1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

Archive for the tag “The Gonks”

Woman Yeah – The Gonks

Woman Yeah – The Gonks

Woman Yeah – The Gonks

The Gonks hailed from Durban and were the backing band for Billy Forrest (who was going under the name Quentin E Klopjaeger at the time) on his single ‘Lazy Life’. The mainstay of the band in its early line up was a guy called Howard Schachat who was the guitarist for the band. He had been in a band called Invisible Church before that.

The Gonks only made a few singles and then disappaeared, but one of those singles was ‘Nobody But Me’ which featured as its b-side ‘Woman Yeah’, a fuzzy garage-ey piece of rock pop from 1967. It has an insistent guitar riff that drills itself into your head going round and round while the vocals come across as a little bit soul, a little bit punk and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, giving it an interesting effect.

The track was written by band members Noel McDermott and Craig Ross, the latter eventually moving on to be part of Freedom’s Children. Grahame Beggs (who was one of the main members of Charisma who had a massive hit with ‘Mammy Blue’) produced the tracks.

There is not a lot of Gonks material available and what is out there is hard to find but the chaps behind the excellent ‘Astral Daze’ series decided that reviving an old Gonks b-side for the second compilation was a good idea and I for one agree. This is great stuff from what would be a lost era of SA music if we didn’t have the archive trawlers that we are fortunate enough to have. I found a copy of ‘Nobody But Me’, the a-side of the single on Youtube and its not bad, but I think the Astral Daze dudes chose right with going for the b-side.

Where to find it:
Astral Daze 2 – Various Artists, RetroFresh, (2009), FRESHCD162

Video:

Lazy Life – Quentin E Klopjaeger

Lazy Life – Quentin E Klopjaeger

Lazy Life - Quentin E Klopjaeger

Lazy Life – Quentin E Klopjaeger

This song is made from warm Saturday afternoons, the smell of newly cut grass, the sound of bees buzzing, blues skies, the aroma of boerewors braaing on the fire and kids running free in a large park. The rhythm section is a pulsing blue sky and the vocals are a cool breeze blowing through the scene.

Written by Gordon Haskell and with The Gonks playing the instruments, Quentin E Klopjaeger (aka Billy Forrest) put together a song of pure pop magic. At just over 2 minutes long, the song is bright and breezy and captures all the joy of a lazy life, you know, those days where you just get away from everything. A modern day title for the song would be called ‘Spending Quality Time With Your Family’, but that doesn’t scan as well.

The song topped the SA charts in June 1968 and spent 2 weeks there. The timing of this is quite odd as it would have been the middle of winter. Perhaps the country was just longing for those warmer lazy days to come again, but it just goes to show that, although ‘Lazy Life’ may seem to be a summer song, it is in fact one for all seasons.

Where to find it:
Various Artists – The Best of SA Pop Volume 1 (1994) GMP, CDGMPD 40485 (CD)

Video:

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: