‘Josie Josie’ finds Anton Goosen in a more sombre mood. The song starts out with a slightly menacingly strum guitar, but the sting of this is quickly flattened by a melancholy flute playing over the top of it, and then Anton’s vocals come in.
The song then builds with a chorus joining Anton on the vocals and the flute weaves itself around this chant like sound. There is a stuttering, stumbling feel to the song, like it is lurching forward into uncertain territory, trying to be brave by stomping along, yet one can sense the lack of confidence in it. So one turns to the lyrics for clues to what is going on. ‘Josie Joise don’t let it rain on your dream tonight/Josie Josie we’ve seen it through now our days are bright’ is the repeated refrain that Goosen and the chorus sing and then you realise, Josie is perhaps not a woman, but could be Johannesburg (‘Jozi’). The song then makes sense in that it is almost a prayer for the new South Africa as it stumbles from Apartheid into democracy.
There has been lot sung about the country and in particular its transformation from the bad old days, but few have done this with such beauty. It’s not a ‘New York New York’ for Johannesburg, it is a heartfelt request.
Where to find it:
Riviersonderend – 21 Greatest Hits – Anton Goosen (1994), Gallo Records (CDGMP 40402)