1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Archive for the tag “Face To Face”

Working Girls – Working Girls

Working Girls – Working Girls

Working Girls – Working Girls

Was the name of this group and the song inspired by Dolly Parton’s 1981 hit ‘9 to 5’ which was taken from a film of the same name and which was about women in the workplace? Or did the inspiration come from slightly further back when in 1980 Sheena Easton arrived on the scene with her ‘9 to 5 (Morning Train)’? Listening to this 1984 hit from the Working Girls, I would say that the latter was more the inspiration as the lead vocals by Julia Jade Aston are quite similar to Sheena’s (and Julia just needed to add an ‘E’ at the front of her surname to have the same one as Sheena Easton).

The song is a synth driven one that takes on the sound of the time and the intro sounds a little like that of Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ (although it also reminded me of the song ‘Space Invaders’ by Player 1). The strong beat accompanies the strong vocal to produce a solid 80’s dance track that precursored the Hi-Energy craze of that decade.

The song made it to number 26 on what had become the Springbok Top 30, peaking 4 places lower than the Working Guys (also known as Face to Face who were the male equivalent looks wise and who also had an Aston in the band, he was Jarrod Aston) who reached 22 with ‘Here We Are’. Julia Jade Aston had already had some success with Café Society, singing lead vocals on their popular ‘Somebody To Love’ and she went on to release a few solo singles, but ‘Working Girls’ would be her biggest success chartwise.

Where to find it:
Vinyl: Streetenergy – Working Girls (1984), WEA, WIC 8019

Video:

Night Of The Long Knives – Face To Face

Night Of The Long Knives - Face To Face

Night Of The Long Knives – Face To Face

While Face To Face’s ‘Here We Are’ made the Radio 5, 702 and Capital 604 charts in 1984, ‘Night Of The Long Knives’ the follow up single did not manage to emulate that success. And it is a little surprising as this song was as strong as its predecessor. Yes, ‘Here We Are’ was a slower ballad and ‘Night Of The Long Knives’ is more upbeat, but it was still as fine a piece of New Romantic music to be made in South Africa as anything else from that time.

With their NewRo hairstyles and airbrushed album covers, Face To Face were set to be our own Duran Duran, but they disappeared after only the one album. They had the looks, and with ‘Night Of The Long Knives’ they had the sound. Pulsing electric drums, rocking synths, the odd bit of guitar thrown in for good measure and a strong vocal. They also threw in a few French lyrics (which may possibly be the only ones to appear on an original South African song – but don’t quote me on that).

It was perhaps the fact that ‘Night Of The Long Knives’ was the name given to a Nazi purge operation in 1934 that prevented the song from gaining too much airplay. Interestingly though, while ‘Here We Are’ was their big hit, it was ‘Night Of The Long Knives’ from their set at the 1985 Concert In The Park in aid of Operation Hunger that made it onto the album from the event.

Where to find it:
Face To Face – Face To Face (2010), Fresh Music, FRESHCD180

Video:

 

Concert in the Park version:

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