The SA Rock Digest is a weekly,
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In this issue:
Radio Rats
In Concert
Famous Curtain Trick
Bryan Adams
Splashy Fen
Bush Radio
Off The Edge
Outlaw Records
Nostalgia Rules, OK?
Crazy Fingers
UK Report
Write a Song
McCully Workshop - Buccaneer
Pop Quiz
Voting Booth
SA Rock album
SA Pop and Rock song
McCully Workshop album


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

Read it, digest it, enjoy it, send in your comments
and tell your friends....

"Rock" is a very general term encompassing rock and roll,
pop, folk, rock, ethnic-rock, prog-rock, jazz-rock, country-rock,
soul, R&B, metal, indie, alternative, new wave, reggae, etc, etc.

Don't get hung up...if you want to say something about the music
YOU like, go ahead, say it.

I've made it easier for digest members to submit their contributions...
go to: and fill in the form.

If you've send in a contribution and its not here yet, please be patient, it should
appear soon.

252 subscribers and counting....



Andy Harrod from One World has very kindly offered a
5% discount to Digest members buying CDs online.

Visit, shop around, and when
submitting your info, type "Digest Member" in brackets
after your name.



Looking for Radio Rats, Popguns, Chauffeurs or Glee Club recordings?
Contact Johathan Handley for a catalogue at:

Radium Wreckords
Suite 207
Private Bag X10



I had a real treat on Tuesday night, getting to see Famous Curtain Trick
open for Bryan Adams. This 4-piece South African band was best described
by my colleague (and digest member), Nigel Berry, who said they sound like
"South Africa's answer to Texas". Very apt description for this great band.

Fronted by the very sexy Nadine Raal on vocals, acoustic guitar, tambourine and waving hair, Famous Curtain Trick played raunchy acoustic/electric rock with some superb drumming by Craig Nash, a fat bass sound from Duncan Smith and excellent lead breaks from the guitarist, Mike Whitehead (in a cowboy hat).

My yardstick for a good concert is always; "do I want to buy a CD of this artist as soon as possible?" That was true when the Pressure Cookies opened for Meatloaf in 1995 and its true again for Famous Curtain Trick. Well done to Nadine and the guys for impressing this old-time rocker and, judging by the audience response, a lot of other people were impressed too. I saw a number of other digest members there as well, so please feel free to add your comments on the concert.

Oh...and Bryan Adams wasn't bad either.

In fact the Bryan Adams Trio rocked the Velodrome!!

A three-piece band with Bryan on bass, they really seemed to enjoy themselves.
A couple of slow numbers were performed to please the hopeless romantics in the audience, but this was really a Rock and Roll Party. Power trio rock like ZZ Top or Cream in their hey-day. That Keith Scott is one incredible guitarmeister. Stunning fluid guitar-runs followed by chunky power-chording kept the crowd hopping and bopping. And Bryan the bassist...who knew? What talent.

His voice was in fine form right up to the closing "Everything I Do (I Do It For You"). Incredible...cold shivers stuff.

He has promised to come back soon, and I really hope he does.



There were of course many highlights. Among the many: TIMELESS - Pops Mohamed & Bruce Cassidy. Really classic & timeless music that fitted into the environment & the occasion. Pity, without generators, when the ESCOM power went down, they had to give up their 'sun set' slot on the Bamboo Stage to be thrown into the marquee. But still, despite having to overcome the din & racket of the keg brigade, these remarkable & legendary musicians kept their cool & got across to many people purely on the strength of their timeless music - rather than through the power of sound. So too did the best party band - that I could only hear from a distance - YOUNG BA CUBA from Zaire. Proves my point - through music, talent & skill, a band can be far more effective in giving people a good time, than relying only on the technical power of sound & lights.

The stunning surprise in the Marquee was WENDY OLDFIELD. (With the remarkable bass/percussion combination of CONCORD NKABINDE & GODFREY MCGINA). There's a 'development' example. Outside the narrow confines of music circles, Wendy was never known as a music force in this country. She has been associated, through radio & media industry hype - and record label miss-productions - to a particular marginal 'pop' channel. On Friday evening the 1st of May she proved just how talented, powerful & different she could be. WONDERBOOM were forever the humour & soul of the party.

On the open stages there were a number of best acts: VALIANT SWART was certainly among the best solo / duos. Another amazing surprise was KEN E HENSON'S " 'NDANGERED SPECIES." They would have killed on any two of the other 'main' stages. SYD KITCHEN (with a drummer) had a wonderfully entertaining & (as usual) humorous set. JACK IN THE GREEN would have got any keg crowd on their feet anywhere, but they had to be content with putting on a power musical performance to an appreciative audience of about 100 on the amphitheater rocks. APART TOGETHER (GAVIN WEEKS, DAVID GOLDBLUM & ANTON CALITZ - remarkable individualist songwriters from PE) combined to make a unique sound & gave hope for the craft of the beleaguered local singer-songwriter / troubadour in this country.

With 3 stages one missed a whole bunch of acts, but generally speaking a good time was had by all.

-- David Marks, Third Ear Music



Ian Bell wrote:

Perhaps I could also write a bit about the bands I played with in my youth,
including Abstract Truth, and my radio program which I've presented for 2
and a half years ("Blues In The Bush", Bush Radio, 89.5 FM on Sunday nights
between 8.00 and 10.00pm) a program on the history and origin of Blues and

{Editor: feel free, Ian...send your stuff in}


Judy Marshall and Peter Hanmer (two-thirds of Off The Edge) were
interviewed by Phil Wright and Leon Economides on 5FM on Sunday night
between 10.30 and 11pm. Phil played 2 tracks from the On The Run CD;
The Critics and If There Is Love.

Rafe Levine is featuring On The Run as the Essential CD of the Week on SAFM this week. Rafe is playing tracks on his PM Jive show every day from Monday to Friday between 3 and 5pm.

You can also hear some MP3s on the Net at:

We hope to have an Off The Edge screensaver available for download shortly...
watch this space!



Andrew Ziffo wrote:

The address of the Wynberg shop (phone 7972482) is 3 CHB Building (opposite
the entrance to Wynberg Hospital, just down the road from the library
parking lot), Maynard Road, Wynberg.

The phone number in town is 4238145.
55 Castle Street (off Long Street).

We are opening a new Outlaw branch in Claremont (do you remember Disc record
library? - we will be in the same premises).

I can offer your readers a 10% discount - and perhaps you could also mention
that we buy CD's...

{Editor: If you are looking to buy or sell CDs and vinyl, try Outlaw Records
and remember to mention that you are SA Rock Digest member
to get that 10% discount.}


Andy Harrod wrote:

A gig at Bozzoli Hall at Wits about 1993/4. Opening by Dog Detachment or No Exit, maybe both. Wild and exciting, but nothing compared to Asylum Kids, who burst onto the stage in an explosion of Pogo-ing and general craziness. Steve Howells didn't have a drum stool and was using an empty parrafin drum. I was in the front pogo-ing with the best of all, so I had a prime view of the finale which was a manic explosion of drumming, culminating in him falling off the makeshift stool and into the drum kit amid a cacophony of falling cymbals, hi-hats and Robbie's guitar slowly dying. Wheew! I'm almost sapped of energy thinking about it!

A gig in the hotel(?) in Banket Steet, Hillbrow, probably about a similar time. We'd just knocked off work at Hillbrow Records and we went up to see a band fronted by a VERY out-of-it female singer. They also had two drummers and psychedelic video projections slicing across the small stage. It was weird beyond my immediate comprehension at the time. I have no idea who they were - Khaki Monitor? They were way out and in a different league to other bands at the time. Probably closest to Kalahari Surfers - (by the way, a new best of Surfers is coming out soon.)


Jeff Beck has a new CD out entitled "Who Else!" instrumental guitar tour-de-force.

What has this got to do with the '"South African" Rock Digest, you may well ask.

Well, there is also a brand new book on Jeff Beck titled "Crazy Fingers", written by Annette Carson who just happens to be a South African living in Johannesburg...and the book is also printed in SA by Creda Communications.

Extensive research has gone into this book which starts with Jeff Beck's early years in the Yardbirds, right up to today. Easy reading with a detailed discography and sessionography to please any fan of the guitar genius known as Jeff Beck.

I highly recommend this superb book.

Annette's e-mail address is: <>


Nigel Walsh wrote:

Just to let you know the Off the Edge CD arrived this morning. It's getting
its first airing as I type ­ no judgements yet. Stephan Forster is popping
round for a few beers and a nostalgic trip through my catalogue of SA

<pause for a few hours>

Stephan's just left, lugging a bunch of vinyl and CDs, having left me with a
bunch of stuff - Clout, Rabbitt, Snakeshed, Tribe After Tribe, Laxton, etc.
Interestingly, he has the first Off The Edge on vinyl so we were able to
compare some of the tracks across 16 years of development. I'd have to say
the first album has a kinda 'rough' appeal - I liked it. The CD I won is
very smooth by comparison, as if the guys have had the urgency and rough
edges/passion worn off over the years. I'll review in full, if you're
interested, once I've given it a fair hearing.

I've been on even more of a nostalgia trip of late than usual so have
nothing much new to recommend. I did get the Hendrix double 'Live at
Fillmore East', which is pretty spectacular if you like him. I'd always
really liked 'Band of Gypsys' and 'Cry of Love' so this album (with more
tracks) is interesting in that some of the jamming bits clearly evolved to
become tracks on 'Cry of Love'. Going back to him for the first time in at
least 10 years makes me realise just what a void he left. The things he was
doing all those years ago were just staggering (from a guitar-phobe).

Other than that it's been Mike Harrison (Spooky Tooth) solo, Spooky Tooth
'It's All About' (original) and 'You Broke My Heart ...', Assagai, Kalahari
Surfers' 'In The Heart of the Beast', some old Martha and the Muffins, etc.

Er ... and Deep Purple In Rock (20th anniversary version CD at £6.50).
Couldn't resist it. Plus Barclay James Harvest - The Harvest Years, worth it
for 'Mocking Bird', 'Mr Sunshine' and 'She Said' alone.

{Editor: Nigel and Stephan both live in the UK and made contact through the digest.
Now what about that Off The Edge review then, Nigel?}


Tony Groenewald wrote:

The USA Songwriting competition is open to anybody and everybody and any style of music.

The competition is in association with Billboard Publications, Fender Musical Interments, Mackie Cakewalk and many more.

Entries are accepted up until May 31st 1999.

You can also check it out on
Or you can get more info from Ira Greenfield at



Over the past 25 years, The McCully brothers, Tully and Mike, have become an integral part of the South African rock/pop scene. Their 4th album, Workshop Revisited, released in the late ‘70s, shot them to prominence when it introduced SA fans to hits like ‘Buccaneer’ and ‘Chinese Junkman’. The album also saw Mike McCully winning the 1978 “Songwriter Of The Year” award. Skip forward to the ‘90s and we find Tully McCully running one of the finest recording studios in Cape Town while brother Mike chalks up further success with his stage musicals like “60-Something”, which played to over 350,000 people over a five year period.

With many older SA albums getting a new lease of life on CD, the McCullys’ decided to rework some of their classic songs. They went into the studio and a while later they emerged with a freshened-up ’98 version of ‘Buccaneer’. The original band members, Richard Black (lead guitar and vocals) and Rupert Mellor (keyboard and vocals), were recalled to help flesh out these songs. Mike McCully played drums and Tully handled the guitar, bass and vocals while Kevin Gibson (drums) and ex-Falling Mirror member Allan Faull (lead guitar) helped out as well. A very excited response from fans and the media raised the possibility of this album getting an overseas release.

From the first notes of opening track ‘Buccaneer’, it is obvious that this popular ‘70s hit song has been given a ‘90s tweaking and the sound is crisper and cleaner for it. Tully McCully produced, arranged and engineered this album at his Spaced Out Studios in Cape Town and the original band line-up got the opportunity to redo the work they did so many years ago. The result is an uptempo and timeless pop album that combines the old and the new.

The 2 big hits from the ‘Workshop Revisited' album are here, the hearty and harmonic ‘Buccaneer’ and the similar-sounding and equally hooky ‘Chinese Junkman’ plus the yearning, acoustic ballad ‘Why Can’t It Rain’ from 1970. There is also the folky ‘Sweet Fields Of Green’ and the soaring rock of ‘Guinevere’ (not a cover of the CS&N song). The McCully’s songs have a ‘70s feel, but stand proudly alongside some of the similar ‘90s pop coming out of South Africa.

A number of new tracks were also recorded and appear on this album alongside the old revitalized classics.

Visit the McCully Workshop website for more info on this great band.

Stephen Segerman (and Brian Currin)


Last week's question:

What is Manfred Mann's real name?

Michael Leibowitz (or "Lubowitz" according to some sources) was born in Johannesburg on 21st October 1940.

The first correct answer came, very appropriately, from Stuart Mann who wins the double CD, "The No 1 60s Collection" kindly supplied by Chris Venter from Universal Music.

This nostalgic 2CD set compiled by Chris Venter is a wonderful slice of 60's pop, psychedelia, rock and easy listening. From Acker Bilk's Stranger On The Shore to Arthur Brown's Fire, this CD really is the Number 1 collection of 60's memories. Also includes Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin's oft-banned "Je'Taime".

No South African tracks, but it does include 2 songs from one of SA's greatest musical exports, Manfred Mann.


This week's question:

What does "Harari" mean?

The first correct answer wins Harari's Greatest Hits Volume 2 supplied by Derek Smith from Gallo.

Harari fused the sounds of Africa with a polished American sound not unlike Toto.
They dominated the late 70s/early 80s scene in South Africa, headlining their own shows and supporting various overseas visitors like Wilson Pickett, Brook Benton
and Percy Sledge.

This second volume of hits includes such powerful songs as Get Up And Dance, Soweto Sunset, We've Got the Rhythm and Rock Steady. Funky tunes with incredible rhythms and some soaring rock guitar. Highly recommended.



I am trying to contact my guitar teacher from the early 70's - Steve Baker. He taught in Jhb but was based in Benoni. He also played piano. Can anyone help?

Angie <>



Ian Bell wrote:

...although I'm a guitar player, my principal instrument is the flute on which I play mainly jazz. I have for YEARS wanted to get my hands on a BASS FLUTE -- they are difficult to find, so is there any chance of putting a "wanted" ad in the Digest?
A bass flute is the one that looks like a large hollow walking stick, with the mouthpiece on the handle. Maybe someone knows where I might find one, or perhaps where I might enquire. I've tried the Internet, but in GB Pounds or US Dollars
the prices are ridiculous.

Dr Ian Bell
Barleycorn Chairman

Tel + 27 21 686 3478

"It's never too late to have a happy childhood" (Ian Bell, 1996)


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a book by Garth Chilvers and Tom Jasiukowicz,
published by TOGA Publishing in 1994.

The price for this book, including postage by surface mail and packaging, is R140/$24 for International deliveries and R115.00 within South Africa.

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Sugar on: 021-4889426 or Brian on 082 567 8779



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Speak to Neil or Alan on 021-595 3220 or email Neil at:


Vinyl and second-hand CDs. Always something new.

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Maynard Road, Wynberg


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The SA Rock Digest is compiled by Brian Currin from the
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