1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Archive for the tag “David Bowie”

Waikiki Man – Jessica Jones

Waikiki Man - Jessica Jones

Waikiki Man – Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones hailed from Glamorgan in Wales, but made her way to South Africa and decided to stay. Perhaps scoring a number 1 hit with ‘Sunday Monday Tuesday’ persuaded her to make SA her home. Her second hit, ‘Wake Up Wake Up’ went to 9 and ‘Waikiki Man’, which was produced by none other than David Gresham, made it to 13.

Despite the title referring to Waikiki, a beachfront neighbourhood of Honolulu in Hawaii, the sound of the song does not conjure up images of white sands, blue seas and flowery garlands, it is too much of a glam pop stomp to do this, starting as it does with a guitar intro that Damon Albarn and the boys from Blur surely must have heard before they wrote the intro to ‘Parklife’.

The song was written by Dutch producer and song writer Peter Koelewijn who also penned Maria’s ‘Clap Your Hands And Stamp You Feet’ and its quite appropriate becase this is a song designed to clap your hands and stamp your feet to. It was a European hit for Bonnie St Clair, going to 4 in Belgium, 5 in Holland, 14 in Austria and 30 in Germany. Not to be outdone, Jessica’s version was also a hit beyond our borders, getting to number 1 in what was then Rhodesia and managing to keep David Bowie’s ‘Sorrow’ off the top spot there. It also managed to get to 12 in New Zeland according to the information I have found although the sleeve notes to ‘Yesterday’s Best Vol 1’ say that it topped the charts there, but I have not been able to verify that.

Jessica has since returned to the UK, but she certainly made her mark on the SA pop scene in the 1970s and ‘Waikiki Man’ was one of those noticeable marks.

Where to find it:
Yesterday’s Best Vol 1, 1995, Teal, MORCD502

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Free State Rain – Radio Rats

Radio Rats

Radio Rats

Most people will kown the Radio Rats as those ous who brought us the brilliant ‘ZX Dan’ and yes, they gave us that classic, but not many would realise that the band has been particularly prolific and still seem to be churning out new material years after that 1979 classic.

One of the songs they have recorded more recently (1995) was a little ditty called ‘Free State Rain’ which appeared on their album ‘Third Street’. Although ‘ZX Dan’ dealt with aliens and was somewhat akin to Bowie’s ‘Starman’, The Rats have always had a streak of the local in their song writing. Apart from ‘Free State Rain’ other song titles such as ‘East Rand Town Called Springs’, ‘Obz Café Blues’ and ‘Valkenburg Shuffle’ are examples of this.

‘Free State Rain’ is sometimes a term used to describe a dust storm and that seems to be what Johnathan Handley and the boys seem to be getting at on this laid back gem. This song is a relaxed affair. Dave Davies slightly creepy, yet somehow enchanting vocals are something like the Addams Family, weird and macarbe yet somehow you can’t help loving them. The music is desert music, you know the type that seems to encapture wide open spaces. ‘Free State Rain’ does this in a gently lilting manner that wraps itself around you and worms its way into your soul, warming you up. It engulfs you like a dust storm, but does not irritate, rather it soothes.

Where to find it:
Third Street – Radio Rats, Radium Wreckords (1995)

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