Silence Is Golden – The Square Set
A lot of you probably know this already, but this is not a cover of the Tremeloes song, this is a completely different song, one written by local lad Neville Whitmill who was a member of the Square Set and who also had some success as a solo artist. This one is a soulpop song with percussion that sound like Jame Brown Lite and a persistent trumpet that races along at pace while Whitmill’s vocals brings the pop sound to the soul sounding backing.
The song would peak at 3 on the Springbok Radio Top 20 and spend a respectable 13 weeks in the charts which was not quite as good as its namesake which topped the charts, but it would be The Square Set’s most successful as they only managed 1 other hit in the form of ‘Carol Corina’ which made it to 15. It would also be the tied second highest placing for a local song in 1967 beaten only by Carike Keuzenkamp and Four Jacks & A Jill’s versions of ‘Timothy’ which both topped the charts. Groep Twee’s ‘Die Ou Kraalliedjie’ and The Dominos’ ‘Tabatha Twitchit’ also made it to 3 that year.
Over the few years after ‘Silence Is Golden’ made our charts, we saw a maturing of the soul sound in South Africa with bands like The Flames and Peanut Butter Conspiracy and acts like Wanda Arletti coming to the fore and they seemed to have stronger soul voices, but I am sure that some of these acts would look to The Square Set as inspiration for what they did. Silence may be golden, but singing about it, especially the way The Square Set did, is platinum.
Where to find it:
Various Artists – The Best of SA Pop Volume 2 (1994) GMP, CDGMPD 40486 (CD)