1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

Tribal Fence – Freedom’s Children

Tribal Fence – Freedom’s Children (Good fences make good songs)

album cover
2005 CD re-issue

album cover
1997 CD re-issue

In the late 60’s the music world was beginning to discover a harder
and heavy sound that was pioneered by the likes of Deep Purple, Led
Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. In South Africa, few came as hard and
heavy as Freedom’s Children. Formed in 1966 by Ramsay MacKay, Ken E
Henson and Colin Pratley, the Children went on to be regarded as one of
the greatest rock bands in South Africa. In 1970, after unsuccessfully
trying to get work permits to play in the UK they returned and over a
weekend recorded their second album ‘Astra’. By that time, Henson had
left the group and Julian Laxton, Gerard Nel, Nicholas Martens and
Brian Davidson had joined.

‘Astra’ included a number of seminal tracks, one of which was the
powerful ‘Tribal Fence.’ With its politically edged lyrics and thick
dense sound, it pounds at the senses. Martens’ organ playing wraps
around Laxton’s experimental, savage and soaring guitar licks while
Davidsons’ otherworldly vocals drill themselves into your head.

A number of cover versions by big name stars followed. Rabbitt,
Margaret Singana and Jack Hammer, to name a few, have all had a go at
it, bringing different slants to the song. But for pure force and
sensual assault, nothing beats Freedom’s Children’s version.

Where to find it:

Astra (2005 CD reissue), Fresh Music, freshcd 145


Say you are my brother
Say you are my son
But don’t ask me who’s the father
There might not be one

Say you are my lover
Say you are our child
But there’s bound to be a mother
Though she’s 1990 styled

When will we be
When will we be
Past tribal fence
And family tree

Say you are the ancient ape
Now naked in your youth
But there’s one thing that we must learn
So as to teach the truth

Say you are my brother say you are my son
But don’t ask me who’s the father
There might not be one

(Written by Ramsay MacKay)




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