1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

Shabby Little Hut – The Bats

Shabby Little Hut – The Bats (aka a Krumbling Kraal)

The Bats

The Bats

There should be a health warning on this song as it is so infectious that no matter how hard you try, you’ll be humming or singing it for days after it has faded from your speakers. Few of us born in the sixties or later would have realised that the man who used to Turn On The Telly (no, not the presenter, the skivvy who actually turned on the Telly) and the bloke who presented Video 2 with Delia Sainsbury had ever been in a group, let along one of the longest running groups in SA history.

Yes, Eddie Eckstein and Paul Ditchfield (remember them?) were half of the Bats, the other two members being Barry Jarman and Jimmy Dunning. They were responsible for a string of hits in the sixties, crowning their efforts with ‘Shabby Little Hut’.

Written by Van McCoy (who had a hit in SA with ‘The Hustle’) and also recorded by an American group called The Reflections, it’s a simple tale of boy meets girl, girl’s parents don’t like boy, boy arranges to meet girl in a shabby little hut down by the docks. We’ve all been there haven’t we?

An organ underpins the beat guitar and a trumpet comes in every now and then to lend a warm brassiness to the song. The Bats also recorded released it in Argentina as ‘Una Chocita Abandonada’ but it was still the English version of the song, despite the Spanish title . Kariba, another South African group who mostly did reggae cover versions of Bob Marley songs, did a cover of this, but, to be honest, stick with The Bats English version.

Where to find it:

The Heart And Soul Of – The Bats (2001), Polygram, CDREDD 659
The Best Of The Bats – The Bats (1996) Polygram, MORCD 612

The Best Of SA Pop Vol 2 – Various Artists (1994) GMP, CDGMPD 40486
SA Party –  Various Artists (2009) Gallo, CTS 5028


Your folks they say they don’t want me hanging round
Cause I come from the wrong part of town
So I’ll meet you in a secret place
After dark when the sun goes down

In a shabby little hut
By the dock
Down by the sea
It ain’t nothing fancy but
It’s paradise to me

In the shelter of your tender arms
When the jukebox begins to play
Then the warmth of your many charms
Seem to melt all my cares away

In a shabby little hut
By the dock
Down by the sea
It ain’t nothing fancy but
It’s paradise to me

Suddenly I look and I see the time
And I know I must go right away
But my darling when we kiss goodbye
How it hurts when you walk away

From the shabby little hut
By the dock
Down by the sea
It ain’t nothing fancy but
It’s paradise to me

(Written by Van McCoy)


The Bats:


The Bats

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One thought on “Shabby Little Hut – The Bats

  1. Glenda on said:

    Camps bay days…the Rotunda xoxox

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