1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Archive for the tag “Beatles”

Only When It Rains – Mean Mr Mustard

Only When It Rains - Mean Mr Mustard

Only When It Rains – Mean Mr Mustard

Beatles fans amongst you will recognise this band’s name, only your immediate thought would be, that’s a track off the ‘Abbey Road’ album isn’t it. Well yes, you are right, and I’m guessing that South African band Mean Mr Mustard’s name had nothing to do with Mr Coleman.

Despite the Beatles connection with their name, their sound was not Beatle-esque. It is more melodic rock somewhat akin to Just Jinger and ‘Only When It Rains’ (which co-incidently it is doing as I am writing  this – weird that) is a beautiful track that is perhaps a little less hard edged than some of the Mustard’s other tracks. It features some emotive vocals by Mark Beling with some measured guitars underpinning them. There is a heartfelt appeal in his voice, begging his love to stay.

There is also a comforting feel about the record, as if they are offering you protection from the storms of life. This was Mean Mr Mustard at their very best and it is no co-incidence that the track is the opening one of their ‘Best Of’ album released in 2008. So as the rain pours down and The Beatles fans move away from this review having learned a little bit more about things Beatle related, but not actually The Fab Four, I just need to leave you with the thought that this Mean Mr Mustard who sang ‘Only When It Rains’ apart from not being themselves a Beatles track, are also not a small take out restaurant in Hendsersonville in North Carolina, just in case you got confused there (Google the restaurant, I’m not making this up).

Where to find it:
Only When It Rains – Mean Mr Mustard (2002), Ster Musiek

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Starlight – Grannysmith

Starlight - Grannysmith

Starlight – Grannysmith

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, or so the saying goes. Whoever came up with that phrase would not have been talking about this particular Grannysmith as I rememeber hearing that said when I was a child and Grannysmith the band were not around when I was a youngster. In fact when Mike Turner, Adrian Shannon and Riaan Combrink got together to form Grannysmith, it was well into the 90s.

However, the saying about keeping the medical profession at bay could quite easily be applied to the band that should have appeared on The Beatles Apple Records label as ‘Starlight’ is a song that will put you in a healthy frame of mind. It is a relaxed piece of pop rock with pseudo-classical guitars, breathy, mellow vocals and a laid-back mindset. It’s a de-stresser of a song.

The band were ‘discovered’ by Denholm from Just Jinger and signed to BMG near the end of of previous millennium (1999 in case you can’t remember that far back). ‘Starlight’ was their first single and it went on to just miss out on the S.A.M.A. best single of 1999 award where, despite its nomination, it was pipped at the post by Sugardrive’s ‘Disco Lazarus’. Some say winning is everything and second is nothing, but those that do can miss out on having a healthy bite of good music.

Where to find it:
Grannysmith – Grannysmith (1999), Colossal

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Here Comes The Sun – Hawk

African day - Hawk

African day – Hawk

Imagine, if you can, that John, Paul, George and Ringo had been born in Bloemfontein instead of Liverpool. And that they had been born about a decade later than they were. Apart from them not having scouse accents, and that they may have been called Jan Lennon, Paul Makhati, George Harrismith and Ringo Stêr they may have brought a different whole new sound to the world.

Have a listen to Hawk’s cover of the Fab Four’s ‘Here Comes The Sun’ and you’ll get an idea of what they may have sounded like. This cover version is a rare thing in that it has an Afrorock take on a Beatles Classic. Written by George Harrison, Dave Ornellas & Co take this pretty little tune, drag it through the African bush, let a few elephants trample on it, get a witchdoctor to chant some spells over it and then set it loose to roam the plains.

It’s a dusty take on the original that starts off calmly like and African sunrise, but as that great orange ball in the sky breaks loose of the horizon and the day begins to heat up, so does the song. Up till this point, it has kept closely to the original tune (tune, not style), but then it begins to speed up, Ornellas bursts out in a rant and the song become a herd of buffalo rampaging through the Kruger Park. It’s the aural equivalent of the great migration.

Where to find it:
African Day – Hawk (2001), Reftrofresh, freshcd 108

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