SA Party - Various

2009-07-23 16:02
 
SA Party
 
Yes, it's tempting to gag on that "disclaimer" and set about deconstruncting just why the requisite 'Rainbow Nation' representation is largely overlooked. After all, if SA Party champions itself as a celebration of five decades of SA hits then where the hell is Brenda's "Weekend Special", Lucky Dube's "Prisoner", or Mama Afrika's "Meadowlands" for that matter? Lost in licensing issues maybe?

Maybe. But as the liner notes insist, "SA Party is not a political party". It's simply a collection of "42 South African recordings that made us cry, laugh, love – and somehow got us through some really dark times." Translated? You'll only find a handful of black artists included here, those who were lucky enough to enjoy crossover pop appeal with white audiences back in the bad old apartheid days. So we get exotic, tribal Afro-pop postcards such as Margaret Singana's epic Shaka Zulu theme song, "We are Growing" and Ipi Thombi's "Mama Thembu's Wedding", but not her loud, black and proud African anthems "The Warrior" or "The Digger". 

No worries though. Despite such an unapologetically apolitical bent this collection is nonethless a fantastic anthropological snapshot of some classic SA songs that "grabbed the ears, hearts and attention of South Africans over the past five decades". Classic rocks fans are going to groove on McCully Workshop's "Buccaneer", Stingray's "Better the Devil You Know", and the Julian Laxton Band's "Blue Water" which have lost none of their fist pumping, rock 'n roll hedonism. And if you're after  a fab fourplay to get any dance floor filled, then look no further than PJ Powers and Hotline's Afro-popped arena rocker "Jabulani", Clout's blank disco rock "Substitute", eVoid's Afro-new waved "Taximan" and Dr.Victor & The Rasta Rebels' funky "Gimme Hope Joanna". 

And let's not forget those slow dances. Rabbitt's "Charlie" (Wonderboom's rendition is also included),  and Lesley Rae Dowling's "The Spaniard" all make for seductive remembrances of Matric dance dates past. Just be warned though. Hearing John Ireland belt out his immortal come-on lines like "I like....syrup apricot, to supplement the body juices" on his breathy ballad "I Like" is so darn sexy you just might find yourself filing for divorce papers after fantatising about that dangerous bathroom liaison you had with your sweetheart back in high school.

Right, so SA Party is clearly a nostalgia fest for 40, 50 and um, 60-somethings only then? Weirdly enough, no. While soulful ballads like Joy's "Paradise Road", Pacific Express' "Give a Little Love", Crocodile Harris' "Give me the Good News" and Blk Sonshine's "Born in a Taxi" (post apartheid) all pack an unabashedly mature emotional punch, there are a couple of forgotten one hit wonders that aren't aimed exclsuively at mom and dad. Remeber Café Society's psychotically annoying "Woodpeckers from Space"? Well, its Crazy Frog-on-crack synth-pop-rap cocktail is so damn cheesy it's bound to strike a chord with today's retro-kistch obsessed neon-disco pop teens and 20-somethings. And the suburban sci-fi existentialism of the Radio Rat's classic "ZX Dan", the young and restless rallying cry of Sweatband's "This Boy" or even Ballyhoo's brooding Police-styled ballad "Man On the Moon" should be required listening for every young indie rock band looking for an audience beyond Bellville or Benoni.  

Unfortunately the same can't be said of some of the forgotten one-hit wonders. While Billy Forest's freewheeling "Liefde is My Nooi Se Naam" is clearly where both Kurt Darren ("Meisie Meisie") and Die Campbells got their groove on, the less said about novelty rock of The Bats' "Shabby Little Hut" the better. Still, hearing Jessica Jones crooning "living very new day like it's gonna be my last day" on "Sunday, Monday, Tuesday" does recast the frothy country pop ditty in a whole new light. 




Worried that your 25th high school reunion party's going to turn into a remake of Carrie? Slip this 42-song nostalgia fest onto shuffle and you'll be reliving all the laughter, love and tears of the dark old SA days in all their "quirky, confused, painful and sometimes joyous glory".

What to read next: Kalahari

JR 2009/07/27 10:38 AM
There has been FAR! better SA Hits CD's released in the years gone past... There is VERY! little on this CD making it worth spending good money on it...!
Jaco 2009/07/27 12:42 PM
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Yes JR, that is according to you - but not according to everybody.
CAT 2009/07/27 1:22 PM
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Jaco, I agree with you 100%. Taste differ from person to person.
cheryll haskins 2009/11/29 4:17 PM
execellent songs, but unable to hear the snippets
Shawn 2010/08/14 1:45 AM
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