1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Archive for the category “David Kramer”

Going Away – David Kramer

David Kramer

David Kramer

‘Baboondogs’ is one of Kramer’s less popular albums but is one of his more critically acclaimed. Apart from containing his marvellous ‘Dry Wine’, there is also this little gem called ‘Going Away’ which ironically is more about staying than leaving.

Written at a time of huge upheaval in the country with the State of Emergency in place, the violence that beset the country and the very uncertain future for white South Africans, many people contemplated leaving the country in what was known then as ‘the chicken run’. There is no judgement from Kramer of those who chose to leave. He understands why people wanted to leave, but he knows what he will do, the words ‘As for me, I don’t think that I’ll be leaving/I belong here, I’ll be staying where I was born/These people are my people/These places are my places’ he sings, making it clear.

Most of ‘Baboondogs’ shows the serious side of Kramer. His hits were the ones that were carefree and about more trivial issues. Songs such as ‘Hak Hom Blokkies’, ‘Meissie Sonder Sokkies’ and ‘Die Royal Hotel’ while often having a line or two in the lyrics for those looking for deeper meaning, ‘Going Away’ and the rest of the ‘Baboondogs’ songs don’t have any of the frivolity that those hits had. ‘Going Away’ also features that rare thing, a saxophone on a David Kramer song. It is understandable why ‘Baboondogs’ was not as commercially successful as some of his other albums, but it is also completely understandable why it is one of his most critically acclaimed albums with tracks like this and ‘Dry Wine’ it finds the red veldtskoened one at his lyrical best.

Where to find it:
Vinyl – Baboondogs – David Kramer (1986), EMI, EMCJ(V)4051001


Stoksielalleen – David Kramer

Stoksielalleen – David Kramer

Stoksielalleen - David Kramer

Stoksielalleen – David Kramer

After the runaway success on the Springbok Radio charts of ‘Hak Hom Blokkies’ and ‘Die Royal Hotel’ in 1981, David Kramer struggled to score another top 20 hit despite some strong contenders from his 1982 album ‘Delicious Monster’ (‘Budgie & The Jets’ for example and something like ‘Tommy Dippenaar’ from his 1983 offering ‘Hannepoortpad’). However, in 1984, he was back in the charts with ‘Stoksielallen’ which spent 3 weeks on the Springbok Top 20 and peaked at number 17.

The song relies on a boereorkes sound with accordion and that doem-doem langarm beat which probably accounted for its popularity. Lyrically, Kramer is back to having fun. The song is a long list of all the people he tried to ask out for a jol on a ‘Saterdag aand’ but they all had excuses in great rhyming couplets (“Ek vra vir Tillie, maar Tillie sê sy willie/Miskien wil haar sussie, maar haar sussie issie lussie” and “Eek nooi toe vir rheta, maar rheta sê vergeet maar/En wat nou van tant hessie maar dis buite die kwessie”)

This is the side of Kramer to sit back, tap your feet, chuckle at the rejections he gets and simply enjoy. If you ever find yourself stoksielallen op ‘n Saterdag aand, put this on and take comfort from the fact that you are not alone.

Where to find it:
Alles Vannie Beste – David Kramer (1997), Blik Musiek, BLIK04


On The Border – David Kramer

On The Border – David Kramer

David Kramer

David Kramer

David Kramer’s hits tend to be carefree, often funny songs like ‘Meisie Sonner Sokkies’ or ‘Stoksielalleen’. Sometimes there is an element of pathos thrown in to mix, like the bankrupt farm owner in ‘Die Royal Hotel’ or the slight sadness that pervades ‘Hak Hom Blokkies’ where all the guy has left is his memories.

But when you look at some of Kramer’s songs that weren’t hits (mostly because they would never get played on the radio), you get some very serious and deep stuff like ‘Out Of The Blue’ and ‘Prisoner Of War’. ‘On The Border’ is one that would hit a nerve with nearly every white South African male who did their time in the army. The only version I am aware of is the live one that appears on ‘Jis Jis Jis’ which was a recording of a concert he did at the Baxter Theatre in1983.

The song is just Kramer telling (rather than singing) his story over a gently plucked guitar and it’s a bit like he is just sitting chatting to a friend. He starts out getting a quiet chuckle from the audience as he describes his mate that he met in the butchery while buying “boerewors and chops”. He gets another laugh when he tells about Johnny Lategan, his army buddy who stole an army Bedford truck and went joyriding, wrapping it round a tikkie box. But then things get serious as he goes on to relate how the time Johnny spent in DB affected him and ultimately led to his suicide, taking those on patrol with him. The song gets even more of an edge to it when Kramer appears to get a real lump in his throat while performing. Perhaps Kramer was relating a story that really happened with one of his own friends, or he was just being a brilliant performer. Either way, one cannot but be moved by his telling of it.

The audience are almost hesitant before their applause at the end of the song almost as if they are in a state of shock from what has just happened to Johnny. When the clapping does start, it is reverential, as if paying respects to all the Johnny Lategans of the border war. It is still hard to believe that Kramer could have performed this song and got away with it back in 1983. But he did, and we are left with a something that even today, is still as powerful as it would have been way back then.

Where to find it:
Jis Jis Jis – David Kramer (1983), Blik Musiek (BLIK14)

I just bumped into Peter this morning
You know, Uncle Louis son
And he greeted me cowboy style
Ja, with his hand cocked like a gun
You know he was in the butchery
We were buying boerewors and chops
And he was wearing a T-shirt
And a pair of short pants
And those blue rubber flip-flops
And his brother was with him
In his blue jeans
And a gaudy tropical print
I think he was trying to his out in civvie street
Ja, after doing his army stint
He told me that he’d just spent
Six months on the border
But to him it felt more like six years
And that they passed the time with jokes and with poker
And counted the days but not the beers
Well I had a friend called Johnny
And his surname was Lategan
And Johnny and I were in the Army together
Ja in the good old days man
Back in 1971
But you know Johnny
He was a funny kinda guy
He was either very quiet
Or shooting off his mouth
And then one week end
He AWOLed with a Bedford
Ja and he hit the N1 heading south
But old Johnny
He wrapped that truck around a tikkie box
And he ended up in DB for about ten weeks
And I tell they cooled him down to zero there
Because when Johnny came out
He wouldn’t speak
So you know maybe that’s where it happened
Perhaps he just was that way
Well they could have pushed him a little too far
But I mean who am I to say
But it was on the border that it happened
And nobody knows quite where
But I heard about old Johnny Lategan
Ja from a buddy of mine who was there
And you know it was hard
It was hard to believe his story
And it certainly wasn’t the official line
And anyway that kind of thing is just difficult to swallow man
Because Johnny was such a good friend of mine
But he told me that Johnny took his own life
And he left a little note that said ‘Cheers’
And the five other troepies on patrol with him
Well he put a bullet between their ears
So when I bumped into Peter this morning
Ja you know he reminded me of Johnny Lategan
Cause Johnny always used to greet you
Ja with his hand cocked like a gun

(written by David Kramer)


Dry Wine – David Kramer

Dry Wine – David Kramer



‘Dry Wine’ was finally released by Kramer on his 1986 album ‘Baboondogs’, but the song goes back to about ten years previously. According to the 3rd Ear Music website, Roger Lucey was given a demo cassette of Kramer songs sometime in 1976 or 1977 and this included the song ‘Dry Wine’. Despite agreeing that it was an excellent song, Lucey was reluctant to perform it. Not because he was concerned about getting into trouble with the law due it the nature of the lyrics (he was already doing that, so one more wouldn’t matter), but he preferred to only perform his own material. However, he began performing ‘Dry Wine’ and it was included on his live album ‘Half A Live’ which was recorded at the Market Theatre in 1979.

Due to the political nature of Lucey’s work, he was not a well known musician, so ‘Dry Wine’ was only heard by a select few. However, once Kramer’s career took off with the success of ‘Hak Hom Blokkies’, more people got to hear this gem. It is a song about the disparities that existed in South Africa during apartheid and how those that were rich enough to afford to be liberal, would express their opinions about the situation from the safety of fine restaurants, high fences and locked doors and “from the distance of headlines”.

Lyrically it is quite a vitriolic attack, but Kramer’s performance shows more sadness than anger. If you want the angry version, check out Lucey’s one. Kramer was an astute observer of South African life and culture, both the good and bad sides of it. ‘Dry Wine’ is Kramer at his lyrical best.

Where to find it:
Vinyl – Baboondogs – David Kramer (1986), EMI, EMCJ(V)4051001

The Roger Lucey Connection:

Roger Lucey Video:


Half asleep I dream in the dark
Trusting the locks on the door
And the dog’s warning bark
Outside in the street a drunkard
Stumbles and sings
In the next door flat
A telephone rings and rings
But nothing disturbs the suburbs quiet
Not the sirens or the news of a township riot
Knowing it all from the distance of headlines
I express my opinion
With a mouthful of dry wine

A woman with red fingernails
Is playing with her diamond
Gazing through the restaurant window
At the lights on Robben Island
Her hair’s cut in the latest style
Her eyes are painted blue
She’s probably thinking
Now where in the world
Could I find a better view
Her husband asks the waiter
Are these prawns from Mozambique?
The waiter just nods his head
He smiles but doesn’t speak
Knowing it all from the distance of headlines
I express my opinion
With a mouthful of dry wine

An old lady in a Sea Point flat
Lives with her dreams and dread
She can hear the disco music
As she lies in her bed
And in the servants quarters
She can hear them laugh and sing
While in the next door flat
A telephone rings and rings
Perhaps I’m like a deaf man
Who has seen the lightning flash
Or maybe I’m just like the blind
And I’ll only hear it crash
Knowing it all from the distance of headlines
I express my opinion
With a mouthful of dry wine

(Written by David Kramer)

Meisie Sonner Sokkies – David Kramer

Meisie Sonner Sokkies – David Kramer

Eina by David Kramer

Eina by David Kramer

Apparently, ‘Meisie Sonner Sokkies’ is one of the most requested songs at any sokkie jol. Perhaps it is the rebellious nature of the meisie that attracts people to her – how can you be sonner sokkies at a sokkie jol. That said, it is more likely the pure joie de vivre of the song that only the most hard hearted people will not, as a bare minimum, tap a foot along with it.

David Kramer is a national treasure, having contributed richly to the musical heritage of the country in both political and non-political ways. He has also worked hard to preserve sounds of the Cape in his Karoo Kitaar Blues project. But every now and then the sparkle in his eye lights up and he produces gems like ‘Meisie…’

For those of you who are a bit anti Kramer’s ‘boereorkes’ sounds, it is worth checking out this song out. Just listen to the honky tonk sounding guitar which introduces the song and is prevalent throughout. It has a blues feel to it and is extremely catchy. ‘Meisie Sonner Sokkies’ can be enjoyed purely as something to get you to langarm on the dance floor, or you can just sit back (tapping you feet, naturally) and enjoy the masterful musicianship on it.

Where to find it:

Eina – David Kramer (1989), Blik Musiek
Klassic Kramer – David Kramer (1996), Blik Musiek, BLIK03
Alles Vannie Beste – David Kramer (1997), Blik Musiek, BLIK04

Cover version

Terwyl Die Donker Wolke Dans – Die Tuindwergies (2012), Jeamile Music



Cover version:

Hak Hom Blokkies – David Kramer

Die Verhaal Van Blokkies Joubert by David Kramer

Die Verhaal Van Blokkies Joubert by David Kramer

On 8 August 1981, there were 3 new entries on the Springbok Radio top
– Smokey Robinson’s ‘Being With You’; Michael Jackson’s ‘One Day In
Your Life’ and David Kramer’s ‘Hak Hom Blokkies’. Spot the odd one
out. Yes, you’re right it’s David Kramer, he’s the only one whose name
doesn’t end in ‘son’. (Seriously, it’s ‘Being With You’ as it was the
only one that didn’t go on to top the charts).

Kramer had made a bit of a name for himself with his debut album
Bakgat’, but most South Africans hadn’t heard of him until
‘Blokkies’ catapulted him into the spotlight. This little ditty that
sounded a lot like something you’d heard at a Boeredans, complete with
accordion and all, caused confusion. Those who had heard ‘Bakgat’ with
its serious undertones to quite often funny lyrics, were puzzled by
the apparent triteness of ‘Blokkies’, while those who loved the song
for its face value and sought out more of Kramer’s music would have
found that ‘Bakgat’ did not sit as comfortably on their turntables.

However, as a rugby loving nation, we were duty bound to embrace this
song, and embrace we did. ‘Hak Hom Blokkies’ spent 4 weeks at the top
of the Springbok Charts and was the only mixed English/Afrikaans song
to do so, some feat given that not too many years earlier, the SABC
had banned some of Jeremy Taylor’s mixed language songs for destroying
the purity of the languages.

Kramer went on to become a national treasure. Old Blokkies, he just
had that one game he played for the bokke back in 1931, but hey, we
all remember that game as if it were yesterday.

Where to find it:

David Kramer – Die Verhaal Van Blokkies Joubert (1981)

This album has never been released on CD and is available in digital format on Rhythm Music Store  exclusively by kind permission of David Kramer.

David Kramer – Klassic Kramer (1996), Blik Musiek, BLIK03

David Kramer – Jis Jis Jis (Live) (1983), Blik Musiek

Theuns Jordaan (cover version) – Ons Vir Jou Suid Afrika (2007), Jukebox Records


The moustache on his lip is pencil thin
Like the middle path through his hair
And although his friends call him Blokkies
His wife would calls him joubert

Ag christina christina he thinks to himself, you never could understand
What it feels like to dummy and to sidestep
With a leather ball in your hands

Man it’s hard to believe this is Blokkies joubert
The hooker in the springbok scrum
Cause he’s old and grey and he sits in his chair
In the slanting winter sun
But he made his name with that wonderful game that he played
In 1931

Well he sits in the lounge of the old age home
Just a north of beaufort west
And he watches a t.v. program of the springbok rugby test
Aas the images flicker upon the screen he can hear the manne call
They say hak hom hak hom Blokkies, Blokkies hak daai ball
En ons sê:

Druk hulle, druk hulle bokkies, druk hulle mannetjies flou
Hak hulle hak Blokkies, hak hulle bolletjie gou
Lig julle kniee druk julle driee daar agter die doellyn nou

He sits there in the afternoon sun, his memories come and go
He can clearly recall Bennie Osler and Boy and Fanie Louw
Yes, there they stand with the rest of the team
In the photograph on the wall
And if you ask him he will show you where they signed on his rugby ball

Een ons sê:
Druk hulle, druk hulle bokkies, druk hulle mannetjies flou
Hak hulle hak Blokkies, hak hulle bolletjie gou
Lig julle kniee druk julle driee daar agter die doellyn nou

Ja ons ouens was rof in die ou dae but we played the gentleman’s game
But it’s all been spoiled by politics never going to be the same
So he drifts back to the old days as he hears the manne call
They say, hak hom, hak hom Blokkies, Blokkies hak daai ball

En ons sê:
Druk hulle, druk hulle bokkies, druk hulle mannetjies flou
Hak hulle hak Blokkies, hak hulle bolletjie gou
Lig julle kniee druk julle driee daar agter die doellyn nou

En ons sê:
Druk hulle, druk hulle bokkies, druk hulle mannetjies flou
Hak hulle hak Blokkies, hak hulle bolletjie gou
Lig julle kniee druk julle driee daar agter die doellyn nou

Written by David Kramer, published by Blik Musiek



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