Illegal Gathering where one of the many Shifty records signings that featured James Phillips. Phillips had been in The Cherry Faced Lurchers, Corporal Punishment, Suburban Blank Boys and What Colours and appeared in the line up of Illegal Gathering alongside Karl Helgard, David Ledbetter and Wayne Raath.
‘Button Your Lip’ first appeared on ‘The Voice Of Nooit’ which was released as a cassette feature Corporal Punishment on the other side of the tape. The songs for the album were recorded in Cape Town in 1985 and would include a version of ‘Hou My Vas Korporaal’, a song that Phillips would make famous under the name Bernoldus Niemand’
Like a lot of the songs from Phillips’ bands at the time, ‘Button Your Lip’ has an ominous sound to it. It’s edgy stripped down stuff that was never going to have people flocking to buy it. It was aimed at an alternative market. One for whom music needed to prick one’s conscious, one for whom words meant more than a happy tune you can dance to. ‘Button Your Lip’ has a strange fascination to it. It lures you into an unsettled place and shakes you up a little before ejecting you, leaving you feeling somehow enriched by the experience despite the discomfort it brings.
During the 80’s in South Africa, gatherings were banned and people had to button their lips if they did not want a run in with the law. But people like James Phillips and his various bands did gather to create some of the most important music of the time. ‘Button Your Lip’ is just one of a multitude of tracks that came out of those creative groups.
Where to find it:
Astral Daze 2 – Various Artists, RetroFresh, (2009), FRESHCD162