1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Archive for the tag “Joburg Hawk”

Welcome Home – Harvest

Welcome Home – Harvest

Welcome Home – Harvest

Let’s get this straight from the start, ‘Welcome Home’ by Harvest is not a cover of the Peters & Lee song that got to number 1 in the UK. It is rather a cover of the Dutch duo Big Mouth & Little Eve song which did not make the Dutch charts. Big Mouth was the Mouth half of Mouth & MacNeal, a successful Dutch duo that brought us hits like ‘How Do You Do’ and ‘Hello-A’, both of which were covered by locals. The former was covered by The Rising Sons and the latter by a duet consisting of Billy Forrest and Sharon Tandy.

And Forrest and Tandy were both involved in the cover of ‘Welcome Home’ with Forrest producing the song and Tandy being a member of Harvest alongside Hawk’s Dave Ornellas. Their cover was released in 1978, a year after Big Mouth & Little Eve’s version. Harvest would get to 10 and spend 11 weeks on the Springbok Charts with their version.

‘Welcome Home’ is a pleasant 70s pop song with a catchy chorus and Harvest give it a slightly harder sound than the original with guitars, harmonica and Ornellas’ whiskey and honey vocals giving it a more bluesy feel than Big Mouth & Little Eve’s version. The picture sleeve of the cover shows a troopie knocking on the front door of what is presumably his home. This image would have helped to sell the single as many families were having to live with young men conscripted into the army and only returning home occasionally.

With big names like Forrest, Tandy and Ornellas being involved, coupled with a catchy song and a sentimental sleeve cover, it was no wonder this was a hit record in South Africa.

Where to find it:
Various Artists – The Best of SA Pop Volume 3 (1994) GSP, CDREDD 610

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The Return – Hawk

Africa She Too Can Cry - Hawk

Africa She Too Can Cry – Hawk

There’s a fuzzy dustiness to ‘The Return’ by Hawk. It’s not just the gravelly growlings of Dave Ornellas that make, it so it’s also the instruments which seem a little out of focus and don’t come across in fine detail. But that’s not a bad thing and was probably deliberately recorded in that way (although they may use different phrases to describe it) to create an earthy African feel to a song that would otherwise have been a West Coast American 70s rock tune.

A slightly trippy guitar dances around some handclaps to create the backdrop to Ornellas’ ‘wild man’ vocals which tell the story of a man returning to the one he loves. ‘I’m going home/to the one I love’ is sung a few times before the dramatic cry of ‘I’m on my wa-ay-ay-ay’ astonishes the instruments into a moments silence.

As their name suggests, Hawk made wild free music that soars. There is also a sense of the predator in their music and ‘The Return’ captures all this in its rough-edged way. It is one that you will return to again and again.

Where to find it:
Africa She Too Can Cry (Official CD re-issue) (2004) RetroFresh, freshcd137

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Predictions – Hawk

Hawk (Aka Joburg Hawk)

Hawk (Aka Joburg Hawk)

To include or not to include, that seems to have been the question that surrounded Hawk’s ‘Predictions’. The song originally appeared on the original 1972 South African vinly release of ‘Africa She Too Can Cry’ but did not make it onto the 1973 European vinyl release (yes the album was released outside our borders with the band taking on the name Joburg Hawk). It reappeared on an unofficial Japanese CD release of the album (circa 1998) but disappeared again when Retrofresh released the album locally on CD. So, who can, erm, predict what the next release will bring.

The song itself is a dense affair with claustrophobic and booming guitars, tumbling drums that fuzz out of the speaker, just on the right side of distortion, but with enough haze about the sound to be slightly unnerving. And over this soaring like a, erm, hawk, is the voice of Dave Ornellas. Back in the day, Dave had a wild bush of hair on his head and a voice that sounded as of it had been dragged through a wild bush. Its ragged sound only offset by it boom and it sort of sits somewhere between Ozzy Osbourne and Joe Cocker.

‘Predictions’ is a song that pummels you into liking it by is sheer force. It is an intense affair that you can, thankfully, find on the Retrofresh compilation Astral Daze. Perhaps they realised the mistake they made in leaving it off the ‘Africa She To Can Cry’ CD and with the wonders of modern technology and playlists, you can put it back in it’s rightful place as track 3.

Where to find it:
Astral Daze – Various Artists, RetroFresh, (2005), FRESHCD148

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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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