Saint Judas” on the b-side) was originally released as a single in 1978.

“I Like The Rebel” was released on the b-side of the single “Strange Light” in 1980, and credited to Ramsay MacKay and the Bushveld Pygmies.

“Mumbo Jumbo” was originally recorded by Hawk and released on “Live And Well” in 1974.

“Silent Water” was covered by Brian Finch on his “Living For Yesterday” album in 2014.

Brian Finch – Silent Water

Read more at The South African Rock Encyclopedia

“Searching For Sugar Man” coming to Netflix this Friday!

Searching For Sugar Man
Searching For Sugar Man
Searching For Sugar Man
Searching For Sugar Man

Searching For Sugar Man is a 2012 documentary film about a South African cultural phenomenon, written and directed by Malik Bendjelloul, which details the efforts in the late 1990s of two Cape Town fans, Stephen “Sugar” Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom, to find out whether the rumoured death of American musician Sixto Rodriguez was true and, if not, to discover what had become of him. Rodriguez’s music, which had never achieved success in the United States, had become very popular in South Africa, although little was known about him in that country. On 10 February 2013, the film won the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary at the 66th British Academy Film Awards in London and two weeks later, it won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood.

Searching For Sugar Man

Set your reminder on Netflix now!


Margaret Singana – Lady Africa


  1. I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) (1977) A cover of John Russell’s “I Never Loved A Woman The Way I Love You” from 1976. It is not the Aretha Franklin song from 1967.
  2. Light Up The Light (1973)
  3. Stand By Your Man (1975) Tammy Wynette cover
  4. Where Is The Love (1975)
  5. Tribal Fence (1977) originally by Freedoms Children in 1970, also recorded by Rabbitt featuring Margaret as guest vocalist
  6. Have You Ever Seen The Rain? (1976) Creedence Clearwater Revival cover
  7. Love Is The Power (1974)
  8. I Feel So Strong (1974) not the Hotline & Steve Kekana song from 1982
  9. Mama Tembu’s Wedding (1973) from The Warrior
  10. We Are Growing (1986) with Julian Laxton, from the Shaka Zulu TV series; reached number 1 in The Netherlands in 1989
  11. Orang Outang (1977) originally by Hawk in 1972
  12. Johannesburg (1977) originally by Julian Laxton in 1976
  13. Help! (1974) The Beatles song, also covered by Hotline in 1982
  14. Many Rivers To Cross (1976) Jimmy Cliff cover
  15. Gimme Your Love (1973)
  16. Why Did You Do It (1977) Stretch cover
  17. When Will I Be Loved (1976) The Everly Brothers cover. Also a big hit for Linda Ronstadt
  18. Stop The Rain (1974)
  19. My Name Is Margaret (1978) a cover of Billy Lawrence’s “Playground In My Mind (Mama Je’Taime)” from 1971, and “Playground In My Mind” by Clint Holmes in 1973.
  20. Love Will Find A Way (1975)

Release information

1996, Gallo, CDRED 603 J


A powerful compilation from the soulful voice of Margaret Singana. Different to the 1973 album with the same title. Margaret has covered a number of classic South African rock tracks, including Freedoms Children’s ‘Tribal Fence’, The Julian Laxton Band’s ‘Johannesburg’ and Hawk’s ‘Orang Outang’.

She is probably most famous for ‘Mama Tembu’s Wedding’ from ‘Ipi ‘N Tombia’ and also the brilliant theme song from the Shaka Zulu TV series, ‘We Are Growing’. This song went to number 1 in The Netherlands in 1989.

Patric van Blerk wrote a few songs for her and also produced most of her albums. Trevor Rabin makes an appearance on some of her songs as well.

There are also some very strong soul songs on this CD including ‘I Never Loved A Man’ (sounds nothing like the Aretha Franklin song with the same title, actually a cover of John Russell’s ‘I Never Loved A Woman’), Jimmy Cliff’s ‘Many Rivers To Cross’ and Tammy Wynette’s ‘Stand Up Like A Man’ (done in a reggae-style).

So if you enjoy strong female vocals with a touch of rock, a bit of Africa and a lot of soul, then ‘Lady Africa’ is for you.

Brian Currin

Read more at The South African Rock Encyclopedia

Hawk – Africa She Too Can Cry

This classic album been released at least 4 times with different track listings. It was first released in 1972 in South Africa. It was then released in 1973 in Europe with a slightly different track list and credited to Jo’Burg Hawk. In 1998 an unofficial CD was released by the Never Never Land label in Japan with a different cover and track list. In January 2004 Retrofresh released a CD of the European version with bonus tracks.

The album cover was a gatefold with the image actually sideways. It is shown here in the “wrong” position for better effect. Cover painting was by B. Funnêll. The European album release has the same cover, but “Hawk” is replaced with “Jo’Burg Hawk”.


  1. Africa (Ornellas) [2.48]
  2. Dark Side Of The Moon (R Mackay) [2.54]
  3. Predictions (Kahn/Ornellas) [5.15]
  4. The Rolling Of The Bones (R Mackay) [2.40]
  5. Elegy For Eden (R Mackay) [2.34]
  6. War Talk (Kahn/Ornellas) [2.39]
  7. My Spear (R Mackay) [2.01]
  8. This Elephant Must Die (R Mackay) [3.00]
  9. The Return (Kahn) [2.41]
  10. White Bird Of Peace (Kahn/Ornellas) [3.28]
  11. Uvuyo (D Ornellas/M Kahn/R Mackay) [3.11] listed as Jabula on inside sleeve
Hawk – Africa She Too Can Cry
Hawk – Africa She Too Can Cry


  • Dave Ornellas: Vocals
  • Mark “Spook” Kahn: Guitar
  • Braam Malherbe: Drums
  • Les “Jet” Goode: Bass
  • Julian “Ipi” Laxton: Guitar
  • Ivor Back: Drums
  • Alfred “Ali” Lerfelo: African drums, vocals
  • Billy “Knight” Mashigo: Percussion, vocals
  • Audrey Motaung: Vocals, percussion
  • Pete Kubheka: Vocals, percussion

Read more at the South African Rock Encyclopedia

June Dyer – South Africa’s first female rock vocalist

June Dyer was born in Durban on 19 June 1942. She was not deterred by the fact that she was almost totally deaf from the age of 10, and mastered lip reading and getting the music beat by holding the piano or bass. June won several talent competitions and eventually caught the eye of talent scout, Alan Marshall. She passed away 14 January 2011.

Tertius Louw
June Dyer

Read more at The South African Rock Encyclopedia

Abstract Truth – Totum


  1. Jersey Thursday [3:47]
  2. Coming Home Babe [6:32]
  3. Oxford Town
  4. Fat Angel / Work Song [10:16]
  5. Summertime [5:40]
  6. Scarborough Fair [3:44]
  7. Parchman Farm / Moaning [2:57]
  8. Ain’t Necessarily So / Take Five [10:02]
  9. Total Totum (Acid Raga) [5:10]
Abstract Truth – Totum

“Ain’t Necessarily So / Take Five” not available on Spotify.


  • Ken E Henson: guitar, sitar, vocals
  • Robbie Pavid: percussion
  • Brian Gibson: bass, vocals
  • Sean Bergin: sax, flute

Release information

LP: 1970, Uptight, STIC 101
CD: 2005, Mason Records, MR 56409 (unofficial release, included all tracks from Silver Trees as bonus tracks, except for “All The Same”)
CD: 2005, RetroFresh, freshcd146 (omitted “Ain’t Necessarily So / Take Five”, included all tracks from Silver Trees)
LP & CD: 2009, Shadoks (Germany), SHADOKS 111

The album ‘Totum’ was recorded in Johannesburg over a single weekend using a 4-track machine. The album was released in early 1970. “According to today’s standards it’s pretty rough,” says Henson, “but I guess it was an honest interpretation of what we were doing.”

In a newspaper review reporter Carl Coleman had this say about the release of Abstract Truth’s debut album: “Sean, Brian, Robbie and Ken have lifted South African pop from the syrupy blare of bubblegum music to new heights of progressive pop. What an achievement!”

The Freak Emporium online store had this brief review of ‘Totum’ on their website: “Excellent early ’70s melodic wistful freak rock blends with African sounds featuring assorted instruments: keyboards, flutes, electric guitars, saxophone, percussion, etc. A refreshing approach.”

Most of ‘Totum’ consists of unusual reworkings of jazz, folk and blues songs. The only band composition is the sitar-drenched ‘Total Totum/Acid Raga’. Donovan, Dylan, Gershwin, Simon and Garfunkel and others all get given the special Abstract Truth treatment that is reminiscent of early King Crimson in places.

Brian Currin

Read more at The South African Rock Encyclopedia

Freedoms Children – Galactic Vibes


  1. Sea Horse (Laxton/Davidson) [4.13]
  2. The Homecoming (MacKay) [15.55] live version including drum solo
  3. That Did It (Laxton/Davidson) [3.47]
  4. Fields And Me (Laxton/Davidson) [5.50]
  5. The Crazy World Of Pod: electronic concerto (Laxton) [2.00]
  6. 1999 (Mackay) [4.03]
  7. About The Dove And His King (Barry Irwin) [3.41]

Bonus track on 2002 Official CD:

  1. 1999 (extended version) [6.21]
Freedoms Children – Galactic Vibes


  • Julian Laxton: Guitar
  • Colin Pratley: Drums
  • Barry Irwin: Bass
  • Brian Davidson: Vocals
  • Ramsay Mackay: bass on “The Homecoming”

Release information

LP: 1971, Parlophone, PCSJ (D) 12075
CD: May 2002, RetroFresh, freshcd 126

In the 18 months I worked at EMI South Africa the group I believed the most in was Freedom’s Children——this is with the line up of Julian Laxton, Colin Pratley, Ramsay Mackay and Brian Davidson. In fact I believed so much in them that I came close to leaving EMI to manage the group full time with a view to trying to get them to London to “make it” on the world stage, so to speak. In those days, however, there were all sorts of obstacles with work permits, UK Musicians Union, SA Exchange Control, etc, not to mention the fact that I was only 23, had no capital and had virtually no contacts anywhere outside of SA…… nothing came of this particular “dream” and sadly the limitations of their having to try and evolve creatively within the narrow confines of the SA music scene at that time, coupled with personal differences some of the members were having, ultimately led to the disintegration of what in my opinion was then and probably still is today (30 years later) the only SA rock group that given the right circumstances in the right geographical location, could have become an internationally successful rock band just by being themselves and doing what they did.

Clive Calder, January 2002

Read more at The South African Rock Encyclopedia

Rabbitt – Auld Lang Syne Rock | Southern African Music Archive

Rabbitt – Auld Lang Syne Rock

Some Beatles-esque silliness to bring in the New Year!

If ever there was a South African band that should have been global superstars, it’s these boys! Sadly, it was not to be!!
Brilliant take on the traditional tune, rearranged by Trevor. Check out the insane short guitar solo!

Marq Vas, Southern African Music Archive

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