1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Archive for the tag “Virginia Lee”

Die Ou Kraal Liedjie – Virginia Lee & Nick Taylor

Die Ou Kraal Liedjie – Virginia Lee & Nick Taylor

Die Ou Kraal Liedjie – Virginia Lee & Nick Taylor

Virginia Lee was the darling of South African music in the late 50’s and the early 60’s. She would have a few Springbok top 20 hits, including ‘Tennessee Yodel Polka’, a duet with the America singer Slim Whitman. On this version of the Afrikaans standard, she teams up with Nick Taylor.

The song was arranged by Dirkie de Villiers who was the son of the composer of the music (not the words) to Die Stem, M.L. de Villiers. One source says that it was subsequently found that the melody for ‘Die Ou Kraal Liedjie’ was actually lifted from a song called ‘Ain’t Nobody’s Bizness If I Do’, but listening to the various versions of the latter on Youtube, I can’t see the similarity.

That said, Virginia’s version of this classic, is a delightful one with her lovely voice adding the sunshine to the green fields banjo plucking and the gentle breeze guitar. Virginia’s vocals are at the forefront of the song and give this version its personality while Nick Taylor’s backing vocals support the star of the show, complimenting it, but never stealing its limelight.

So dust off your bandolintjie (if you have managed to work out what it is), sit out on the porch to watch the sunny summer’s day go by and sign along to ‘Die Ou Kraal Liedjie’.

Where to find it:

Afrikaanse Goue Jare Vol 2 – Various Artists (1996)

Video:

Sally Sunshine – Clive Bruce

Sally Sunshine – Clive Bruce

Sally Sunshine – Clive Bruce

The story goes that Clive Bruce’s stepmother, Virginia Lee, brought a copy of the song ‘Sally Sunshine’ back with her when she returned from a trip to the UK. It is likely that the version she brought back (if it was a single rather than a demo tape or sheet music) would have been by a guy called Miki Anthony. No matter exactly how Clive first heard the song, he liked it enough to record his own version and it proved a good idea as it gave him his first (of 2) Springbok Top 20 hits where it would peak at 11. It would also top the LM Radio charts for 2 weeks.

When you first put it on, it doesn’t immediately grab one, sounding a little bit like a kids’ nursery song with a xylophone and a single bass note accompanying Clive’s vocal. But then a tambourine arrives and you start thinking, ‘this okay although I’m still not convinced.’ Then comes the chorus and you know you will be humming the song (well the chorus) for a good while as it is a nice little sing-a-long one.

Not to be confused with The Everly Brothers song with the same title, ‘Sally Sunshine’ by Miki Anthony also has that kids’ feel to it and it is in the innocence of it that the song’s appeal lies. It is pleasant pop from the early 70’s and would probably be an easy choice for a list of 1,001 catchy choruses you must hear before you go deaf. Still, it was a hit for Clive, the SA public enjoyed it enough as it brought some sunshine to our lives.

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

Video:

Darling It’s Wonderful – Virginia Lee

Darling It’s Wonderful – Virginia Lee

Darling It’s Wonderful – Virginia Lee

Way back in 1927 a girl called Virginia de Jager was born in Port Elizabeth. 39 years later in 1966, she recorded a song called ‘Darling It’s Wonderful’ which took her to her highest ever placing in the Springbok Top 20 as the song made it to number 3 and spent 9 weeks in the charts.

A country-tinged ballad, Lee had the perfect voice for such a song with enough of a twang to capture the country sound, but not too much of a twang to be irritating. Her voice is underpinned by a gently rocking guitar and beat. It has all the ingredients of those late 50’s early 60’s rock n’ roll ballads and when you realise that ‘Darling It’s Wonderful’ was originally recorded in 1957 by The Lovers, a duo consisting of Allen Bunn, the song’s writer, and his wife Anna Sanford. That version would make it to number 48 on the Billboard charts in the US. But most South Africans who know the song would probably look to Virginia’s version when wanting to stroll hand in hand with their gal/guy down memory lane.

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

Video:

Goodbye My Love – Murray Campbell

Goodbye My Love – Murray Campbell

Murray Campbell - Goodbye My Love

Murray Campbell – Goodbye My Love

Murray Campbell was a Scotsman who made his home in South Africa. In 1965 he recorded a version of Nino Rosso’s ‘Il Silenzio’ with a short spoken vocal in English and changed the song’s name to ‘Goodbye My Love’ The song topped the Springbok Charts for 6 weeks and also the (then) Rhodesian charts for 8 weeks. He also recorded 2 versions with Virginia Lee singing a vocal, one in English and one in Afrikaans.

The main instrument featured in the song is Campbell’s trumpet which has resonances of ‘The Last Post’. It is a moving piece that would fit in well on an old western soundtrack as the hero moves off from the grave of the woman he has just lost and heads into the sunset. However, the spoken piece tells the story the other way with the male voice saying to his love to kiss him before he goes.

Campbell plays his instrument with a crystal clarity and poignancy that has this haunting piece ringing in your mind long after the notes have faded and you are left in a contemplative mood.

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

Video:

Murray Campbell Instrumental:


With Virginia Lee (English Vocals):


With Virginia Lee (Afrikaans Lyrics):


Il Silenzio – NinoRosso

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