The South African Rock Music Digest
is a weekly, free, subscription e-mag,
delivered direct to your e-mailbox.

Edited by Brian Currin and
Stephen "Sugar" Segerman.

Subscription and back issue
information at the end.

Established January 1999.



This e-mag is a discussion forum for rock music --
South African and International -- 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.

Contributions and comments:

In this issue:
Pop Quiz
Voting Booths
Back Issues


Press release

The Usual mark the start of an adventure into new musical territory with their latest album BORN IN A STORM. Although retaining the innate
African -- and more particularly Cape Town -- consciousness that marks THE USUAL'S previous recorded work, BORN IN A STORM resonates with the band's commitment to create songs of pure pop craftsmanship that can springboard into international waters with real ease.

BORN IN A STORM was recorded over several weeks in Australia with renowned Australian producer Peter "Reggie" Bowman at his Thunderbox Studios in Melbourne. Bowman's crystalline and stylish production is also evident throughout the album's textured and varied tracks.
Underpinning these songs is a dazzling display of The Usual's trademark
musical proficiency courtesy of guitarist, Tom Fox, bassist Yoyo Buys and drummer, Paul Tizzard.

Singer and main songwriter, James Stewart explains that the band had
experimented with its distinctive style -- it meant "putting our hearts on our sleeves and really committing to a creative ideal".

Taking a somewhat altered musical course was not easy for The Usual.

"We grew up incredibly quickly while working on BORN IN A STORM. I remember walking into the rehearsal room cold with nothing more than a bag of ideas. I've never done that before and it really strips you naked. I think what we've all learnt is a value system that says we can't all be brilliant at everything and to really hone the skills we have" said Stewart.

'Born In A Storm,' the title track is a heartbreakingly beautiful, fluid piece of songwriting. Set over a restrained melody and some delicate guitar work, the song's real strength lies in Stewart's vocals, which glisten and shimmer with devastating force.

"Born In A Storm was a radical song to produce," Stewart confesses.

Another key track off the album is 'So Close', which again showcases Stewart's velvet-encased voice, Fox's inspired guitar work and Buys' and Tizzard's perfectly paced rhythm section. Other tracks, like 'This Time I Won't Turn Around,' hark back to The Usual's "jam and jive" days with its joyous Cape Town and Mbaqanga infused melody line. Bowman's skill here has been to elevate the song beyond the confines of a particular town, using phrasing and pacing and premier production to give the track a global twist.



A quiz from Steve Savage...

1) sharkbrother hasn't gigged for a few weeks, is this because:

a) sharkbrother has been a monastery in the Himalayas meditating and
discovering the meaning of life.
b) sharkbrother has been on a world tour encompassing all the worlds
c) sharkbrother has recorded a new double album
d) sharkbrother played Woodstock
e) sharkbrother went to Oppikoppi

2) On Sunday the 27th of August sharkbrother will be playing at:

a) Wembley Stadium
b) FNB
c) Yazgur's farm
d) Tings an' Times

3) The cover charge on Sunday the 27th of August at Tings an' Times will be:

a) $1 000 000
b) R1 000 000
c) Z$1 000 000
d) 1 chicken
e) 50c
f) Absolutely free!

4) If you managed to read all the way to this point you:

a) Have nothing better to do
b) Are a type 'A' personality
c) Are a regular reader of 'The Citizen'
d) Desperately need to get out more and see live music

Sunday the 29th of August finds us at Tings 'an Times in Hatfield for our Sunday night, death of the weekend gig. Tings management assures us that more alcohol is consumed at these gigs, than at any other time at Tings. Can't think why though.

See you there.

sharkbrother on the web:


Myke Ashley Cooper

The song contest [on 23 August] was a very good evening, almost standing room
only. The judges, Malcolm Aberdein, Keith Mattison and Steve Murdoch, had
quite a job on their hands choosing with great difficulty the three winners
from an excellent entry of 13 musicians.
The winners were:
1. Tamarin Moelans who won the 1st prize of an 8 hours recording session at
Pete Stanford's Smoking Squirrel Studios,
2. Catherine Paver who won a Paul Bothner's voucher valued at R1 000
sponsored 50/50 by the Barleycorn Music Club and Bothner's
3. Rob Drake who won a Paul Bothner's voucher valued at R500 sponsored 50/50
by the Barleycorn Music Club and Bothner's.
The evening went off like clockwork I'm delighted to say, without a hitch!


Lee Glanville

The first Street Level Party will be taking place on Saturday the 28th August in conjunction with Matie FM Stereo.

An evening of comedy, courtesy of the (in)famous Mark Sampson, live music by The Junglebook Vultures, Skyminer and The Shooflys plus a DJ to keep the party going till the wee hours!!! (which is guaranteed thanks to the drinks specials put on by the Hidden Cellar management)

How much would you expect to pay for this evening of top class entertainment? R30?, R40?, R50?

Think again!

R15, yep R15 is is all it takes to get you into The Hidden Cellar, Dorp Street, Stellenbosch. Doors open at 8:30pm on Saturday 28th August.

Summer's just around the corner and we're gearing up to hold a Street Level Party at a different venue each month, so look out for us in your area soon!

For more information, contact:

Lee Glanville
Tel: (021) 462 5694
Fax: (021) 462 5695



The band, NIGHT SHUTTLE is still on the go, and we are playing at 'Cocktails' in Durbanville on the 28th August from 9pm.
It would be nice to meet all of Cape Town's digest subscribers there.
We are raising funds for the Durbanville Childrens Home at the venue, and it is also
band member/wife's birthday.
It will be a fun evening, triple billing in a way.
1, fundraiser
2, birthday party
3, farewell gig for the band.

Night Shuttle is going INTERNATIONAL!!!,
No, really we are just moving north. [to Zimbabwe]
Night Shuttle is a duo. We do covers, and a few originals.
We do songs from the 50's to the 90's.
And if Myles Wakeham reads this, both Lesley and I would like to see
you there as well.
Here's the address:
COCKTAILS, corner of 'NEW' and QUEEN STREETS, Durbanville.
Phone 9752327.

Guy Halls



Woodstock, the 90's Pop Culture Experience, will take place at
the Aventura Heidelberg Kloof Resort from September 24 - 26th

from Jol



Liela Groenewald is looking for a Gauteng-based
- bassist
- bongo/gembi player
- guitarist
to join in playing her original Afrikaans & English folk -
initially jam and play a couple of gigs if it works out.

Contact Leila at
or tel 082 451 1015


Leigh Barrett

Got the Fetish CD yesterday, but haven't had a chance to listen to it
yet - love the fabric cover! Will give it a play today, and include it in my next radio show. [KRVM, Oregon, USA]


Wade Taylor

I caught the final show of the 2 week Three Fish Tour, in Seattle. It was a great show and Robbi [Robb] is gearing up for another Tribe After Tribe album.


Yvonne McDonagh, Musica

Does anyone have any local September tour dates available?



In-store appearance at The Max Megastore,
Cavendish Square, Claremont, Cape Town
on Saturday 28th August, 12.00-12.45pm



Bradley Silver

From a South African perspective, MP3 holds great promise to
artists who want to make their debut but are as yet unsigned.
As a developing country committed to exposing and promoting
local artists to the world at large, South Africa can't afford to be
left behind in this process. While, the majority of the music
market in South Africa are not Internet users, a great proportion
of the potential consumer community globally is.

For local artists, the careful and calculated use of this
technology, with the assistance of record companies may
prove to be the much-deserved break that South African artists
have been waiting for. For the ever-growing cybermusic culture,
whose goalposts are the free facilitation of musical production
and talent, MP3 is proving to be the greatest jam session of the
millennium - what's left of it.

Extract from an article from the July/August 1999 issue of
On The Internet (OTI) magazine.

Reprinted here with the kind permission of the editor, Grant Chapman



I'm trying to get hold of a CD by a guy called John Oakley-Smith. It was released in about '76 or '77. Not quite sure about the title, but it contains a song called 'Benjamin Street'. In fact I'm not even sure it's available on CD. Any suggestions where to look?


A comment on John Oakley-Smith....I used to go to the original Folk Club in Salisbury during the 60's and there were some excellent musicians who put together good stuff, one of whom was John Oakley-Smith. I would love to know what happened to all those talented people and how many went on to do anything with there music. Much like Barleycorn, the standard varied, but many of the entertainers were exceptional although I doubt if they had the opportunities
which the new musicians are offered.

Alison Hughes



My favourite version of 'Mbube' ('The Lion Sleeps Tonight') was on the
flip side of 'The Click Song' by Miriam Makeba. The song came out in the 60's.
You did not mention her [in issue #27] - any reason for this?

Annette Kulas

{Editor: pure ignorance, Annette, pure igorance...thanks for the info}


Kurt Shoemaker

'Master Jack' (US#18 in 1968) was my introduction to Four Jacks And A Jill, and the fact that there were other music scenes in the world (I was, after all, only 15). When I was a kid, the only radio station in Syracuse, WNDR, played mild pop and unoffensive rock -- when the Stones' 'Fighting In the Streets' ['Street Fighting Man' - ed] was being played the first time and last time on WNDR, the needle was literally yanked across the grooves in jerking it from the turntable. I imagine the program manager, hearing it come on, raced from his office in a rage. That summer, we Americans were experiencing rioting and racial tensions as our own period of apartheid was ending.

Now I'm just exploring rock and pop by new artists, seeking new sounds in familiar styles, but not the American radio stuff I've only heard a thousand times per song. That's why I'm into the compilations of unknown American groups these days. Though there are some bands from my youth that I still listen to.

Despite enjoying raw rock (if my wife doesn't like it, then I probably will), these days I'm also going through a Four Jacks and a Jill phase after getting Vol 1 & 2 of their Very Best from One World. Glenys Lynne's voice and their melodies do something for me that pure pop usually doesn't. It doesn't seem they have any other CDs out, so I'll probably have to find their albums on vinyl.

How are they regarded these days in SA? Forgotten? Looked down upon by rock lovers? Respected as a group who succeeded in the world market?



Has South Africa ever produced their own version of the Guinness Book of Hit singles/albums which is based on stats from the UK charts?

Is anybody at all interested?

Christopher Bush



I do actually have details of the singles chart from 1976 until its demise in February 1989 and the albums chart (Springbok) from its inception in November 1981 to its demise in about March 1995. What I need to get is details of the singles charts from before 1976 and the albums chart (non-official, as printed in the SA TV guide magazine) from before November 1981. By the way, what was the title of that magazine which featured the SA TV guide? I think its title was "Personality". Am I correct there?

I guess the only way to get the missing lists would be to visit the SABC record library. I did once visit it, 16 years ago, and they let me look through their Springbok chart lists as I was missing info from 1976 onwards. Unfortunately due to time constraints I was unable to get details from before 1976 (except the No 1 singles from 1970 onwards).
In Top 40 magazine about 10 years ago they did feature an article on theSA charts by someone who listed the No 1 records from the 1960s (from about 1966 onwards) for a particular month in each issue. But that feature only lasted for one or two months and vanished. The name of the chap who did those SA chart articles in Top 40 mag about 10 years ago is Clive Rollings.

SA artists were very successful here in Zimbabwe from the mid 1960s onwards. These days, though, only the black artists are really known here. In fact, during the 1960s, 70s and 80s, probably the only place SA artists had any sales success outside SA was here in Zimbabwe.

In fact I am searching for pics of SA artists who charted here from the
late 1960s onwards. Am looking either for actual photos or newspaper
cutting pictures or even photocopies.

The names of the artists from SA for whom I am looking for at least a
pic in some form for my hits index for Zimbabwe, are as follows:

Aerophone, Beat Unit, The Believers, Bongo Maffin, Bernie Brown, Buffalo & Peter Vee, Charisma, Johnny Collini, Coole Gang, Cornelia, Ray Curtis, Richard Dean, Reg De Beer, Disco Rock Machine, Domino's, Dreamers, Ex-Ray, Geli & Billy, Gentle People, Marie Gibson, Gerry Grayson, Grit, Heavyweight, Dan Hill, Hocus, Holly Black, Hot Koko, Ipi 'N Tombia Original Cast, King Of Clubs, Jackie Leslie, Lincoln, J C Livingston, Paul Madison, Maikani, Mandla, Maples, Margino, Mccully Workshop, M'du, Me & Them, Midnight Express, Mister Special & The Weekenders, Mob Club Masters, Otis Waygood, Gert Potgieter, The Rangers, Rising Sons, Cherry Roland, Roy, Leon Schuster, Soweto String Quartet, Joe Stanton, Starburst, Strobe, Sugar Sweet, Thisha, Tidal Wave, Trompies (?), Jerry Walsh, The Warriors, Mike Westcott, Neville Whitmill, Pinkie Williams, Wozani, Robin Young.

Some of these were cover version artists who released cover version hits which charted here during the period of sanctions in Rhodesia. Records for instance on the EMI and associated labels could not be released here during that period so they released cover versions from SA artists, including the type of recordings featured on the "Springbok hits" albums. So some of the names above may seem unfamiliar as a result.

Sure, there are a lot of names there, but anything you might be able to
help with would be much appreciated.

I think 'Substitute' by Clout is probably the only South African
single to chart in the UK (#2), USA (#67) and most of Europe (#1 in Holland & Germany) and Australasia (#1 in New Zealand).

Chris Kimberley

South African Rock Lists Website


Craig Bartholomew

Went to a party recently and played Rodriguez.
Couldn't believe the response.

Was driving recently and listening to a French (Quebecois) channel and
suddenly heard a great interview with Johnny Clegg. How sad and lonely
I felt negotiating the serpentine coastal road on the wrong side.

Never thought that the Digest would become such an important
link to my African soul. I'll never forget how in the 80's my Jazz band
was the only 'honky' band to dare play Mannenburg. And what a response
we got as the whites started to embrace the music they had until then
relegated to the garage!


Craig Ballen

With reference to Stephen's comments regarding the Woodstock 99 generation's artists and their style [last issue - ed]. While I agree that this genre is generally nothing
new and a far cry from real Rock 'n Roll, cream does always rise. Specifically Korn and Rage Against The Machine. These bands are AMAZING. I know since I was there. Also if you get a chance to see the MTV awards soon you'll see Korn's award winning
video. It will blow you mind.

Talking about festivals, Jan Taljaard sent in some links...

Oppikoppi 99 - the DigiNews dispatches
(Video clips, pics, MP3's and ALL the stories)

The Pretoria Online Gig list
(the best online or offline gig list in town with links to bands' homepages, videos of Oppikoppi performances etc.)

Also try...


Brian Currin

In the late 70s disco music internationally was dominated by such artists as The Bee Gees, Donna Summer, Chic, Gloria Gaynor, Village People, etc. The rhythm was everything and musicianship was secondary.

In South Africa, however, disco seemed to take on a distinct harder edge, with a number of classic hard rock and heavy metal songs being given the disco treatment. Paul Ryan's classic 'Eloise' was extended to 17 minutes by Zane Cronje's Rouge, HOT RS covered Iron Butterfly's 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida' (cleverly combining it with Frankie Vaughan's 1957 UK #1 smash hit 'Garden Of Eden') and Peter Vee's Buffalo covered Steppenwolf's heavy metal anthem 'Born To Be Wild' as well as 'Magic Carpet Ride'. In fact Buffalo covered Deep Purple, the Rolling Stones, Canned Heat, Rare Earth, Free, Hendrix and other rock legends with great gusto.

Ex-Rabbitt, Trevor Rabin with his Disco Rock Machine recorded the Kinks' 'You Really Got Me' while his colleague, Neil Cloud (Rabbitt's drummer), covered 'Time Of The Season' originally done in 1968 by Rod Argent's Zombies.

Can anyone think of an overseas equivalent to this obscure and unique genre...German band Supermax comes to mind, and maybe Santa Esmeralda
(remember their version of The Animals' 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood'?), but nothing else...any ideas?

Most of the songs mentioned above are available on the recently released 2CD 'Disco Fever' compilation from Gallo, reviewed a few issues ago.

Gallo has offered to give away a copy of this CD to the first person to name the drummer on the HOT RS albums.

Answers to:



...that many of the SA hit singles in the 1970s were actually
cover versions of hits from Europe? To name a few, 'Clap Your Hands And
Stamp Your Feet', 'Waikiki Man', 'Charly', 'Mammy Blue'...
They were originally hits by artists from Holland and Spain.

Chris Kimberley


Krister from Sweden

Well, I got a hold of Freedoms Childrens CD 'Astra' at a record store last weekend, fairly cheap also, about 6 dollars...
I haven't listened to it THAT much, but really, I like some songs a lot, like 'The Kid He Came From Nazareth'.
Sounds somewhat like Van der Graaf Generator in places, I think.

What can you tell me about them/this album?

{Editor: not a lot really, please visit
for info on all 3 of Freedoms Children albums - only 'Astra',
however, is on an official CD release.

We hope to publish a Freedoms Children Family Tree sometime on the Net, similar to the one done for McCully Workshop,
so fans can track the comings and goings of all the musicians
who passed through this incredible and influential band}


Carsten Knoch

I've been puzzling for a while now... there used to be an album by Bright Blue sometime in the late-ish 80s or early 90s, I forget what it's called. I had it on tape (original, might still be able to find it if I wanted to embark on that project...) I was wondering if you knew what it was called, and whether there was ever a CD release (I somehow doubt it). In case you have any more info about them... I've been curious about what happened to them ever since. They penned "Weeping" which later appeared again by SSQ and Vusi Mahlasela (I think - this was relatively recent). Did they disband? Isn't there some connection between them and The Usual? Of is that just a 'sounds-like' association?

{Editor: The Rising Tide (their 2nd album) was released in 1989....neither of their 2 albums has been released on CD...yet. Tom Fox, the guitarist is now in the Usual, and Peter Cohen, ex-BB drummer is now managing the Usual - and rumours of an imminent BB Greatest Hits CD release, called 'Brightest Blue', now rife...}



Do you know what can be done to have all three Rabbitt LP's re-released on CD, as well as all Trevor Rabin's solo albums, as well as éVoid's 'Here Comes the Rot', as well as Via Afrika's 2 well as.... I think it will be a huge loss if these albums will never be available again.

Theunis Engelbrecht



Is Third Ear music planning on releasing a whole bunch of old
South African bands' albums on CD? One or two people I know are under
the impression that this is the case. (We're talking Freedoms, Waygood, etc). Remember the A-Cads with Les Goode and the boys, circa late Sixties? Got it on CD the other day. Surprise surprise, it's not a South African pressing!

Leon Economides

{Editor: the fans are asking, but is anybody listening?}


Last week's question: What is the South African connection in the
USA-based band, Three Fish?

Answer: Robbi Robb (half-brother of Baxtop's Larry Amos) was in Muddy Bridge, Shag, the Asylum Kids, Boys Next and Tribe After Tribe...all great SA rock bands.

The winner of the new Three Fish CD, The Quiet Table, kindly supplied by SonyMusic is...

Greg Alberts

This CD is available from One World


Visit these voting booths and cast a vote for YOUR favourite...

SA Rock album, from the 60s to the 90s and beyond...

All-time Great SA Pop and Rock song

McCully Workshop album


The online archive for the History of South African Rock

Message Board for SA Rock

News, views, reviews and interviews

Selling South African Music to the World

5% discount for Digest members!
Type "Digest Member" in brackets
after your name when submitting info.

The Hub of South African Music

The Ultimate Independent Music Site in South Africa

Supporting South African Music

The Musician's Resource

Whats on in Cape Town

What's on in Cape Town and around South Africa

Online magazine

Cape Town's Independent Record Label

Free musical equipment classifieds ad website

Over 100 links relating to South African music

South African independent record company

News, updated daily

Independent multi-faceted music group

News, reviews and opinions

Music from and about Africa

SA Music magazine

broadcast • film • commercials • video • music • interactive

arts news from Kwazulu-Natal

Listen to MP3s of South African artists




If its Made In South Africa and its on CD (or video),
then its available at One World.

SA Rock Digest subscribers get a 5% discount off their purchases.
Just put "digest member" in brackets behind your name when filling in the secure order form and they will do the rest.

Or e-mail your requests to and he will sort you out.

One Stop, One Shop, One World


An extensive selection of vinyl and CDs.
Big supporters of South African music.
Speak to Neil or Alan on (021) 5953220 or
email Neil at:


Vinyl and second-hand CDs.

10% discount for Digest members!

Branches at:
Cape Town Central (021) 4238145

Wynberg (021) 7972482

Claremont (021) 6717887



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

Radium Wreckords
Suite 207
Private Bag X10


by Annette Carson

The first and only definitive biography of Jeff Beck - published in South Africa in January 1999 and available by mail order from the author. Trade paperback format, 256 pages, with a comprehensive discography.

SA price R85,00, or R100,00 including registered p&p. International orders by surface mail US$18.00 or 13 British pounds, by airmail US$30.00 or 20 British pounds.
E-mail or call (011) 883 3619.


Back to Index

All Digest back-issues can now be downloaded as one
small zip file (less than 300kb).
Go to:


For the basic rules of the Digest please visit:
or we can e-mail them to you.


Reading someone else's copy of this e-mag?

Firstly thank the person who sent it to you, for being someone of
incredible good taste and perception...

...and then subcribe yourself by sending an e-mail to with any words or phrases that vaguely
indicate acceptance.

Or...visit and fill in the simple form.


Want to unsubscribe from this e-mag?

Surely not, but if you really must, then just reply to this e-mail,
saying "I hate SA music", "I'm bored" or "get me out of here" or
"I've had enough" or whatever, I'll get the idea, eventually.

"unsubscribe" has been known to work too...


Back to Index