1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Archive for the tag “Lloyd Ross”

Pull Up Your Socks – The Dynamics

The Dynamics

The Dynamics

If I were to put together a list of my top 10 favourite local instrumental tracks, there would be a fight between Lloyd Ross’ ‘Vyfster’ and The Dynamics’ ‘Pull Up Your Socks’ for the top spot. While the former is moody and somewhat sombre, it has a mysterious allure to it that you can lose yourself in. But where ‘Vyfster’ is introspective and atmospheric, ‘Pull Up Your Socks’ is a 5 and a half minute joy-fest.

It has a cheeky ska beat which always puts one in a good mood and, with its warm brassy intro, you know you’re in for a treat. Underpinning it we hear an organ sound which comes to the fore later in the tune to have its own moment in the spotlight. But before that the trumpet has a run out as does a township-tinged guitar, each bringing a new flavour to the sound.

This song is the soundtrack to a jaunty stroll down Rocky Street (for those of you who have memories of that part of the world). You’re kitted out in the coolest clothes, your friends hanging with you are members of the elite in-crowd, there’s a skip in your step and everything in the world just seems right. It’s confident without being arrogant or brash.

The only thing I can’t figure out is where the title came from. ‘Pull Up Your Socks’ would be something a headmaster would tell a school kid to do and usually it is a barked command rather than a polite request. There is nothing authoritarian, barked or school kid-ish about the track. ‘Pull Up your Socks’ can also be used as a phrase to tell someone to improve what they are doing. Used this way it is also a command, but again, this song has no feel of being a call to improvement, nor can the song itself get any better. It’s perfect as it is. My only guess is that it may be a tongue in cheek response to the command ‘Pull Up Your Socks’. Perhaps the full title should be ‘(Life’s Too Short To) Pull Up Your Socks’ as it is about the joys of living. The only downside of not pulling up your socks is that you have to find somewhere else to store your comb.

Where to find it:
The Dynamics – The Dynmaics (2001) Retrofresh, freshcd 111

Hear here:

Zen Surfing In The 3rd World – Robin Auld

Zen Surfing In The 3rd World – Robin Auld

Zen Surfing In The 3rd World – Robin Auld

After his 1991 album ‘Love Kills’, Robin Auld moved across to the innovative and essential Shifty Records label, a label known for its political and renegade attitude. With Lloyd Ross on the production desk, Auld recorded and released his 5th album ‘Zen Surfing In The Third World’. Those who may have been worried about Auld changing record labels, expecting a totally different sound and style would have been put at ease almost from the first note of the title track which opens the album as within a few beats there is that jaunty jangling guitar sound fans would have known and love.

They would have been further put at ease when a few second later Robin’s distinctive vocals come through like a gentle wave singing ‘We’re all going on a summer holiday/anywhere where the sky is blue’. And that’s the Robin we know and love. When you put this track on, the sun shines, the surf is perfect, and you feel your spirit lift. And there doesn’t appear to be a heavy political message that was an integral part of the Shifty ethos. But then this was 1993. Things were changing in the country and there was a lot of optimism and worry sloshing around as we transitioned.

‘Zen Surfing In The Third World’ was a great anthem for the time. It is soaked in positive vibes, rejoicing in the changes and looking forward to better times, but also acknowledges the past and high level of emigration, especially in the lines ‘Do you maybe want to sing a freedom song/it don’t matter where you stay/the world gets smaller every single day’. But he goes on to add later in the song ‘There’s no battle to fight now baby’.

According to Wikipedia, ‘Zen’ emphasises rigorous self-restraint, meditation-practice, insight into the nature of mind and nature of things’ and on ‘Zen Surfing In The Third World’ Robin perhaps doesn’t do too much rigorous self restraint (he’s too busy being happy) but he does sort of meditate on what has just transpired. The song is a study on the nature of mind and nature of things, but it is also a thing of the mind and a thing of nature as he conjures up sunny skies and white beaches. So grab your cozzie and board, surf’s up!

Where to find it:
The Best of Vol 1 – Robin Auld (1999), TicTicBang, BANGCD888
Zen Surfing In The Thrid World – Robin Auld, Shifty Records (1993), CDSHIFT (WL) 53


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