Barney Simon's Radio Revolution - Various

2010-10-14 09:43
Barney Simon's Radio Revolution

Not so long ago, we reviewed "SA Rock Gold", which was a fairly comprehensive cross-section of SA radio rock between the late sixties and late 2000s. It's a great pop compilation, even if it sidesteps the contribution of Afrikaans to SA's rock history.

Radio legend Barney Simon's "Radio Revolution" unsurprisingly hits SA music from a more alternative angle, featuring some of SA Radio's louder anthems, as well as some of its more culturally meaningful ones. And it doesn't skimp on die taal, either.

Almost the entirety of CD1 is rooted in Afrikaans songs or English tracks by traditionally Afrikaans artists, starting with Fokofpolisiekar's anthemic and youthful-sounding "Fokofpoliesiekar", and ending with Breyten Breytenbach and Arno Carstens' "No Man's land". In between you'll find most of the major hitters in SA Rock's Afrikaans rock brigade: Koos, Karen Zoid, Piet Botha , Kerkorrel, Valiant, even Goosen's classic crossover "Boy van die Suburbs".

Coversely, Disc2 presents predominantly English-language tracks by many of the usual SA (Contemporary) Rock History suspects: The Awakening, Battery 9, The Narrow, Nude Girls, Fetish, Saron Gas, etc. It is also the disc on which Benjy Mudie and Barney Simon's picks reveal the most common ground: Radio Rats ("ZX Dan"), Sugardrive (“Disco Lazurus”), and No Friends of Harry (“Competition Rules”).

Other than that, Simon's double disc is strangely "split". Each of the discs has undeniably different appeal to social sensibilities, though this is more than likely accidental – the fact is that the Afrikaans and English artists seem to have generally different motivations in their music. Disc one feels more like a long drive up the coast to discover your country. Disc two is background music to a loud house party attended by your college mates.

At any rate, the result on the compilation is another fascinating way to experience SA rock as a microcosm of the country's varied "markets". Radio revolution allows the listener to hear just how compatible they really are in their differences. Fans SHOULD indeed be listening to all these artists on one radio station.

Also, the clutch of newer artists seem to work well when mixed up with the rest; Straatligkinders, Ashtray Electric, aKING, Van Coke Cartel and New Holland all seem important and relevant enough to be here.

And this proves two things: to cronies who long for the good old days and no longer give the time of day to discover new bands – catch a wake-up... there's quality out there. And to younger fans who believe that aKING are the greatest SA rock band ever, there are treasures to be found in the back catalogues of SA rock libraries if you make the effort.

p.s. Where's The Dolly Rockers' "Suicide Annie", Barns?

Afrikaans and English artists generally seem to have different motivations in their music. But that is a thing to be celebrated, as this compilation proves.

What to read next: Kalahari

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.