TIME TO SUCK – THE FLIPSIDE TO INVESTING?

Time To Suck

Time To Suck

I’m at my favourite record store in Cape Town bemoaning the lack of decent second-hand vinyl these days, when the conversation shifts to collectable South African records – is there such a thing you may ask, as a collector’s market for SA vinyl?

Among aficionados both local and international one thing is certain – LP’s from around the world have become more and more collectable when it comes to certain artists, but more importantly, SA vinyl from the early 1950’s onwards has not escaped the attention of serious collectors worldwide.

“So, what’s the value of a decent copy of Time to Suck by that notorious band SUCK, on the Parlophone label?” I ask.

“Well,” says the owner, “we’ve recently sold a copy to a Russian collector for 20 G’s.”

“Whaaaaat?” I croak, choking on my croissaint!!! 20000 rand for a piece of plastic!!

In 1970 when the record was released, you could buy a new copy for R1.99 at the local record shop, so do the math – it’s about a million and some percent profit over 50 years.

Even cryptocurrencies can’t beat that performance it seems, so what’s going on?

And here’s the story: during the late 60’s local Johannesburg-based music promoter Clive Calder saw currency in 5 of the then ” happening ” groups of the time viz. Freedoms Children, Hawk, Otis Waygood Blues Band, Abstract Truth, and ominously, SUCK.

They began recording for Calder at EMI and each released albums over a period of some 5 years, in the process creating some of the most vital and original music ever to be released on these shores.

In most cases only very limited numbers were stamped at EMI’s plant and sold to the public, and unlike European and American markets, were never released again. This is why their values have skyrocketed over the years. In most instances the groups themselves never became wealthy individuals, Calder later built a multi-million-pound music empire in the UK.

Unlike cryptocurrencies which have become huge investment traps, vinyl has some unique qualities which are much more attractive: you get something tangible. a large piece of plastic with a concentric layer of grooves, a central label identifying artist and record company, and most importantly – a hole in the centre!

Removed from a sleeve, most of which are visually gratifying to the eye, the shiny disc is placed on a turntable and the phono cartridge does the job of conveying the music to your ears. Unlike your cryptocurrency, the LP record doesn’t spin out of control over bad news in the marketplace, it keeps appreciating in value over the years with successive hearings.

The thing that really intrigues me with the Suck album is this – essentially, it’s a collection of heavy rock cover versions, only one original song on the entire record. Played with some ferocity, you can’t help thinking these are some pretty mean dudes involved. The cover doesn’t help, a young boy sitting in front of somebody’s bass drum.

That drum belonged to Savvy Grande, who whacked the skins for Suck, along with cohorts Andy Ionnides, Louis “Moose “Forer and Steve Gilroy.

Savvy Grande

Savvy Grande

Open the cover and there you see the gringos in all their glory, in the heyday which saw them become the most notorious group in the country: they beat a path of musical mayhem and destruction around the country, eventually disbanding because no theatres would allow them to play.

Suck

Suck

“I certainly didn’t get any money from Suck” says a chagrined Savvy, “instead I invested in the restoration of motorcycles, some of which are sold to collectors around the world, some ending up in museums in countries such as Portugal”. Cryptocurrencies don’t interest me at all, I prefer to earn a living using my hands and my technical skills.

Steve Gilroy, a savvy Englishman who came to SA in the 60’s has a different story:

After Suck disbanded, he started a publishing company in Johannesburg, and then began experimenting with home-made beer-making. After several years he expanded his skills into brewing fulltime. He established Gilroy’s in Muldersdrift, which has become popular for his craft beers and his Up Yours poems.

Talking it up has been the making of cryptocurrencies worldwide, but the vinyl revival has ensured that collectors around the globe have achieved more than satisfactory returns from their own collection investments – probably on a far greater measure both aurally and visually.

For those who have SA collectibles the news is good – those shiny plastic discs contain gold – kids, check out dad’s or grandpa’s record collection, there’s bound to be something valuable in there – so much more exciting than sitting on the pc chasing after shadows in the crypto world!

Garth Chilvers / Tom Jasiukowicz

Garth Chilvers and Tom Jasiukowicz published History of Contemporary Music of South Africa, 1994, Toga Publishing.

Tom Jasiukowicz, Steve Gilroy, Garth Chilvers

Tom Jasiukowicz, Steve Gilroy, Garth Chilvers

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_to_Suck

http://www.rock.co.za/files/timetosuck.html

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Worldwide FM presents ‘Cape Town Sounds’ with Gilles Peterson

mabu

Mighty, Gilles, Jacques

Worldwide FM presents ‘Cape Town Sounds’, an audio documentary which explores the rich musical heritage of Cape Town, as part of Lufthansa’s #LHcityofthemonth campaign.

The documentary follows Gilles over the course of the day as he sets out to learn about the history of the city’s music, and infiltrate the dynamic contemporary scene. He begins 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 is from and where it is going, Gilles discovers what makes Cape Town so special.

There is an interview with Stephen “Sugar” Segerman from Mabu Vinyl at about 18 minutes.

The classic song “Sugar Man” by Rodriguez is featured at about 20 minutes.

South African Prog Rock Vol. 1: 1968 to 1982

sa-prog-1

A mix of South African Progressive Rock tracks from 1968 to 1982. Artists featured include Freedoms Children, Abstract Truth, Hawk, Otis Waygood, Duncan Mackay and Third Eye.

More info on all these artists at http://www.rock.co.za

The Mabu Vinyl Blue Trommel Basement aka “The Basement”

Mabu Vinyl Blue Trommel Basement

Mabu Vinyl Blue Trommel Basement

The Mabu Vinyl Blue Trommel Basement, to give it its full official name, is a section of the Mabu Vinyl Storeroom, which is situated in Oranjezicht, just a short distance from the Mabu Vinyl shop in Gardens.

 

While Mabu Vinyl’s well-known shop in Rheede Street will always be filled to the rafters with lots of great records, CDs, DVDs, books, cassettes and other cool stuff, the Blue Trommel Basement is mainly for those vinyl customers and collectors looking for the more collectable and rare records.

 

“The Basement” (or “The Trommels”), as these rooms are affectionately known, is where the more valuable and collectable records that come into Mabu Vinyl, all in top-end condition, can be found. Here you will find a wide selection of international and SA pressings, some of which are sold on eBay, as well as to private buyers and collectors from all over the world who visit the Basement.

 

There are plenty of LPs, 10″ albums, 7″ singles, 12″ maxis, and rare CDs in stock in the “The Trommels”, which is run by Jacques Vosloo, who personally inspects all the new incoming vinyl for imports in either mint or excellent condition, as well as South African pressings in the same shape.

 

A small section of “The Basement” stock can be found in the Mabu Vinyl shop, to give customers an idea of what stock is there and the prices, but anyone wanting to see more records in that condition, can arrange an appointment with Jacques to visit the Basement.

 

Due to the facts that The Basement is based at a private house, and Jacques is sometimes out looking at batches of vinyl, appointments to visit the Basement can only be made by contacting Jacques directly and arranging a time. The address and directions will be given at that stage.

 

Please phone or SMS Jacques on 0799228585 between 11am and 3pm, Tuesdays to Fridays, to make an appointment to visit the Blue Trommel Basement in Oranjezicht, Cape Town.

email: basement@mabuvinyl.co.za

https://www.facebook.com/mabubasement

 

The Road Through The Grove

The Road Through The Grove

In the late 1950s, the 1960s and into the 1970s, Louis Botha Avenue – the road through the Grove – throbbed with life. Lined with shops and eateries, and alive with music and romance, it was the backdrop to a melting-pot of working-class people, many of them with roots in Europe, who had made their homes in Orange Grove and the surrounding suburbs.

Sugar