1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

Archive for the category “Boo!”

Lucky – Boo!

Shooting Star - Boo!

Shooting Star – Boo!

Those Boo! Boys (yes, despite the dress sense of their lead singer and names like Princess Leonie they were boys) were pretty lax in the spelling department as this song has appeared as ‘Lucky’ and ‘Lucki’ on various of their releases. However, this is not the list of ‘1001 songs you have to see mis-spelt before you go blind’ so we can give them the benefit of the doubt and put this down to typos and then get on with listening to the song.

A popular live tune at their gigs, this songs fairly bounces along on a funky bass line with Ampie Omo’s trumpet blasting hot air into the song that give it a slightly Latin-American sheen, while at the same time maintaining the ska-punk feel that pervaded Boo!’s music. Chameleon’s vocals are, as always on his Boo! material, gloriously quirky with a few primeval yelps thown in for good measure.

Boo! were one of the best fun bands around on the local scene in the late 90’s early 00’s and a tune like ‘Lucky’ is a prime example of how the music and their comedic repertoire blended together in what at times seemed to be a shambolicly lucky way, however, don’t be fooled, the band were not lucky, they got to where they did by having a serious amount of talent going on which carefully orchestrated the chaos. This song was just another example of how good they were at that. You say lucky, I say lucki, you say quirky I say quirki let’s call the whole thing pretty darn excellent.

Where to find it:
Shooting Star – Boo! (2002),Sheer Sound

Video:

Blue – Chris Chameleon

Shine - Chris Chameleon

Shine – Chris Chameleon

It took just 2 years for Chris Chameleon to go from Boo! to Blue. After he broke up with bandmates Ampie Omo and Princess Leonie in 2004, Chameleon released a solo album in 2005 called ‘Ek Herhaal Jou’. The following year he released ‘Shine’ and ‘Blue’ was the opening track to the album. It is quite a dramatic start to the album. Starting with a riff similar to Blur’s ‘Girls And Boys’ and followed immediately by a synth riff that reminds one of Visage’s ‘Fade To Grey’, the song is a thick stew of synths and beats.

Chris himself is in fine voice, coming over just as strong as the music, albeit an octave or so higher. He throws in a little of his vocal gymnastics with ‘oo-oo-oo-oo’s and ‘ee-ee-ee-ee’s and such likes at the end of each line. It’s not quite an Olympic perfect 10 score with a high difficulty vocal (which he is quite capable of), but rather a sort of stretching exercise before the routine, but this is what the song requires.

‘Blue’ is wall-to-wall bounce and beats. It has as much energy as a three year old stuffed full of sweets and chocates and let loose on a bouncy castle. And the reason for it being so cheerful? Well that’s because he is in love and ‘Blue-oooooo is no longer my favourite colour’, or to use the title of a Bombay Bicycle Club album title, ‘I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose.’ This was Chris striking out on his own, making a thundering statement and doing so as only the most versatile voice in the country could. This was nothing like the punky sounds of Boo! or the REM does Boeremusiek, guitar heavy music of ‘Ek Herhaal Jou’. This was a new colour for Chris and not surprising given his surname.

Where to find it:
Shine – Chris Chameleon (2006), Rhythm Records, RR070

Video:

Soen – Chris Chameleon

Ek Vir Jou - Chris Chameleon

Ek Vir Jou – Chris Chameleon

Soen. The Afrikaans word for kiss. Prince did a song called Kiss and, well, this is not the same song, however, one could draw some parallels here. For starters, Prince’s ditty was sung in a strange falsetto voice and Chameleon’s voice on this one (for as well know he has a remarkable vocal range) is in one of his higher registers and, where Prince sounded a bit weird, Chris doesn’t.

The next thing one notices is the stripped down arrangements of the two songs. Prince was a master of creating complex songs with simple arrangements and while not quite in the same league, Chris has created a rather joyous, finger-poppin’, foot-tapping piece of pop with a simple strummed guitar, some nifty drumming (with a few bongos thrown in for good measure) and the best use of handclaps in a South African song ever (possibly).

Prince was also known for his sexy content and ‘Kiss’ is a very sexy song and tends to be a bit more adult than Chris’ ‘Soen’ which is more about a first love and those awkward first encounters with the opposite sex. Compare Prince’s “I Just need your body baby from dusk to dawn” with Chris’ “En ek stotter as ek met jou praat en my stem breek”.

Chris’ version may not ever be covered by Tom Jones and The Art of Noise, but is one of the most life affirming Afrikaans songs since David Kramer’s ‘Mesise Sonder Sokkies’. Maybe one day we’ll see Piet Botha team up with Bengula for a cover version.

Where to find it:
Ek Vir Jou – Chris Chameleon (2007), Rhythm Records

Video:

Saved – Chris Chameleon

Saved – Chris Chameleon

Shine - Chris Chameleon

Shine – Chris Chameleon

After Boo! finally called it a day, it was not too surprising to see Chris Chameleon changing colours from a lead singer into a solo artist. With a voice like his, it would be a crime for him not to be singing. His first solo album ‘Ek Herhaal Jou’ was an Afrikaans offering, but with his second, ‘Shine’, we saw the ever changing Chameleon switch into English.

In the addendum to the book ‘1 001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die’, they give the 10 001 songs (that’s 9 000 extra songs in case you misread the “0”s) you must hear for those, like me, who just can’t get enough of lists. In amongst the extra songs is ‘Saved’ by Chris Chameleon, so it’s not just me that says you should hear this.

And why should you? It’s nothing like the quirky Boo! you came to love. Nor is it the more serious and quieter affairs that one found on ‘Ek Herhaal Jou’. And it doen’t feature some of the vocal gymnastics that he can get up to. It is a straight forward pop rock song with a slightly heavy beat, a foreboding voice on the verse which soars on the chorus and production tighter than some of the trousers that Chris wears. Perhaps not the most interesting track that he has produced in his various guises, but it is a song bursting with pop sensibilities, great hooks and as always, a sublime vocal performance. It is yet another side to this everchanging national treasure.

Where to find it:
Shine – Chris Chameleon (2006), Rhythm Records, RR070

Video:

Avrocado Pair – Boo!

Avrocado Pair – Boo! (Avo good time)

Boo! - Seventies, Eighties, Nineties, Naughties

Boo! - Seventies, Eighties, Nineties, Naughties

Funky bass lines, brassy trumpets and rhythms you can dance to. These are the ingredients that go into Monki Punk, a genre that, as far as I know, only had one band that fell into that category. That is the joy of pigeonholing your own music.

Boo! were the original and only Monki Punks and have been having audiences all over the globe bopping away madly to their brand of ska funk punk (that’s the English translation for Monki Punk).

Avrocado Pair (aka ‘All Of Me’) is a prime example of their sound. It’s a joyous romp that’ll have you dancing and singing along to almost from the very first note, and then you’ll go and play it again just cause it made you feel so darn good.

 Where to find it:

Seventies, Eighties, Nineties, Naughties – Boo! (2000) Monki Punk Productions, BOOCD03

Lyrics:

what if love is a king and the king that i need to crown is in me?
what if i am a half and another half is what i need one to be?
oh my lover! oh my love!

does she like me?
yes i think i saw her see you twice!
does she want me?
yes i’m sure she’d like to know the price!
does she need me?
yes, but she would never needy be!
if you want her,tell her babe
i give you all of me.

is it music, the key, to the magic in me and my sweet princess?
of the noise that i hear that to which i ad here is the sweet silence.
oh my song! oh my soul!

does she like me?
yes i think i saw her see you twice!
does she want me?
yes i’m sure she’d like to know the price!
does she need me?
yes, but she would never needy be!
if you want her, tell her babe
i give you all of me.

when i’m in this state i feel the need to state that i’m in an inferno.
of this flame that i bear… i bet the good lord takes care of
everything when i go!
oh my fire! oh my life!

does she like me?
yes i think i saw her see you twice!
does she want me?
yes i’m sure she’d like to know the price!
does she need me?
yes, but she would never needy be!
if you want her, tell her babe
i give you all of me.

(Written by Chris Chameleon)

Video:

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