It is not often that we see offspring who follow in the footsteps of a famous musician parent doing as well as the parent, but in Kongos’ case, we see four sons of Johnny making a name for themselves internationally. Johnny (who later became John) had 2 number 4 hits in the UK and 1 number 70 hit in the US. His sons, who make up the band Kongos, haven’t yet captured the UK market in the same way, but did manage to get to 31 in the US with ‘Come With me Now’.
Listening to ‘Escape’, or any of the other songs on Kongos’ brilliant album ‘Lunatic’, you find that all those pounding drums that John put into ‘Tokoloshe Man’ and ‘He’s Gonna Step On You Again’ (his UK hits), have beaten a trail through the genes and landed up with the sons. ‘Escape’ takes a little while to remember to use the drums, starting slowly with plaintive vocals over a somewhat hauting keyboard and low-key guitar, then some bass comes in and eventually the drums come a-banging on your speakers.
Despite the international success of the band, this track has a particularly local appeal as the lyrics talk about things getting to pretty much an end of the world scenario leaving the singer wanting to ‘Escape’ to ‘that Good Hope town where the weather’s fair’, and we all know where that is. Anyone who has ever been to Cape Town would be able to relate to this being a haven to head for when things turn bad. There is a certain inner calm to the place and, despite the big drums on the song, it also seems to have a relaxing effect on one.
The visuals in the official video for the track (see below) is a perfect companion to the sound, following a young couple’s desperate flight, following some worldy disaster, to get to Cape Town and just as the music begins to fade out, we find them on top of Table Mountain looking out over the view. And that’s where you feel you are when the song fades – standing on top of the world.
Where to find it:
Lunatic – Kongos, Tokoloshe Records (2012)