1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

Archive for the tag “John Oakley-Smith”

Moonlighter – Colin Shamley

Colin Shamley (Image from 3rd Ear Music)

Colin Shamley (Image from 3rd Ear Music)

It is rather strange that Shamley has only recorded 1 album (‘Born Guilty’ as far as I can tell) as he certainly is a talented dude. There are similarities to John Oakley-Smith (who also released a single album) in that both artists sing about every day life in South Africa and do so in an understated yet quite magical way. The difference between Shamley and Oakley-Smith is that the latter used a lot of piano on his material where Shamley chooses a guitar to underpin his songs.

‘Moonlighting’ is one of the ‘Other Stories’ on the 3rd Ear re-release of the magnificent ‘Born Guilty’ which was released with a load of extra tracks and entitled ‘Born Guily & Other Stories’. It’s a bluesy number that consists of one voice (Shamley’s), one guitar (Shamley’s) and a dimly lit alley atmosphere where the sound echoes, a solitary streetlamp struggles to illuminate the scene full of night characters. Shamley is an observer, watching ‘cops and pimps and queens and whores’ as ‘they hang round the all night arcade’. He takes the lives of these people and squashes them into descriptive lyrics to create the paint of the song which he splashes onto a staccato canvas that his guitar provides.

This is songwriting at its very best. Shamley’s sharp observationsof nightlife are perfectly encapsulated in this song and the sparse soundtrack he sets it to is so good its almost criminal, perhaps that’s why Shamley thought he was born guilty.

Where to find it:
Born Guilty & Other Stories – Colin Shamley (2003) 3rd Ear Music, 3eM Cd 7005

Video:

Advertisements

God Keep The People (Who Stay Awake At Night) – John Oakley-Smith

Matinees On Saturdays - John Oakley-Smith

Matinees On Saturdays – John Oakley-Smith

There is an artist in the UK who in 2012 ‘did a Rodriguez’. That is, he recorded an album in 1967 and then another one in 1971 and then disappeared from sight only to have success come and find him decades later. This guy was Bill Fay who, following much touting in ‘Uncut’, a UK music magazine, eventually had an album in the UK charts.

And we all know the Rodriguez story of how he made 2 brilliant albums that did nothing then disappeared from sight, only to make a huge global comeback. John Oakley-Smith’s problem is that he only made 1 brilliant album that did nothing in 1976, but that shouldn’t preclude him from getting the recognition he deserves should it?

Just have a listen to the beautiful ‘God Keep The People (Who Stay Awake At Night)’ and then try and figure out why this man did not get more accolades. Like Rodriguez and Fay, Smith had an eye for human characters that he brings into his songs especially in this one where as he asks God to look after those nightowls whom most of us hardly notice. And, like Rodriguez and Fay, he brings them to our attention through great tunes. But where perhaps he outdoes Rodriguez and to a degree Fay, (and I may be going out on a limb here) is that he has a better voice. His is somewhat akin to Nick Drake and that is perfect for the music he plays.

So while you are listening to ‘God Keep The People’ maybe one of you out there may think about making a film called ‘Seaching For Matinee Man’.

turWhere to find it:
If you’re lucky you may find a vinyl copy of his brilliant LP ‘Matinees On Saturdays’ at a second hand shop. The song’s on that.

Video:

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: