1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Archive for the tag “Rising Sons”

Better The Devil You Know – Stingray

Better The Devil You Know - Stingray

Better The Devil You Know – Stingray

Stingray were a bit of a supergroup in South Africa, featuring Tidal Waves’ Mike Pilot, Dennis East, Rising Sons’ Eddie Boyle, Julian Laxton and Hocus’ Allan Goldswain. And with all these talents coming together singing ‘Better The Devil You Know’, well, one wouldn’t be taken to task for running out and buying this single without even hearing it, because you knew what these ‘devils’ were capable of.

And you wouldn’t have been disappointed as the song kicks off with a guitar riff that has ROCK!!!!! Written all over it. There is a bit of a Led Zep feel to this opening and this feel continues into the track with the thumping syncopation of the drums and East’s howling vocals. The chorus moves the song into more AOR territory, with higher pitched backing vocals intertwining with the raw rock of the lead.

And we took to the devil we knew as the song went all the way up to 4 on the Springbok Radio charts in 1979, spending 12 weeks in the top 20. This was a better peak than all of Dennis East’s solo hits, the Rising Sons hit and The Julian Laxton Band’s ones. Only Tidal Wave manged better as they hit the top spot with ‘Spider Spider’. But the average weeks the songs by the band members’ other hits managed was 9.2 and their peak positions averaged 9.4 so one could say that in the case of Stingray, the whole was better than the average of the parts.

‘Better The Devil You Know’ is one of the great tracks in the South African musical chest. It has all you need for a perfect rock song – wailing and fuzzy guitars, a howling lead vocal, high pitched backing vocals and thundering drums. Would surely rank highly in a top 100 South Africa rock tracks list.

Where to find it:
Various Artists – The Best of SA Pop Volume 2 (1994) GMP, CDGMPD 40486 (CD)


How Do You Do – Rising Sons

How Do You Do - Rising Sons

How Do You Do – Rising Sons

South African’s seemed to like the songs that Mouth & MacNeal, a Dutch duo, performed as we sent Sharon Tandy and Billy Forrest’s cover of their ‘Hello-A’ to number 5 in our charts in the same year that The Rising Sons’ cover of their ‘How Do You Do’ went to number 4. While we liked the songs of Mouth & MacNeal, we didn’t take to their perfomances as they never charted themselves.

The Rising Sons, who haled from Pietermaritzburg, took the Mouth & MacNeal stomp-a-long version and turned it into a lighter-footed version with the quieter female vocal section being more breathy and accompanied by a light touch organ where M&M used a plain pop vocal over a string section. There is also a slighty countrified sound to the Rising Sons version.

But whether you prefer the Mouth & MacNeal version or the Rising Sons one, there is no denying that this is a catchy song that has you tapping your foot (or stomping it in the case of the original) along to.

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


Stand Up For The Lady – Rising Sons

Stand Up For The Lady - Rising Sons

Stand Up For The Lady – Rising Sons

This is an old song. How do I know, well it refers to a form of chivalry that has all but disappeared from out society. Now I don’t want to get into a debate about whether it is a good or bad thing that this no longer happens, I just want to put the song into context. So, with lyrics that today may seem a bit politically dodgy, one needs to remember that back then, this would have been regarded as a ‘good’ message in a song.

Apart from the lyrics, the song is a nice sing-a-long ditty that was written by Paul Ditchfield (who was in the Bats) that has a foot tapping rhythm, a nice echo-ey vocal and some funky sax thrown in for good measure. The Bats were well known for producing quality pop songs and in ‘Stand Up For The Lady’, they could easily have kept it for themselves, but The Rising Sons did a great job of it.

Hailing from Pietermaritzburg and featuring Rod Kielly on vocals, Andy White on bass, Gerald Hawes on keyboards, Malcolm Watson on guitar and Dave Campbell on drums, Rising Sons took the song to number 13 on the Springbok Radio charts and number 11 on the LM Charts. All in all it was a good mannered song.

Where to find it:
Singles bins


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