New South African Music: Jack Hammer Band – Second Chapter

Jack Hammer Band: Second Chapter
Jack Hammer Band: Second Chapter

Tracks

  1. As I Turn Away
  2. The Top
  3. Lamenting In The Rain
  4. One For The Angels
  5. Brown Horse
  6. Shallow Grave
  7. Anger Is Me
  8. Blues Home
  9. Devil’s Arm
  10. Diana
  11. Wasted Time

All songs written by J.S. Martin & Jake Gunn, except The Top (Moonshine Lee & Jake Gunn), One For The Angels (Raymond Smith & Jake Gunn) & Diana (J.P. Botha)

Musicians

  • Johnathan Martin: Lead & rhythm guitars, acoustic guitar, vocals, piano (Wasted Time)
  • Jake Gunn: Lead & rhythm guitars, acoustic guitar, vocals, piano, harmonicas
  • Tertius du Plessis: Bass guitar
  • Paul van de Waal: Drums and percussion
  • Gerry Robinson: Acoustic guitar on Lamenting in the Rain, Brown Horse, Wasted Time

Recorded at Wolmer Records and produced by the Jack Hammer Band, Lanie van der Walt and Moonshine Lee.

Release information

CD: 11 November 2022
Download: TBC

Press Release

(L-to-R): Jake Gunn, Johnathan Martin, Paul van der Waal (at the back), Tertius Du Plessis | Photo: Jessica Botha
(L-to-R): Jake Gunn, Johnathan Martin, Paul van de Waal (at the back), Tertius Du Plessis | Photo: Jessica Botha

New Album from Jack Hammer Band: Second Chapter
9 November 2022

Second Chapter” by the Jack Hammer Band does what it says: without any pretences, the album blasts straight into the driving rock sound that has come to define the longest-standing South African rock band.

You immediately find yourself at a Jack Hammer gig, with Duke steady behind the kit, Bean towering over his black bass like a watchkeeper, and Johno and Jake Gunn wringing rock ’n roll out of their guitars as if their lives depended on it.

There is also the tall presence of the man of myth and his Stratocaster that goes by the name of Green Mamba – it would be difficult to imagine Piet Botha laying down the guitar after departing.

The album, co-written by Johnathan Martin, member of Jack Hammer since 1996, and Jake Gunn, who joined the ranks in the 2010s, was initially set out as an impulse to craft ten songs out of the kinship shared between the two. It soon became what had been called for: an album for Piet. The album’s path was led by an eleventh track – a reworked, never-before recorded version of ‘Diana’, a song Piet Botha left behind.

Raymond Smith, Piet’s brother-in-law, urged the band to write and record as Jack Hammer again and helped to bring it all together. He also wrote ‘One for the Angels’, a song inspired by one late-night party with Piet Botha.

Through songs shared and learned on stage, the band are creating a living archive, not only by telling Piet and Jack Hammer’s musings and stories in musical form, but also by revisiting undocumented material and channelling an immense discography.

Come celebrate the official album launch of “Second Chapter” on 11 November at the JARR Bar & Restaurant, Pretoria’s home of sound.

The Jack Hammer Band are: Johnathan Martin (vocals, guitars and piano), Tertius du Plessis (bass guitar), Paul Van de Waal (drums and percussion) and Jacques Groenewald (guitars, vocals, piano and harmonicas). Gerry Robinson, honorary band member (acoustic guitars).

“Second Chapter” was recorded at Wolmer Records and produced by the Jack Hammer Band, Lanie van der Walt and Moonshine Lee.

~ Written by Jannike Bergh, 2022.

CD Launches

JARR Bar

Recording Sessions

(L-to-R): Johnathan Martin, Jake Gunn, Moonshine | photo: Sarel Cilliers
(L-to-R): Johnathan Martin, Jake Gunn, Moonshine Lee | photo: Sarel Cilliers

More photos from the Jack Hammer Band Recording Sessions


Website | Facebook

Sugar Music Recommends… 18 November 2022

Image by Michael Currin

Sugar Music Recommends… 18 November 2022

Part of a series of recommended listening from the guys who bring you the South African Rock Music Digest and SugarMan.org. Some old, some new, some borrowed, some blues, and mostly South African.

Including new releases from Radio Rats, Steve Louw and Tully McCully‘s latest project, Jasper’s Acolytes, classic tracks from Falling Mirror and Piet Botha, and some obscurities like Citizen Jones.

Jasper’s Acolytes – Water Through Our Hands

Jasper’s Acolytes – Water Through Our Hands

Video by Jasper’s Acolytes performing Water Through Our Hands. Released on Mountain Records (C) 2022, published by Songwrights Publishers. Video by Laura McCullagh.

This is an acoustic project reminiscent of 60s folk and harmony songs which I’ve just completed. All analogue recording. I think the sentiment affects all us oldies

Terence McCullagh

Memory Lane – Jasper’s Acolytes

The music that made me, the music that moved me: Leonard Cohen, Tracy Chapman, Counting Crows and The National | Rodney Reiners

From Rodney Reiners Blog

I feel music.

I don’t listen to it, I don’t hear it.

I feel it.

As the ‘laat lammetjie” [late child] in the family, and my siblings much older, I spent much of my childhood alone. Trapped inside my head, and unable to make sense of the bizarre South Africa I was born into, music provided an escape route, a safety valve, a mellifluous, lyrical conduit to quell the encroaching demons.

So, even today, music, songs that appeal to me, simply seep into my consciousness; it wriggles under the skin and pervades my emotions in a manner that’s almost textural, tangible.

“Music is the emotional life of most people,” said Leonard Cohen.

Wherever we come from, whatever we are, whoever we are, irrespective of race, culture or religion, notwithstanding colour or creed, music is something we all have in common.

We might like different types, different sounds, different rhythms – rock, pop, classical, jazz, country, folk or even all the new musical genres  – but there’s no disputing the fact that music evokes emotion and memory.

As the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow so aptly summed up: “Music is the universal language of mankind.”

For me, it’s always about the listening, the feeling. I have an album of Paul Williams that I remember playing on repeat at the age of 12 – and I’ve always been charmed, captivated by the inscription on the back: “There are those who listen and those who wait to talk. This album is dedicated to the listeners.”

Earlier this week, my son, Rustin, and I watched the new Cohen documentary – “Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song” – and it triggered, inspired this blog post.

As the movie credits scrolled down at the end of the documentary, the curtains to the screen of my life opened. It catapulted me back to my childhood, to the starting point where my love for music and, more importantly, lyrics and words, were first awakened.

Poet, singer and songwriter, Cohen’s inner strife, his pain and passion, has always intrigued and inspired. His dexterity with words, to make it come alive, to make emotions come oozing out of a phrase or sentence, provided comfort, cheer and clarity to this young kid growing up on the streets of Factreton.

In addition to the new documentary out on the circuit now, I’ve also seen the 1974 documentary, “Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire”, and the hauntingly beautiful “Marianne and Leonard: Words of Love”.

I also have his book, “The Flame”, which Rustin gave me as a birthday present a few years ago.

But, back then, musically, it wasn’t just Cohen…

It actually all started with John Lennon and the Beatles. As a young boy, I was obsessed with Lennon and his revolutionary, non-conformist approach to life. There was no TV, there was no social media, so I spent hours in the local library, reading just about anything that was available on Lennon and the Beatles.

In addition to Cohen and Lennon, there was Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Carole King, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Jim Croce, Don McLean, Janis Ian, Peter Sarstedt, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Bread and Fleetwood Mac [including the husky vulnerability of that most idiosyncratic voice, Stevie Nicks].

But music doesn’t only elicit emotion, it also freezes a moment in time. And that particular moment, that memory, endures – eternally. For me, that instant etched in time is Rustin, as a little boy, probably around 3 or 4, seat-belted in the back of my car, and singing along, at the top his voice, to the words of Alanis Morissette’s “Thank You, India/ Thank you terror/ Thank you disillusionment…”

And, I guess, as fate would have it, Rustin is a talented musician/singer/songwriter himself today.

In the same way that he was introduced to my love for music, he is now able to expose me to new singers and new sounds – like Phoebe Bridges, Gregory Alan Isakov, Novo Amor, Paolo Nutini, Harrison Whitford, City and Colour, Iron and Wine, Noah Gunderson, Sufjan Stevens, Ben Howard and Paper Kites, to name a few.

Rustin doing his music thing

My musical past, though, cannot be complete without three more names – Tracy Chapman, Counting Crows and The National.

When Chapman released her first album in 1988, it blew me away. “Fast Car” and its lyrics spoke to the socio-economic issues affecting so many South Africans, and “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution” echoed the political struggle we were faced with.

The unique sound of the Counting Crows and the raw, emotionally-charged lyrics of enigmatic lead singer Adam Duritz always renders me exhausted and breathless. Duritz’s brutally honest, heart-on-a-sleeve style often brandishes a metaphorical razor blade at your emotions, your intellect. And, like a poet, he leaves you, spread-eagled in admiration, eager to craft your own interpretation of what you’ve just listened to, of what you’ve just felt.

I have almost every album the Counting Crows have released. There are so many good songs, so many good lyrics. But to share just one.. It comes from a song called, Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby: “If dreams are like movies, then memories are films about ghosts.”

It’s a kaleidoscope of words and thoughts and pictures and images and similes and metaphors – it’s just so clever, so complicated, so devilishly ingenious, that you wish you could have written it yourself.

Rustin introduced me to The National, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I never thought anybody could pen lyrics/words as good as Cohen and Duritz, but in The National’s lead singer, Matt Berninger, they certainly have a rival.

I have two of the band’s lyrics tattooed on my arms: “There’s a science to walking through windows”… and… “I’m the rocks they weigh down the angels with”. Explaining the words, and what it means to me, would take another 1 000 words – so take from it what you will.

I also have a tattoo featuring a Cohen lyric – it’s from a song, called Anthem: “There is a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in”.

In a world, in a life, so difficult to negotiate, so inaccessible, so bewildering to comprehend, Cohen’s glimmer of optimism in that meaningful line is something to desperately hold on to.

I still have a Cohen album [we called it LPs back then], in which Kris Kristofferson says he will carve the words of a Cohen song – “Bird on the Wire” – on his tombstone: “Like a bird on the wire/Like a drunk in a midnight choir/I have tried in my way to be free…”

The cover of the album, featuring Kris Kristofferson’s promise

Cohen died in 2016 at the age of 82. The music lives on.

I still listen, I still feel his music, the words, the emotions… And I will – until, in Cohen’s words: “I’m leaving the table/I’m out of the game…”

Emily Dickinson’s immortal words in the poem: “Because I could not stop for Death/He kindly stopped for me…” Sooner or later, we all have to get on that carriage. Cohen’s acceptance is summed up in the letter he wrote to Marianne Ihlen, his muse, the woman who inspired the song “So Long Marianne”.

Leonard’s letter to a dying Marianne

Cohen died four months later.

And I am left with my favourite lyric/image from ‘So Long, Marianne’ – which gave me goosebumps, as well as succour, at a time in my child/teen/hood when I needed something to staunch the flow of hopelessness: “I’m standing on a ledge and your fine spider web/is fastening my ankle to a stone.”

It’s now decades later – and those words are still as relevant as ever.

I’m still on a ledge, my ankle is still tied with a fine spider web…

Steve Louw is Back!

Thunder And Rain

Cape Town, 11 November 2022 Ramping up after the release of the singles “Thunder and Rain” and “Mother, Don’t Go” (Feat. Joe Bonamassa), today sees the announcement of Steve Louw’s latest album, Thunder and Rain and a third stellar single, “I’ll Be Back”, lifted from this powerful 10-track, Kevin Shirley-produced album.

The interplay on Thunder and Rain is often subtle, yet it’s undeniably soulful, the songs benefiting from the easy turns of phrases and chord changes. Steve conveys these emotions through strength on “I’ll Be Back”, a song where acoustic guitars give the track a steady, windblown propulsion, one that muscles through on the chorus – he’s a man on a mission, one dedicated to the task at hand.

As with 2021’s Headlight Dreams album, 2022’s Thunder and Rain, besides Steve and Joe, is flush with talent. From Greg Morrow on drums, Rob McNelley on guitar and Slide Dobro, Doug Lancio on guitar and mandolin, Kenny Greenburg on guitar, Alison Prestwood on bass guitar and Kevin McKendree on keyboards, amongst others, Thunder and Rain is as impressive in lyrics and compositions as it is in heavyweight genii, all adding multiple layers of arresting accompaniment.  

Recorded at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, “I’ll Be Back” is a mantra and an equally powerful promise. While the next chapter preps and fine-tunes, enjoy embracing and sharing the brand-new album’s nine remaining bolts of lightning that brighten and charge a body of work world worthy.

Thunder And Rain – Steve Louw

Steve Louw – Thunder And Rain

Steve Louw – I’ll Be Back

Follow and share Steve Louw’s journey via:

Website | Facebook | YouTube | Twitter | Soundcloud | Instagram | Spotify | iTunes

For more information, artwork and interview opportunities, contact:

Jason Curtis – jason@matters.co.za

South African Music Mixes: “The Suitcase Show” feat Piet Botha, Koos Kombuis, Valiant Swart, David Kramer, Anton Goosen and many more.

'n Suitcase Vol Musiek
‘n Suitcase Vol Musiek

Every vagabond needs a suitcase.

These are two, mainly South African, mostly Afrikaans, shows with some well-known tjoons and many obscure ones.

Some happy songs, some angry songs, a few light songs, and quite a few dark ones.

The name of these shows is inspired by the song “Suitcase Vol Winter” by South African Music Legend Piet Botha.

Some lyrics are explicit and/or offensive.

Photo of Piet Botha by Hein Waschefort, 2013

THE SUITCASE SHOW feat Piet Botha, Valiant Swart, Anton Goosen, David Kramer, Akkedis, Beeskraal

Track List

1. Girlfriends In Die Wimpy Bar (live 1996) – Die Naaimasjiene
2. Suitcase Vol Winter (live at Oppikoppi 1998) – Piet Botha & Jack Hammer
3. Die Gezoem Van Die Bye (live 1966) – Des Lindberg
4. Bokkie Bokkie – David Kramer
5. Somerslied – The Radiators
6. Pappa Ek Wil ‘n Popster Word – Springbok Nude Girls
7. Geraamtes In Jou Kas – Brixton Moord En Roof Orkes
8. Hou My Vas Korporaal – Bernoldus Niemand
9. Bossies – Wildebeest
10. Anderkant Die Berg – Akkedis
11. Boy Van Die Suburbs – Anton Goosen
12. Hell’s Angel – Al’astair
13. Bus Na Toronto – Andries Bezuidenhout
14. Jong Dames Dinamiek – Randy Rambo En Die Rough Riders
15. Strate Van Pretoria – Beeskraal
16. Cape Flats – Brasse Vannie Kaap
17. Verslaaf Aan Ruk-En-Rol – Not My Dog
18. Die Volk (Is In Die Kak) – The Buckfever Underground
19. Hillbrow – Johannes Kerkorrel En Die Gereformeerde Blues Band
20. Sally Williams Nougat – Jak de Priester
21. Breyten se Brief – Jan Blohm
22. Vier Seisoene Kind – Spinnekop
23. Bicycle Sonder Slot – Koos Kombuis
24. Diep In Gauteng – Stefan Lombard
25. Afrikaners Is Plesierig – Karen Zoid
26. Rockpop – Diff-Olie
27. Roekeloos – Valiant Swart
28. Onder Engele Verniel – Voël
29. Meneer Geweer – Wouter van de Venter
30. Suikerbossie – The Peanut Butter Conspiracy
31. Binneland In (live 2001) – Spinnekop
32. Die Sommige Ou Tannies Blues – Koos Kombuis
33. Jane S. Piddy – Rodriguez


THE SUITCASE SHOW feat Koos Kombuis, KOBUS!, Piet Botha, Valiant Swart, Anton Goosen, Mel Botes

Track List

1. Meisie Sonner Sokkies (live 1998) – David Kramer
2. Sien Jou Weer (Piet Botha cover) – Beeskraal met Piet Botha
3. Die Mystic Boer – Valiant Swart
4. Kan Ons Weer Begin – Ashton Nyte
5. Sit Dit Af – Johannes Kerkorrel & Die Gereformeerde Blues Band
6. Ou Swerwer – Piet Botha
7. Lisa se Klavier – Koos Kombuis with James Phillips
8. n Brief Vir Simone – Anton Goosen
9. Bittermaan – Spoegwolf
10. Breyten se Brief (2010 recording) – Jan Blohm & Milan Murray
11. 9mm Blues (demo version) – George Harry (Jan Blohm)
12. Spook – Spinnekop
13. Die Donker Kom Jou Haal (Valiant Swart cover) – The Black Cat Bones
14. Dagdrome in Suburbia – Francois van Coke feat Spoegwolf
15. Slang – The Kêrels
16. Bloemfontein – Springcan
17. Reënvoëls – Mel Botes
18. Giant Puzzle – Al’astair
19. Matchbox Full Of Diamonds – David Kramer
20. Brixton Dae – Brixton Moord En Roof Orkes
21. Sondagmiddag – KOBUS!
22. Nikitien En Kafeïen – ddisselblom
23. Rock & Roll Jannie – Jakkie Louw & Wickus Van Der Merwe
24. Blommetjie Gedenk Aan My (Anton Goosen cover) – Stean Ennie Crank-shafts
25. Êrens – Ark
26. Mooie Vrou – Kaal
27. F.A.K. – Skallabrak
28. Mynhope In Die Bosveld – Wildebeest
29. Ventersdorp (Song Vir Angelique) – Die Kaalkop Waarheid
30. Verspreide Donderbuie – Amanda Strydom
31. Van Tonder – Piet Botha
32. Stille Soldate – Touch Of Class

New Album from Jack Hammer Band: Second Chapter

Jack Hammer Band: Second Chapter
Jack Hammer Band: Second Chapter

As with the trajectory of the blues and rock ‘n roll tradition, revisiting comes with reshaping and maturing. “Second Chapter” is a homage to Piet Botha and Jack Hammer precisely in the way in which the band members affirm themselves and their own musical stylings.

Jannike Bergh

“Second Chapter” by the Jack Hammer Band does what it says: without any pretences, the album blasts straight into the driving rock sound that has come to define the longest-standing South African rock band.

You immediately find yourself at a Jack Hammer gig, with Duke steady behind the kit, Bean towering over his black bass like a watchkeeper, and Johno and Jake Gunn wringing rock ’n roll out of their guitars as if their lives depended on it.

There is also the tall presence of the man of myth and his Stratocaster that goes by the name of Green Mamba – it would be difficult to imagine Piet Botha laying down the guitar after departing.

The album, co-written by Johnathan Martin, member of Jack Hammer since 1996, and Jake Gunn, who joined the ranks in the 2010s, was initially set out as an impulse to craft ten songs out of the kinship shared between the two. It soon became what had been called for: an album for Piet. The album’s path was led by an eleventh track – a reworked, never-before recorded version of ‘Diana’, a song Piet Botha left behind.

Raymond Smith, Piet’s brother-in-law, urged the band to write and record as Jack Hammer again and helped to bring it all together. He also wrote ‘One for the Angels’, a song inspired by one late-night party with Piet Botha.

Through songs shared and learned on stage, the band are creating a living archive, not only by telling Piet and Jack Hammer’s musings and stories in musical form, but also by revisiting undocumented material and channelling an immense discography.

Come celebrate the official album launch of “Second Chapter” on 11 November at the JARR Bar & Restaurant, Pretoria’s home of sound.

The Jack Hammer Band are: Johnathan Martin (vocals, guitars and piano), Tertius du Plessis (bass guitar), Paul Van de Waal (drums and percussion) and Jacques Groenewald (guitars, vocals, piano and harmonicas). Gerry Robinson, honorary band member (acoustic guitars).

“Second Chapter” was recorded at Wolmer Records and produced by the Jack Hammer Band, Lanie van der Walt and Moonshine Lee.

~ Written by Jannike Bergh, 2022.

Website

Facebook


Piet Botha – Diana

New Song from 10 Rogue – Hell To Pay

10 ROGUE is a new breed of alternative metal band that grew out of the musical friendship of seasoned songwriters Jon Buckley and Vincent Weynen who were teenagers and mates in South Africa. Sadly, Jon passed away in 2017.

On the 28th of October 2022, 10 Rogue’s newest single “Hell to Pay” was released worldwide!

10 Rogue are a truly international band with members from Belgium and South Africa. 

The opening riff grabs you by the throat and shakes you until you submit, willingly!

And it doesn’t let go, until you are singing along to the powerful vocals, altogether now; “make you scream and shout, let it on out, yes, you got Hell to pay.”

10 Rogue – Hell To Pay

New Blk Sonshine album in 2023!

From Masauko website

Masauko has been recording in 2022, with plans for various releases in 2023. The big news is that he has been in the studio with Neo Muyanga and there are plans for a new Blk Sonshine album release next year. In early October, Masauko met up with Neo in Brooklyn, New York for recording sessions. As a producer, in 2022 Masauko has been working with South African hip hop legend Snazz D. and South African singer-songwriter Yolanda Zama, whose style continues in the tradition of Miriam Makeba.

Masauko and Neo of Blk Sonshine recording in Brooklyn, October 2022. Photo by Hasan Bakr (from Masauko website)
Top Tracks from Blk Sonshine

Gilles Peterson Debuts New John Wizards Track, And Discovers Its Rodriguez connection.

By Lenny Mailer

It’s no secret that the renowned DJ, Gilles Peterson, has long been a fan of South African music, especially the sounds coming out of Cape Town. Gilles is a French broadcaster, DJ, and record label owner. He founded the influential labels Acid Jazz and Talkin’ Loud, and started his current label Brownswood Recordings in 2006. He was awarded an honorary MBE in 2004 and is currently hosting his very popular and acclaimed Saturday afternoon music program called ‘Joining The Musical Dots’ in which he features a mixed-up selection, “joining the musical dots” between soul, hip hop, house, afro, electronica, jazz and beyond”, in his own inimitable style.

On his recent ‘Joining the Musical Dots’ program, on Saturday 22nd October, Gilles played the brand new John Wizards’ track called ‘Rwangaguhunga’. Back In 2017 Gilles was one of the first DJ’s to pick up on the strange story and wonderful music of the Cape Town group John Wizards and brought them into his studio during their UK and Europe tour where they played live. 

In August of that year, the British newspaper The Guardian’s music editor, Tim Jonze, wrote a feature on John Wizards, documenting how Emmanuel Nzaramba, a Rwandan car guard in Cape Town met John Withers, a South African advertising music writer, and after adding some of John’s musical friends to the band, they became John Wizards

(L–R) Geoff Brink, Tom Parker, John Withers, Alex Montgomery, Emmanuel Nzaramba, Raphael Segerman | Sarah Thomas and John Wizards

The band later released its self-titled debut album, which showcased their unique sound featuring elements of R&B, soukous, Afropop, reggae, South African house, Shangaan electro, and dub, and  included the singles ‘Lusaka by Night’ and ‘Muizenberg’. At the end of 2017, the band’s album appeared as No 8 on The Guardian’s list of the 40 best albums of the year. 

The six piece band, consisting of vocalist and guitarist John Withers, vocalist Emmanuel Nzaramba, drummer and percussionist Raphael Segerman, bassist and keyboardist Alex Montgomery, guitarist Tom Parker and guitarist and keyboardist Geoff Brink, combined electronic sounds with more traditional African influences on their self-titled debut album, and the success of that album led to their touring extensively across Europe alongside Mount Kimbie and Jagwar Ma. 

John Wizards effectively began when John Withers met Nzaramba outside a coffee shop in 2010 and the two became friends. They subsequently fell out of touch for a period. In 2012 they happened upon one another in Cape Town and it turned out they were both living on that same street. Prior to their meeting again, Withers had been working on recording and producing the set of musical ideas that would later become John Wizards’ self-titled release of September 2013. 

Nzaramba added vocal recordings to some of the songs and began to perform with the rest of the band. John Wizards released a mix tape in August 2012 that roughly sketched out the songs to be included on the album. This mix tape was passed on to Mike Paradinas, owner of Planet Mu records. Planet Mu would announce the band as part of their roster in November 2012, releasing the album some ten months later.

In February 2017 Gilles visited Cape Town to record an audio documentary about the city’s musical heritage as part of Lufthansa City of the Month. The documentary followed Gilles over the course of a day as he set out to learn about the history of the city’s music, and infiltrate the dynamic contemporary scene. He began with the music of the Khoisan Bushmen, through to Cape Jazz of the ’60s, onto hip hop of the ’80s and ’90s, through to the spoken word and current musical climate of today. By discovering where the music was from and where it was going, Gilles discovered what makes Cape Town so special.

Gilles Peterson presents Cape Town Sounds

In the documentary, Gilles visited a bunch of the local music scenes’ leaders to hear their stories. From jazz musician Tony Cedras to spoken word artist Khadija Tracey Heeger, local hip hop legend DJ Ready D, the Chimurenga crew, legendary A&R Donald ‘Jumbo’ Van Renen through to today’s upfront talent like Nonku Phiri! The show also featured tracks by Tony Cedras, Miriam Makeba, Dollar Brand, Jumbo Track, Black Disco and more.

Stephen "Sugar" Segerman, Gilles Peterson, DJ Mighty, Jacques Vosloo | Mabu Vinyl Basement, 3 February 2017
Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, Gilles Peterson, DJ Mighty, Jacques Vosloo | Mabu Vinyl Basement, 3 February 2017

On that trip, Gilles also visited the iconic Cape Town record shop, Mabu Vinyl, where he met the shop’s founder and owner Jacques Vosloo, as well as the staff like DJ Mighty, SA online music guru Brian Currin and Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman of ‘Searching For Sugar Man’ fame.

Gilles Peterson 2022-10-22 Joining the Musical Dots: Alabaster dePlume & Friends, Kay Suzuki

On Saturday’s ‘Joining The Musical Dots’ program, after playing the newly-released John Wizards’ track ‘Rwangaguhunga’ (starting at about 24 minutes), Gilles also mentioned that the drummer from John Wizards, Raphael Segerman, is also the son of Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman, thereby “joining the musical dots” between John Wizards and Sixto Rodriguez followed by his playing of Rodriguez singing his own track, ‘Can’t Get Away’.

Rwangaguhunga – John Wizards
Rodriguez – Can’t Get Away

South African Rock History: African Daze – Progressive Rock

Two mixes of Progressive Rock tracks from South African Rock History, compiled by Brian Currin.

Artists featured include Freedoms Children, Abstract Truth, Hawk, Otis Waygood, Duncan Mackay, McCully Workshop and Third Eye.

More info on all these artists (and many more) at The South African Rock Encyclopedia

African Daze – South African Prog Rock

Track List

1 A Madman’s Cry by Otis Waygood
2 Blue Wednesday Speaks by Abstract Truth
3 Eclipse by Freedoms Children
4 Astral III by Invaders
5 (We All) Look For The Sun by McCully Workshop
6 Sea Horse by Freedoms Children
7 The Whip by Suck
8 African Day (excerpt) by Hawk
9 Retain Your Half-Ticket by Third Eye
10 Morpheus (excerpt) by Duncan Mackay
11 Tribal Fence by Freedoms Children
12 Orang Otang by Harambee
13 In Spite Of It All by Circus
14 Desert (excerpt) by Steve Linnegar’s Snakeshed


African Daze Vol 2 – More South African Prog Rock

Track List

1 The Crazy World Of Pod: electronic concerto by Freedoms Children
2 2001 Space Odyssey (Deodato cover) by McCully Workshop
3 21st Century Schizoid Man (King Crimson cover) by Suck
4 Medals Of Bravery by Freedoms Children
5 Judas by David’s Confession
6 Pharaoh’s Tomb by Titus
7 Mumbo Jumbo by Ramsay Mackay
8 Silver Trees by Abstract Truth
9 Slowly Towards The North (Freedoms Children cover) by Jack Hammer
10 Orang Otang by Hawk
11 The Bridge by Julian Laxton
12 Useless Illusions (based on Nights In White Satin) by The Flames
13 Caterpillar by The Third Eye
14 Sirius II by Duncan Mackay
15 In The Sun by Otis Waygood
16 Avenue by McCully Workshop
17 Silent Water by Ramsay Mackay
18 Hunter by Hawk
19 I Need You by The Invaders
20 I Left My Skull In San Francisco by Otis Waygood
21 Apricot Brandy (Rhinoceros cover) by The Third Eye
22 In A Space by Abstract Truth
23 Season Of The Witch (incl drum solo) (Donovan cover) by Suck


More information at the The South African Rock Encyclopedia

More South African music mixes at SA Rock Digest on Mixcloud

Lloyd Ross – Shifty Records and other soundtracks | Jive Talking and Eyeballing

From Jive Talking and Eyeballing Facebook Group

Lloyd Ross is synonymous with Shifty Records and the Vyfster theme, for releasing albums by Sankomota, Koos Kombuis, the Kalahari Surfers, Vusi Mahlasela, Tananas and many other artists who would probably not have been recorded otherwise. Shifty Records did ground-breaking work for alternative and underground music in South Africa and much of the credit for that is due to Lloyd Ross who started the whole thing with a few other people. Time to investigate. Lloyd Ross kindly let me interview him in person in Cape Town and yes, we did keep our social distance.

Q. Hi Lloyd, I heard you went to the UK and when you came back you auditioned to play in the Radio Rats. Did it start there or before that?

A. Hey Ernesto, I am one of those guys who was always into music and like a lot of people did before the arrival of the cassette tape, sat with my record player and my guitar and learned songs by playing a section of a record over and over again until you learned the notes.I had a band in the navy with two other guys. We had the great idea of heading for their home town of East London after we got out in 1976 or 7 to turn “professional”. The band was called Horses In Transit and it lasted only a few months. In 1978 I went to the UK and where I met people who were big fans of punk and I got very much into it. I was only there for about 8 months and when I got back, while passing through Joburg, I saw the Radio Rats at the Market Cafe, run by David Marks. I really liked them. Then probably at the beginning of 1979 I read in the Sunday Times that they were looking for a guitarist. I got hold of Jonathan Handley who said: no, that was a misquote, we are not looking for another person to join the band. I told him that I was going to come for an audition anyway. I took my Fender Strat and hitched up to Joburg, spending my 21st birthday in a school bicycle shed in some godforsaken Free State town. So anyway, I got up to Joburg, to their practice room in Springs, which they shared with Corporal Punishment, did the audition and the band said Ja, you are in. Then I sort of fell over for a month, because I’d picked up some kinda weird ear infection in that bicycle shed. Every time I stood up, I hurled. I went back to Cape Town, convalesced, got my things in order, went back to Joburg and played with them until they broke-up for the first time which was the end of 1979.

Q. Did you do any recordings with the Radio Rats?

A. Yes, I played on Rocket Road… 

Rocket Road: that was me on guitar, Dave Davies (vocals), Jonathan (guitar & vocals), Herbie Parkin (bass), and a guy called Pierre de Vos on drums who I see played with Tim Parr as well. He was the drummer for Baxtop at one stage. Of course, Jonathan called the drummer Pierre de Sade, as he does, ha, ha.

Q. You returned to Cape Town after that and then co-formed the Happy Ships?

A. I arrived back in Cape Town and got a job in a pizza den and got various bands together. I was in a band called Rubbish which was kinda punky but more new wave. Energetic music. A three piece with a guy called Wayne Raath on drums and Mark van Niekerk on bass. I then met Warrick Swinney (Sony) who had been playing with Guillaume Rossouw in the Rude Dementals and put the Happy Ships together. That was Wayne Raath again, Warrick, myself, a guy called Phillip Nangle and Hamish Davidson who now meditates for world peace in the Rocky Mountains. Hamish is a Transcendental Meditationist. Their philosophy is if you get 1% of the world’s population to meditate, it will change the world. They pay for people to meditate and he is one of those guys… and he was on sax. The Happy Ships was a wacky stream of unconsciousness sorta band. A lot of fun to play with. Everyone played everything, except for Hamish, who played sax…and meditated. Oh, and we had another occasional member in Jonathan Partridge, who played the pocket. 

Q. You said you made some good contacts in Joburg?

A. When I was playing with the Radio Rats I met a lot of musicians and in particularly Ivan Kadey. He was playing in a band called National Wake…

The way we met is, I was looking for a place to stay while playing with the Rats. I was walking through the dilapidating Randlord district of Parktown & it was evening and I heard the unmistakable sound of a Fender Stratocaster emanating from a rambling rundown randlordish house. I went up and knocked at the door. I introduced myself and said: nice riff, and asked if he knew of a place to stay. I ended up staying there for the time I was in Joburg. Occasionally National Wake would be staying there too, the whole band; the Khoza brother Punka and Gary, One Eyed Mike, etc. Ivan and I started planning the studio then, the idea of it at least…Was this the beginning of Shifty Records?

A. Not really. It took a while for us to get it together. It was only when I got back to Johannesburg to work in the film industry that we got together again.

Q. So it was you and Ivan that started Shifty Records?

A. Yes. I bought my gear with the money made in the film industry. Ivan and I bought different stuff. Ivan bought a mixing desk and some microphones. I bought the tape machine, some outboard gear, cables and that kind of thing. It was an Otari 8-track machine. The first affordable 8-track machine actually because it was a half-inch and before that, multi tracking was an expensive affair on 2 inch machines, completely unaffordable for people in our position. We came in at the right time to do independent recordings where you did not need to mortgage your house, not that we had one, to do recordings.

Q. So that was how Shifty Records was born?

A. We had the studio but where to put it? Ivan was in an apartment on Rockey Street and I was kinda footloose, so we bought a caravan! But what to call the enterprise? A caravan meant we had a mobile studio, so we though of words indicating moving and eventually came up with the name Shifty. Funnily enough we did not record our own music at that stage. I was bandless, and so was Ivan. This was 1983 and Ivan didn’t get much time off from his architectural duties. Even though he helped set it up he was unable to participate in the dream of recording, but he was always there in spirit.

Q. The first release was Sankomota?

A. Indeed. I went down and recorded Sankomota later in 1983, it was our first album release. On a shoot in Lesotho I had seen this band playing at the Holiday Inn and they were really lovely. Spoke to them afterward and asked them to send me a tape. They told me they were banned in South Africa because they had done a tour under the name Uhuru, meaning freedom (not such a good idea for a band in South Africa at the time) and the lead singer was called Black Jesus (an even less good idea) who made political comments on stage so…NO! I thought, we have a mobile studio, we will come to you. I drove down with Warrick Sony and recorded the album in a couple of days. I took the recordings back to Joburg and did some post-production and Warrick added some Tabla and we added some sax from Rick van Heerden and trumpet by Stompie Monana. It was a good album to start with considering where we ended up going… And this is Sankomoto… 

Q. Then on to the Happy ships was it?

A.Jip, came down to Cape Town, and recorded in Robin Hawkins garage in Wynberg. He very kindly let us use the space. At that stage, Hamish (Davidson) was already meditating 4 hours a day so we would have to take long breaks.

Q. So when did Warrick (Sony) join you? Was it is the Happy Ships?

A. No, Warrick was still living in Cape Town. I think he was at UCT (University) in 1983 when we did the recording. I had gone to Joburg in 1981 and that is when the studio started coming together. You mentioned you thought the Vyfster theme funded Shifty but seeing as I recorded that on the equipment that I bought with Ivan, it was there before the movie score. That was a money-making exercise, my day job, so to speakThis is the haunting Vyfster theme from the legendary SABCTV series Vyfster…. 

…Going back to ’79 when I was cooking up this thing with Ivan, the energy of Corporal Punishment featuring James Phillips and Carl Raubenheimer’s creative coming together was very inspirational for me. I viewed it as an indictment on the industry that these guys were not hunted down and recorded. I mean the humour, the melodies, the energy. So that’s why I wanted to record music actually. We did eventually record some Corporal Punishment but that was after their early tour de force in the 70’s. When the studio was going, James came up from Grahamstown where he was doing a BMus and we put down a couple of numbers. Then he and Carl did that Illegal Gathering project in Cape Town on a 4 track cassette which I still think is such great work. I mean fidelity wise it’s crap, but the capturing of the moment was superb. A bit like shooting a documentary with a kak, shaky camera, but what is happening in the frame is an amazing or beautiful sequence. You feel the energy of it and never worry about the technology. The important thing is what is being put down not how it is being put down. 

Q. What was next for Shifty?

A. We did Bernoldus (Wie Is Bernoldus Niemand LP), we did a couple of albums on that 8-track. We did Bernoldus, we did Sankomota, we did the Corporals recordings, the Own Affairs by Kalahari Surfers. Warrick probably recorded that on 8-track as well. I was not involved in that though. Warrick did his own thing and in fact, we very seldom collaborated, hardly at all. But we used to see each other every day which was great. If you want a fresh take every day, Warrick is the guy. Very tangential sense of humour. What was said the day before was not repeated the day after. Everything was gouged in intelligence and fun so it was always great to have him around… 

Q. Carry on, please..

A. Just trying to think….. the first Mzwakhe album, it was later actually. Look, around that time Warrick came up to Joburg and we replaced the 8-track with a Fostex 16-track which Warrick bought. I had become aware that there wasn’t just this new wave thing happening, but there was this really broad spectrum of quality music from all sectors of society that needed to be recorded. The reason why it wasn’t being recorded by the industry is because it was not considered “commercial”, or was political. This meant it would never get played on the radio, which in turn meant it would be difficult to sell. So unlike pretty much the whole of the industry, apart from perhaps Mountain Records in Cape Town, we recorded music because we considered it worth recording for aesthetic, rather than commercial reasons.

Q. You mean like those worker choir groups?

A. Ja, who would record that in South Africa? Maybe a Hugh Tracy if he had still been around. That goes for a lot of Shifty albums, nobody would have recorded them.

Q. How did you record those worker choirs?

A. That I did with Brian Tilley who ran this thing called Video News Services.. Brian and I traveled around the Transvaal and Natal recording those choirs because it was exciting and we thought it was the right thing to do. That is how we did things, that’s how I still do things, generally speaking, and with my film making a lot of the time.

Q. So there were a lot of different choirs?

A. Sure, we went to the East Rand. West Rand, Britz near Pretoria and then we went down to Durban. Unfortunately, we didn’t film. It would have been fucking great if we had filmed. We recorded people in the midlands, at Mooi River, Durban, the hostels, all over the place. It was really lekker. And it was FOSATU, it was pre-Cosatu days so ja, that was quite an early album as well… This is the DTMB choir.. 

Q. What was next for Shifty?

A. Next was the Mzwakhe album,. I saw him perform at a leftie thing in Yeoville where I think Johnny Clegg was also playing. He was a poet and he had a lot of charisma and attitude and I thought it could be powerful with some musical backing. I got Ian Herman, Gito Baloi and Simba Morri to workshop the music with him, so that was very exciting. Just get in the studio with musicians that are good at what they do and just lay it down. 

Q. How did you hook up with Jennifer Ferguson? Did you see her at the Market Theatre?

A. I probably knew her personally before I heard her play. Her boyfriend Christo Leach was a director of film and theatre and she was acting as a ghost in some weird TV drama. I met her then. She may have told me she played, but then she was doing quite a lot of cabaret stuff in Hillbrow. For me, it has always been about the songs and she was a great songwriter. Also, her headspace, in terms of where we were, politically, you know. It became pretty obvious that we should record her. She always pretty much knew what she wanted, so with her stuff I didn’t do very much production. In fact, generally I tried to be as much removed as possible and let the people get their own stuff together and just contribute on the technical side and arrangements. Although, I’m sure there are those that would dispute that, ha ha! This is Jennifer from her first album… 

The second album, which was done years later… she did on her own. It wasn’t recorded with Shifty, it was done at Video lab I think and then we released it.

Q. OK, now for Koos Kombuis, aka Andre Le Toit. He sent you a demo?

A. I really loved the vibe of the demo so I wanted to replicate it with better quality audio. I invited him up to Joburg. I had a PCM machine, an early digital stereo machine that recorded onto Betamax tape. These tapes are like three hours long. So I set him up in the studio and I hit record and I went out. I said just try to do what you did on the demo. I am not going to be here. Imagine it is your own space and do your own thing and I went shopping or something. In those days the studio was in Rand Mines properties, way out near Nazrec on Baragwanath Road. When I came back he was just finishing off. He had been alone for two hours playing. I had also asked him to do the intros, like he had on the demo and I just edited what he had done. I then compared those intros to the ones the original demo cassette and chose the ones with the better vibe.

An interesting aside is that we are actually about to release that original cassette demo. Technically I cleaned it up quite a bit. I then sent it to Koos to see what he thought of the idea. He was initially a little worried about it, but he’s come around to liking the idea.

Q. Why is Koos worried?

A. It wasn’t so much the fact that he had bronchitis, which comes through as coughs and sniffles on the demo, but rather because of some references to girlfriends from back in the day. He had changed names for the studio recordings to avoid hassles. The one has become a lawyer and he doesn’t want to cause shit. I have bleeped those, so he’s okayed it. There are a couple of songs that aren’t on the original. I’ve always loved that tape and I think his fans will do likewise. It is called Voedselvergifting. Though that was one of the few demos I responded to positively, I think I pretty much answered everybody that sent me a demo. And there were lots. Still have them in the archive.

Q. Kerkorrel? How did you get to record him?

A. Ralph Rabie (Kerkorrel) was sent down by Beeld or the Rapport to interview Koos/Andre and they liked each other. Ralph said that he also plays and played him some of his stuff, to which Koos said, well, you are a much better musician than me. I should be interviewing you. When Koos came up to Joburg they got together and the rest is history. The original Gereformeerde Blues Band, Koos was in it but that was for like one or two gigs. He was not a team player.This is Die Gereformeerde Blues Band… 

Q. Simba Morri, was he a Shifty artist and was that after the Mapantsula band he was in?

A. Yes, we first recorded Simba as part of Mapantsula for the End Conscription Campaign album and shortly thereafter on his solo Wasamata, with Gito Baloi and Ian Herman backing him up and Jannie Hanepoot arranging the brass. He makes such gentle music, just like the man himself?This is Simba Morri with the album released by Shifty. https://simbamorri.bandcamp.com/album/wasamata

Simba has had some serious health issues earlier this year and had to be admitted to the hospital for treatment. He is home now but I am not sure what the prognosis is so please help the guy out by ordering his albums on Bandcamp.Shifty Records 3 July 2020: ‘Live – Simba Morri’ is out now exclusively on Bandcamp at https://simbamorri.bandcamp.com/album/live … all funds raised will go towards the Simba Morri medical assistance fund (first Friday of the month is a good day to purchase it as Bandcamp takes no percentage of sales on that day… Go get it and share, share, share 🙂 Thank You!

Q. What other Shifty shifty artists didn’t we touch on?

A. Oh, there are a lot, ha, ha, ha, ha.

Q. Roger Lucey?

A. Ja I recorded his After the Thunder concerts way back, but we never did a proper release with Roger, just a single with his alter ego Tighthead Fourie and the Lose Forwards, which is really a hoot!…

Q. The Genuines, how did that recording happen?

A. I was working with Ian Herman from the very early days, probably even before our first Shifty album when I recorded that Roger Lucey concert and Ian was playing drums. He was like nineteen or something, he was living at Crown Mines, maybe at the back of Roger’s place even, and as soon as I heard him play I wanted to use him on every recording that needed a drummer. He probably ended up playing on 50% of the Shifty repertoire. The Genuines must have come along in 1986/87, the rest of the guys were from Cape Town and Ian hooked up with them. As soon as I heard the Genuines I wanted to record them. It was crazy that I didn’t have to fight the rest of the industry off for them, but that’s just how the SA industry was back then. Probably still it. An incredibly technically proficient band with charisma and a helluva vibe. First we recorded the rock album. This was the single from the Genuines album Goema released in 1987… 

Even more fantastic album was Mr. Mac and the Genuines, which was the goema album, not the album called Goema, but the album using the goema tradition. I love the very tight sound of that recording. At that stage, I was using a lot of reverb on everything which is really embarrassing for me now, you know? But that album I produced really tight and the energy that comes through is amazing. That’s what you look for as a producer, you know- which is to manifest the immediate energy of people playing together to be heard for eternity. Not always an easy thing. Robby Jansen and Tony Cedras provided the brass. And here is that groundbreaking album in full…

Q. Tananas was another great Shifty band. Can you tell us about them, please?

A. This is Tananas featuring Ian Herman, the late, great Gito Baloi and the enigmatic Steve Newman… https://tananas.bandcamp.com/album/tananas Ian was living at the studio at that time, that was the second place we occupied at Rand Mine Properties. In the former, we were in a single-story building where we rented rooms from someone called Jackie Quinn who was involved in the ANC. We didn’t know that at the time and she had connections with people in Lesotho. It was after she had moved out of the house she got taken out by the South African military in Lesotho. There was a picture of her lying in the morgue on the front page of the Sunday Times. I could not believe it. The SA press had never published a picture like that before. It was shocking to me, not only because I knew the person, but because of the blatant disrespect that the publishing of the image represented. That was the first house and then there was the mine doctor’s house across the valley that we moved into a few years later. There were only two houses there in this wide open veld near Uncle Charlies. Warrick was also staying at the house. It was just music, that is all it was about and I remember recording the Genuines, both albums there. By the time of the second house, the caravan was no more. Of course, when the caravan was around I did other recordings not yet mentioned, like The Cherry Faced Lurchers Live At Jamesons in 1985. Pulled the caravan outside of Jamesons and ran a cable in and straight on to 2-track. There was no multitrack, no mixing afterward. 2 nights recording, wonderful … 

I also took the caravan down to Swaziland in 1985 and recorded a band called Impandzi which was never a Shifty release and then we went to Botswana as well and recorded the Kgwanyape Band. It was like a Tswana-Celtic sound, a beautiful mixture. There were some ex-pats playing in the band, the guitarist was from Germany, Mandolin player from England, a flutist from Australia and the rest of the guys were Tswana.Here is that beautiful album. 

Q. OK so Gary, Herselmann, The Kêrels, we have to talk about them…

A. They were playing around Jamesons where a lot of the Shifty A&R was done. I loved The Kêrels, like just about everyone else who saw them. Gary’s personality just shone through the music. You know Gary, he has always got a take on things that transports you from the serious, put it that way. The eternal binger. I think that Jannie (Hannepoort van Tonder of the Gereformeerde Blues Band) has a fantastic description of him: he is the kind of guy that would be jolling for 3 days with no sleep and still be the sharpest, funniest brain in the room. Koos describes him turning into a dog for the Voëlvry Tour, which he did for the whole tour! He would sit under the table and snap at people’s ankles as they passed by. But anyway, this is the first Kêrels album released by Shifty, Ek Sê.. 

Q. The Radio Rats Big Beat album because I think that was one of the best releases on Shifty. Was that an enjoyable album to make?

A. We did Titus Groan before that, a single called Agony.. https://sjambokmusic.com/2014/10/13/titus-groan/

It was interesting for me to do that. The Radio Rats were the first proper band that I played in so to revisit them almost ten years later was kinda interesting. The songs were maybe not quite as in the box as their debut Into the Night We Slide but there were some really great songs there. Which was my favourite now? Pesthouse… 

Q. The live Shifty releases and there were some really good ones…

A. The Jameson’s thing of course (Cherry Faced Lurchers Live At Jamesons).. 

Winston’s Jive Mix Up, I think that album is great but it has never been properly released. That is one we must do on vinyl I think… 

Q. There were a few really good compilation albums that featured some artists who did not do full albums with Shifty like Nude Red.. Can you tell us about those?

A. We did 2 compilations back then. There was A Naartjie in our Sosatie and then Forces Favourites and those were quite early albums. Naartjie was probably number 5, around 1985. That had Bernoldus on it and this guy called Timothy that just arrived on our doorstep fresh up from Transkei. I don’t know how the hell he found us. Very sweet guy, he couldn’t play an instrument, but he sang us some stuff and we really liked it. We composed a backing, recorded him and then he disappeared again… He’s on that album but we didn’t even get to know his surname… 

Q. there was also this guy Stan James on there wasn’t there?

A.Stan, yes, a very good friend of Roger Lucey and in-fact he performed at Roger’s After The Thunder concert. Both Rogers recording and Stan’s recording on A Naartjie In Our Sosatie are from that concert…Here is Roger..

and this is Stan.. 

Q. So what are you working on now?

A. It is as you find the time. None of these things are going to make anyone any money. It just happens to be lockdown now so I found a little time to remix The Other White Album (James Phillips). I’ve got the brains trust in – everyone involved that was still around to criticism the mixes. I am also using Willem Moller’s ears as a second opinion. That is going to come out this year to mark 25 years since James’ passing. On the 31st July, on the anniversary of his death we put out a compilation album of the people that performed at the Concert For James. I put the video of the show up recently as part of the Shifty Lockdown Viral Picture Show… 

If you go to the Shifty site and go to the Lockdown Festival you will find that almost all the movies are still there… https://shifty.co.za/records/documentaries/

Shifty September, that was a roaring success. what did that mean for you?

A. Hmmm, You came up for it especially, didn’t you?

Me: Ja, I couldn’t miss that…

A. That was such a roller coaster ride for me, hey! Jean Bourdin from Alliance Française approached me to use Shifty to celebrate 20 years of democracy in South. Now, that is a compliment. It was only supposed to be one or two events at the Alliance but it just started snowballing in my head. So eventually we had six events at Alliance, plus the big concert, so it became six months of work. I went through all the archives, videos, all the memories came flooding back. Jean was amazing, you might mention him in this. He is one of those enablers of culture in the most subtle way. He was however there for you every time you needed him, you know, organising the events, trying to find funding, whatever. The Alliance’s are really a language school. That is what they do, but part of their mandate is to promote culture, but Jean was so into music that he always walked the extra mile. He is back in France now, but it is his biggest dream is to open up a jazz club in Joburg because he loves the country and the music so much. As anyone will know, this is not a good idea, but it is a fine dream. Ja, so he was a great help and that is also where Bill (Botes) got involved, another amazing guy. Just does it for the love of it. Tried to pay him, tried to get him to take money from ticket sales, he refused. he spent months on that. He is driven by the love of the music and he makes things happen. It’s nice to have people like that around. and it is a great compliment to a guy like me who is recording the stuff. I really don’t like the act of trying to sell it. Bill loves that shit. Where was he in the heydays of Shifty! Would have been amazing to have had him around.

And then we got to a stage when things started to change. The Robben Island prisoners were released and Mandela was released and we had just recorded Vusi. The CEO of the newly formed BMG Africa was incredibly keen on Vusi and I surmise that he did a joint venture with Shifty just to get Vusi. There were a couple of records that were recorded in that period: Sunny Skies with James (Phillips), Zen Surfing with Robin Auld. I think Matthew van der Want and Urban Creep as well, though maybe I’m wrong about that. That was probably with Tic Tic Bang. Confused. Van der Want/Letcher was after that, brillianT!…

We were only with them for 3 years because it was a fuck up. Their sales staff were not interested in what we were doing so we would make the records and then nothing would happen. It was almost worse than before when we had little idea of what we were doing in terms of trying to sell things, but by that stage, I had had it. There were just too many repeats of these really incredibly talented young people coming through my doors with nowhere to go. Towards the end of the ’80’s, I knew there was no hope for them in terms of a career in SA, so what do you say to them? Stop recording, stop playing, no, you can’t say that. The only thing you can say is: “Go overseas”. It almost felt as though I was facilitating an illusion, you know what I mean? I was incredibly excited about the music, the people around Shifty were incredibly excited about the music, we knew we had done good albums, but often with just one venue in Joburg, sometimes a venue in Durban and maybe one or two in Cape Town, that was it. No radio play because the music was too interesting for radio. And then absolutely no other infrastructure in terms of management, etc. So after you have been doing that for 12 years…

Q. Neil Johnston on Radio 5 was a great help wasn’t he?

A. Ja, Neil was great, Benjie was always very supportive of what we did and journalists were always very supportive – you know Gus Silber and Richard Haslop, all those guys. We only got radio play every now and then. Tim Modese was a DJ at Bop radio and he broke Sankomoto for us. Richard Prior said he wore out 3 albums playing Sankomota over and over again. Sankomoto was always an evergreen for us. Never huge sales, but it always sold every month, timeless, you know… So by the mid-’90s, by the new dispensation, I was ready to move on……You can find the parts of the Shifty catalogue on most online platforms, but Bandcamp has all of it: https://shiftyrecords.bandcamp.com/

Also check out the Shifty website: https://shifty.co.za/

On behalf of all the artists recorded by Shifty Records, I would just like to thank Lloyd for all his incredible work and for all the albums that would not otherwise have been heard. Shifty Records is a very important part of South African Music and Lloyd Ross and Ivan Kadey can feel very proud. Cheers Lloyd and thank you for the incredible music.

Ernesto Garcia Marques 12/08/2020

Carl Raubenheimer – Illegal Gatherings and Corporal Punishment | Jive Talking and Eyeballing

From Jive Talking and Eyeballing Facebook Group


Q. Howzit Carl, It is an honour for me to be able to help tell your story because as far as I know it never has. Did you start playing in Springs and carry on in Grahamstown or the other way round?
A. My first band was in Springs, but don’t ask me now what it was called. All I know was that we wrote our own songs. Pretty much a jam band. We used an old gramophone as an amp. It’s main claim to fame was that we invented a weird kind of guitar synthesiser by putting the record needle on the bass string of a guitar that I’d swapped my bicycle for. The feedback we extracted from that old gramophone was unbelievable. I think that’s where my love for Psychedelia came from. But it’s also probably the single reason we never made it out of the garage. You couldn’t lug a gramophone around to a gig. If anybody out there wants to try doing the same thing with the record needle I promise the sound will blow you away.


Q. Can you tell us about your first band – Amazing Head – which featured Bill Knight in Grahamstown? Bill also mentioned the punk bands, Broederband and later Head Office. Were these just varsity bands gigging around Grahamstown or did you play anywhere else?
A. In Grahamstown Bill and I started Amazing Head. We mainly played at the folk club but had a couple of gigs in and around Grahamstown and one in Port Alfred at a dance type thing. Went down like a lead balloon. It was a band with a revolving line up. Sometimes just two or three of us but once when we were playing at the great hall our numbers leapt up to about eight or nine of us. The only reason we played in the great hall was because Colin Shamley or some much bigger act ran out of petrol on the way down to Grahamstown and we were offered a chance to play. As soon as the organisers heard our first song they leapt into action and spent the next half an hour trying to get us off the stage. But we were having none of it and played our whole set. After that we weren’t even allowed to play at the folk club!


Q. And then you had something called “Carl Mark’s”?
A. Well. In between Rhodes and the rest of my life there was a period back in Springs when there was nothing do but wait for Godot so Mark Bennett and I got this little folk duo called Carl Mark’s together. One of us had organised a local folk club which had meetings in the East Geduld Recreation club. Musicians like Jonathan Handley, Dave Ledbetter, James Phillips and us played there.
I’d heard about this music competition in Klerksdorp. First prize was a recording contract which in those days we thought was quite a good idea. So we decided to get into my little blue beetle and off we went. We played a pretty decent set as far as I remember but we came nowhere. The winner was this old ballie on a bek fluitjie. We couldn’t believe it. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the kompetisie was organised by the Afrikaans Taalkunde Vereeniging. And with a name like Carl Mark’s…. Well.

Q. So did Corporal Punishment emerge from Carl Mark’s?
A. Sort of. Jonathan Handley from the Rats had moved into my suburb and although he was from Welkom he was by far the coolest person we’d met in Springs. He was also writing his own songs and was busy getting the Radio Rats together. It was only natural that we’d set up a loose collaboration of musicians even though we weren’t in the same band. We knew after hearing his stuff and jamming in the back yard of his house that that was the way our music should move. Mark and I soon realised that what we actually wanted was an electric band with loud amps and a drummer etc.

Q. So how did Corporal Punishment come about?
A. Well after Rhodes university I had the small matter of conscription to contend with. I had never had any intention of going to the Army. There was a Dutch organisation called “Omkeer” which I’d contacted. They facilitated South African conscientious objectors get refugee status in the Netherlands. The only problem was that I had to get there to apply. And there was no way I had that kind of money. I decided to pretend to be insane and managed to inveigle my way into the embrace of military psychiatry. Ward 22 at 2 mil hospital. While I was there I slipped over the fence to the entertainment unit for an interview and lo and behold they accepted me. So there I was. In the first six months of military service. Not my ideal, but better than infantry. At the same time my old pal James Phillips was in the last six months of his stint. I had organised a flat in Pretoria and James used to come around every night and we started jamming and writing songs together. That was the beginning of Corporal Punishment

Q. That was 1978, the disco era. You started off quite funky in the beginning but then you became more alternative. Did the Radio Rats have any influence on you?
A. Yes very much so. But other things also influenced us. Even though we started off in the Disco era, it was also just two years after the ’76 Soweto uprising. We’d been conscientised. There was more than just one agenda in our world.

Q. The first time I heard Corporal Punishment was with the 2 songs you had on the Six Of the Best compilation album released by Benjy Mudie’s WEA Records. Did Benjy approach you to submit tracks or how did that come together?
You recorded 2 songs for that album, Victim’s Victim and the brilliant Raubenheimer penned; Goddess of Depression. Can you tell us about the latter, which for me is one of the greatest South African songs of all time?
Here is Goddess:


A. Well thank you. I think Victim’s Victim is utter rubbish. Something I’m ashamed to admit I wrote. But you’re right “Goddess” is fantastic. Not just because it’s my song but the Corporals gave it such an amazing feel. Much later after Corporal Punishment had disbanded we had a brief revival and played a couple of gigs in Joburg and Lloyd Ross allowed us access to his Shifty mobile studio which was a caravan parked outside the garage where we were rehearsing. We re-recorded some of our songs and “Goddess” was one of them. Even better the second time round. All those songs eventually ended up on the cassette release “The Voice of Nooit” Get it if you can!

Q. Corporal Punishment seem to split between heavy political commentary about the injustices of Apartheid like on Darkie and Brain Damage. Do you think you were a political band or just commenting on the times and your working class background?
This is Brain Damage…


A. Of course we were political. The country was completely fucked up. We were involved in an indefensible war. Racism had seduced all the whities into believing that we would always be able to get jobs, we would always have money, our lives would always be safe. All we had to do was look the other way. All of us! The Corporals couldn’t ignore what was going on. But at the same time James and I were in the army, Mark Bennett had a nicely paid job. So what to do. We sang heavy songs about the shit that was going on. I changed my name so that “Sersant Majoor de Koker” wouldn’t find out about my “other” life. In interviews we said that we were just “ordinary okes”. We hoped that the other “ordinary okes” would also start putting up their “ordinary” hands and things could maybe start changing!


Q. Jonathan Handley of the Radio Rats said of you, “…the Corporals were completely fucking unacceptable. They smoked dope and were very political”. Your comment to that? Time to call in the exterminators?
A. Yes

Q. The band released a four song EP: Fridays and Saturdays?
A. At the time the Rats had secured a recording contract and Greg Cutler, their record producer, had organised a demo recording session at SATBEL studios so that he could familiarise himself with their songs. But Jonathan was our chom and he gave us four hours of their studio time. The Corporals pulled in sober and we recorded 4 songs which ended up on that EP. I then took the EP around to all the record companies, again looking for that idiotic thing, “The Recording Contract”.
I think “spat out” would be a good phrase.
Corporal Punishment broke up in 1980. James Phillips went to university in Grahamstown and Carl Raubenheimer moved to Cape Town. But Carl and James were to be reunited again in another band called “The Illegal Gathering”.
The Illegal Gathering were Carl Raubenheimer (guitar/vocals), James Phillips (guitar and vocals), Wayne Raath (drums) and another Springs alumni, David Ledbetter (bass/guitar & vocals). Legend states that the band spent 6 weeks in the Cape Town summer of 1982 writing most of their songs, rehearsing them, playing live and then recording them (onto a 4 track cassette machine). The songs produced by The Illegal Gathering composed half of the tracks on The Voice Of Nooit, a cassette released by Shifty Records in 1986 which also featured Corporal Punishment.
The title, “The Voice of Nooit” was adapted from a poem by James Phillips which was featured in Jonathan Handley’s Palladium fanzine – “This is the Voice Of Nooit”… https://illegalgathering.bandcamp.com/releases

Q. Did you ever try to get this released on vinyl because it would have made an awesome split LP?
A. Nope. By this time I’d had it with the record industry. But I am so proud of this little adventure. We infiltrated the Broadway building in the Foreshore. My friend Piet Maree had found this abandoned studio one floor below the American embassy. Already there was the biggest mixing desk I’d ever seen. All we had to do was bring in the Portastudio, the wine and the zol. We also brought in some blankets to dampen the audio in various areas of the studio. We took it seriously. So did the embassy staff who thought we were moving in. Their first cadenza was when James took to stomping through the corridors with his size 12 bare feet recording sound effects. The thing is that the music was absolutely beautiful in its own dissolute way. Three songs were used in the movie “The Bang Bang Club”.

Q. In 1984 you released a brilliant and very controversial compilation LP called “Out Of the Blue”. The LP featured an all Cape Town line-up of bands with songs by The Quarter Zones, Tony Wood, Wunderbah, Carl Helgard (Raubenheimer himself), Under 2 Flags, The Outfitters, Bionic Automaton and The Illegal Gathering. Can you tell us how you came to put this album together? Did you do it in conjunction with Chris Quirke who had his Observatory productions tape distribution? No album or subsequent release captures the excitement and buzz of Cape Town music in the mid-80’s as this release does and it should really be rereleased on vinyl or failing that on CD. Go for it Carl.
I will help…
A. The thing about that record is that it had a few different silk screened covers so that, apart from the music, if you come across it, and you’ve got one signed by David Rosen, you’re in luck. This is the same David Rosen who went on to become a leading designer in the New York fashion scene so I’d imagine it might even have some value attached to it. Chris and I were both into that Indie thing so his Obs Prods and my Skate productions although similar in intent weren’t part of the same stable. But you’re right. There was some amazing music on that record. I’ve still got a couple but sorry for you. I’m not letting them go.

Q. Carl’s next band caused quite a stir in the live Cape Town scene but alas I never did see Teenage Botha live. It featured Joelle Chesselet, mother of Alice Phoebie Lou. The band played many drunken gigs at the Base, Club Indaba and what else can you say about that band Carl?
A. Not so much of the drunken… This was the biggest band I ever played in. At one stage I think there were maybe 14 members in it. The guys were all attracted there by the presence of three extremely talented and dare I say it, beautiful female musicians. What can I say? One by one the guys left until only the musicians who were interested in the songs remained. Teenage Botha wasn’t a bad band by a long chalk but we were playing in an era of uncoolness. The cultural boycott meant that we all had to be embarrassed to be alive. Even now I find it hard to make that kind of statement. Forgive me Steve.

Q. The next band Carl Formed was “Shake Baby” The band managed to get 2 songs on the In from the Cold album. I believe you were not too thrilled at being on an album with all the other, mostly gothic bands….
Here is In from the Cold featuring 2 tracks by Carls Shake Baby band from 1988….


A. Well if you listen to that record you’ll notice that we sound like wedding gatecrashers who refused to dance on broken glass. It wasn’t worth the trouble.

Q. Moving to Cape Town in 1988 I went to go and see Carl’s next band The Beat Poets many times. The bands saxophonist Vernon Matzopoulos ran the Cafe Royal club in Church Street Cape Town and for a few years it was the mecca of the live music scene. Every Friday and Saturday the Cafe Royal used to put on gigs by all the best local bands of the time including, Bill Knight, Koos Kombuis, Valiant Swart, Artvark, the Beat poets themselves, Piet Retief and the Great Trek and many other cool bands. Those were incredible days hey Carl, most definitely a highlight of my jolling days. Can you recall any special moments there? When and why did it close?
A. My abiding memory of that club was when I gave up smoking and I used to go there because it was so smoky you didn’t have to put lip to filter in order to smoke. I was there every Friday and Saturday night even if we weren’t playing. Actually I have a very special memory of playing the Cafe Royal. It was December ’89 and I was getting married. Koos Kombuis had a residency at the Cafe and Gary Kerel wasn’t able to make it and I was asked to fill in for him on bass. Of course I was in like Flynn. The other musicians in Koos’s band were James Phillips, Mark Bennett and Steve Howells – all ex Corporals. So… one thing led to another and we had this secret reunion. A one off. Unfucking believable. I’ve got photo’s of Steve Howells looking so beserk that I know we also had to have been that way.
The rumours of the demise of the Cafe Royal… Well we know there was a fire and we also know there was an insurance claim but you never heard that from me.

Q. Your next outfit was called A Hundred Camels In The Courtyard?
I’d discovered an author called Paul Bowles. One of his short stories was called “A pipe of kif before breakfast gives a man the strength of a hundred camels in the courtyard” I bust that and smoked it. The band had some groovy musicians and some interesting songs but I think I was getting to the stage where it was all just getting to be a little too much.

Q. So where was your mind at that time
A. Over the years every time I resigned from a job I’d buy recording gear from my pension contributions so by this stage I had put together a pretty decent recording studio. I went to ground in there. I ended up recording literally hundreds of songs. Some of them are brilliant. Some of them are utter crap!

Q. It was a very sad day for South Africa when James Phillips died and a very sad day for you in particular as James was your mate, your old school buddy and it must have hurt so bad.
I believe you were instrumental in the organisation of the Concert for James show at the River Club in Cape Town which featured the cream of south African musicians at the time. Did you put the show together?
Not really. It was a collaborative thing. It really couldn’t go wrong. Apart from all the other musicians who’d given their time, we put together a tribute band called “The Phillipstines”. What a line up. Myself on bass, guit, vocals. Dave Ledbetter on keys, vocals, Steve Howells on drums, Hanepoot van Tonder on trombone, Buddy Wells on sax, Marcus Wyatt on trumpet, Willem Moller on Guit, Tim Parr also on guit, Aletta bezuidenhout – vocals and what was that guy’s name from Blood Sweat and Tears also on a horn of some sort. D’you know that feeling when you’re about to fall asleep and it feels like you’re bobbing in a taut spiders web. That’s what that band felt like. There are recordings of that concert but I’ve never heard them.
There was another Concert for James show in Johannesburg shortly after this. The shows were slightly different as the Radio rats played at the Jo’burg gig but not the Cape town one….
This was the Concert for James. The day the music died in south Africa and a part of it really did… https://jamesphillips.co.za/concert-for-james/
Lloyd Ross of Shifty Records put together a very moving movie for James called famous for Not being Famous.


Durban film maker Michael Cross also made a wonderful movie on James called The Fun’s Not Over and it is really, really good don’t you think Carl?


A. Michael Cross is an unbelievably talented film maker. He made two impossible to make documentaries. Firstly the Radio Rats and then the James Phillips one. Neither of those films had any kind of access to archival material and yet he still managed to make two utterly watchable movies. Well done Michael.

Q. These days Carl works as a freelance cameraman. Are you still doing that and still making music? I remember years ago you said that one day they would find you collapsed over your PC working on some new tracks.
I presume you are still composing your own music and did you write any new songs during the lockdown in South Africa? If you have any music online on Bandcamp or anywhere please share link…
A. I spent an incredibly fruitful period in the nineties and noughties recording hundreds and possibly thousands of songs. I stopped wondering long ago about what these recordings mean. What am I going to do with them. One of my biggest failings I’m told is that I don’t know when a song is finished. I keep adding to it. Just one more bit of guitar. Just a teensy little harmony. Maybe another synthesizer pad. During the time of the plague I’ve had a chance to go back to those recordings and what I’ve found hidden in that over recorded miasma are the most beautiful little echoes, the most gentle harmonics and the most hidden roarings of guitars. Me? I’m just going to mine my own trove!

Q. I have just one last question and I would appreciate it if you would give an honest answer. Where is the jol?
A. I’ve got no idea.


Thanks so much Carl, Looking forward to more bands and more releases…

Ernesto Garcia Marques 30/07/2020

Jive Talking and Eyeballing

Hammerhead Hotel, feat Falling Mirror, Jack Hammer, The Dolly Rockers, McCully Workshop, Radio Rats

Hammerhead Hotel | photo: Michael Currin
Hammerhead Hotel | photo: Michael Currin


Track List

1. Bus Station – Fly Paper Jet
2. Hammerhead Hotel – Falling Mirror
3. Alison – Dolly Rockers
4. Getting Better – Scabby Annie
5. Shock Time For Rock – The Popguns
6. Morrison Hotel – Jack Hammer
7. Werewolf In The House – Falling Mirror
8. Kamikasi – McCully Workshop
9. Mucking About In The Dungeons All Day – Radio Rats
10. Monster From The Bog – Psycho Reptiles
11. Bellville Rock City – New World Inside
12. Psycho Bitch – Toxic Shame
13. Boxstar Kitty – Three Bored White Guys
14. Blue Eyed Devil – Th’ Damned Crows
15. Psycho-Babble – Lancaster Band
16. Britney Spears – Tweak
17. Babydoll Blues – The Ragdolls
18. Psycho – Them Tornados
19. Woo Hoo! – Fire Through The Window
20. Baby Girl You’re Gonna Burn! – Peachy Keen
21. Drakilla – The Psykotix
22. Surfin’ With The Goth Gang – Martin Rocka And The Sick Shop
23. Krokodil – Retro Dizzy
24. Buccaneer – Moyawetu
25. Beethoven Is Dying – Koos Kombuis En Die Warmblankes
26. Only Yesterday – Sharkbrother
27. Boomtown Hotel – Valiant Swart
28. Kitchener – Piet Botha
29. Praha Paradise (2007 version) – Ernestine Deane feat Tim Parr
30. Die Gipsy In Jou Oë – Anna Davel
31. Farewell To Gypsy – Bonekey

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: