Lost & Found is a series that showcases long lost music from the 60s by South African white artists. Maybe these songs and sounds were lost for years but not forgotten. Today I want to present a record by Peanut Butter Conspiracy aka PBC, a group that worked with The Flames and singer Una Valli. Not to be confused with the American band of 1966 with the same name. A combination of soul and uptempo excitement, just plain talent combined with ambition and gutsy professionalism. No hype, no hustle.
The group Peanut Butter Conspiracy was formed in 1968. The original line up included: Una Valli (vocals), John Lindeman (guitar),Brian Mulder (bass), Ron Naturam (keyboards), Mike Fox (drums), Peter Lynch (sax/mouth-organ/guitar) and Mike Koch (drums). Subsequent band members included Ton Schiff (keyboards), George Hill (drums), Herbert Simon (guitar), Moose Forer (bass), Frank Hill (drums), Stuart Preston (drums), Mick Spooner (keyboard/sax), Eddie Payne (trumpet) and Freddie Schesser (trumpet). “Understanding”reached #2 on Springbok’s Top 20 in May 1971 and spent 17 weeks on the charts. It went to #1 on the Rhodesian charts for three weeks in May 1971. Other hits include: “Hold On To What You’ve Got” (#4 Aug ’71) and “Amen” (#2 Dec ’71).
Their cover of the song “Part Of Someone (Church)” originally by Steven Stills remains a true gem that is waiting to shine again.
PBC continued on to at least 1973 releasing a few records on the Columbia record label in South Africa. Alan Brackett of the American band said that he no doubt believes that they used their name especially because both bands were signed with Columbia. There is also a barbershop quartet with the same name. There were many foreign bands that emulated American sounds with 60s psychedelia, progressive rock, and soul music. Apparently Columbia had no problem with this.
Peanut Butter Conspiracy…Chart Busters…Soulmates. Take six musicians: Patent Brian Mulder’s gravel-voice delivery. Add brass. Peter Lynch, Mike Spooner and Eddie Payne. Blend in Stuart Prestam’s drumming and Herbert Simon’s guitar riffs. Now you have it – the PBC sound. Here’s their debut album to confirm your suspicions. This is South Africa’s pop discovery of the 70s.
Throughout the entire month of May Soul Safari will be listing field recordings, folk, private pressings, township jive & kwela jazz, African jazz, soul & boogie, mbanqaga,and much much more with absolutely no reserves.
Records that have been presented on these pages over the last five years are now on auction. So here is your change to grab some rare African vinyl as I am cleaning out my shelves to make room for new music.
Some highlights; a collection of ultra rare and seldom heard field recordings from ILAM, recorded by Hugh Tracey. These records were purchased many years ago directly from ILAM in South Africa from what was left of their unsold stock. All records come in their original cover with the labels attached to the back cover and are unplayed, in brand new mint condition.
More Soul Safari favs like great 45’s by jive kings The Soweto Boys, mbanqaga queens The Manzini Girls are now on auction.
Lost & Found is a new series to start the week..music from the 60s by South African white artists. Maybe these songs and sounds were lost for years but not forgotten. Today I want to present a record by beat girl Wanda Arletti; “Love Power!!!”, easily one of the best albums of the 60s. ‘Love Power’ holds all the elements of a true classic pop record, a tour de force of soulful beat music made in South Africa.
There is a certain reminiscence of the silky soul of Dusty Springfield in covers of ‘I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today’ and the inevitable “Son of a Preacher Man“ but the repertoire and vocal excellence is powerfully defined by Wanda Arletti. She covers these well known songs very well and makes them her own.
She was born Wanda Arletowicz in Hackney, England of Polish parents and as a teenager sang for South Africa’s beat group The Staccatos, later married the group’s guitarist, Richard Crouse and recorded a few memorable albums like “Love Power’, a record that has well aged and on review here today.
Motown, Phil Spector, Dusty Springfield, Burt Bacharach are just a few of the many other influences that show through on the 12 tracks presented here.
The production holds it own and adds a mesmerizing sound played by competent musicians.The album is packed with powerful vocals that are emotional, over a lush and minimal orchestration by one of South Africa’s most popular and talented composers and artists; Art Heatlie, who also produced this album.
And as a bonus to today’s post here is a later single “ZANZIBAR” originally released in South Africa in October 1970 to reach nr.2 in the worldwide charts to stay in the highest regions for another 13 weeks. The single pictured here is the 1971 Belgian release. Surely a well deserved hit but it’s the B-side that counts, ”Walk Us Round A Rainbow”. The song is a soulful big ballad that grows and grows into a divine vocal seduction by one of South Africa’s greatest voices in pop.
Good day to all. Until the end of apartheid not many people had heard about bands like The Hobos, Beau Brummel, Birds Of A Feather or John E. Sharpe & The Squires… Because of the apartheid system there was a big international boycot in the 60’s and 70’s so many South African bands never had a chance to show the world their skills and the records were pressed in small quantities and mainly distributed in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town. When apartheid ended, many collectors of Beat and Garage flocked fairs and the internet searching for rare goodies, top prices were paid. All that has changed now that the music becomes more and more widely available, but some of the originals are still very hard to locate.
The album ‘Savage Sounds from South Africa’ is a bootleg, pressed in a hand numbered and limited edition of 500. The artwork is identical to the ‘Jungle Drums’ album by The Shangaans but the selection of music on offer is an entire different story. It is a sample, although limited, which reflect the local SA scene of obscure white Beat-Garage bands of the 60’s very well. Their music is based upon American and English examples but has developed a unique flavor that’s typical for South Africa. Sometimes psychedelic, full with raw energy and lack of conventional rules. And surprisingly, as The Shangaans show, blending traditional instruments and songs of indigenous tribes of the South African continent.
Side 1 1 Them – One Time Too Many
2 The Zeroes – Work All Day (Sleep All Night)
3 Beau Brummel – Someone To Love
4 John E. Sharpe & The Squires – Yours For The Picking
5 Group ’66 – I Know About Love
6 Them – I Want To Be Rich Again
7 The Gonks – Woman Yeah
8 The Shangaans – Yeh Girl
9 The Upsetters – Pain In My Heart
1 The Hobos – If I Ever Saw You
2 Them – It’s A Day
3 Birds Of A Feather – Come On Up
4 The In-Crowd – Come Back
5 The Difference – I Wonder Why
6 John E. Sharpe & The Squires – Monkey Shine
7 The Shangaans – Liwa Wechi (Lee-wa Weck-ee)
8 The Zeroes – I Can’t Explain
9 John E. Sharpe & The Squires – I’ll Explain
If there is one white pop band that deserves to be crowned as the Bleached Zulu then it must be the South African group The Shangaans. They even adopted their name from an African tribe noted for their musical virtuosity. See previous post for the song “Liwa Wechi”, the B-side of their hitsingle “The Click Song” (Columbia 45-DSA 612, 1965)
Now here are a few selections from their 1965 debut album “Jungle Drums”, remarkable fact is that both tracks were written by Miriam Makeba. The album was released in the UK and spawned many hit singles and a overseas career for the 5 young guys known as The Shangaans. Not a bad achievement considering the fact that the international boycot against South African apartheid then ruled the world.
The fusion of conventional western world melodies and lyrics with pulsating African tribal rhythms –as perfected by South Africa’s top group The Shangaans –represents one of the most exciting, out-of-the-rut sounds ever heard on the British music scene. After hitting the highspots throughout South Africa, the five-strong Shangaans arrived in the UK in the summer of 1965 and immediately clicked in a big way with fans via two big –selling songs “Genzene” and “The Click Song”. Now comes their first album and the overall title ‘Jungle Drums’ aptly summarizes their unique, highly individual style of exotic, percussion-based pop music.
The use of stereophonic sound greatly enriches the never-ending cross-pattern of percussive sounds from a wide variety of authentic African instruments –including chopi piano, kalimba, and any amount of big and small tribal drums. Although basically an instrumental set –with such highspots as the throbbing revival of the Lou Busch favourite, “Zambezi”, and the kwela flavoured “Afrikaan Beat” –The Shangaans, nevertheless, are accomplished singers too, and show their paces in fine style on “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” (perhaps better known in some quarters as “Wimoweh”.
Who are The Shangaans? Their names are Grahame Beggs, Alain Woolf, Mark Barry, Bill Muller and Glen “Tich” Muller. They represent the cream of the South African music scene, since all five have made their mark in the past with other leading groups. Individually, they are brilliant musicians; collectively, they make a remarkable, multi-talented outfit. Grahame doubles lead, rhythm and 12-string guitars, plus maracas and African drums, whilst Alain handles the lead, vocals, penny whistle, and a host of percussion instruments. Organist Mark is also featured on piano, celeste, chopi piano, and vibraphone, and Bill Muller doubles drums, thumb piano and African drums. Younger brother Glen completes the picture on bass guitar, doubling African percussion.
musical selections from The Shangaans -“Jungle Drums”
Columbia Mono 33JSX 76, 1965 South Africa
A2 Yellow Bird
A3 Afrikaan Beat
A6 The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh)
B2 A Swingin’ Safari
B3 Ntjilo, Ntjilo
B5 Jikal ‘Emaweni
B6 Voodoo Drums
Bass Guitar, Percussion – Glen “Tich” Muller
Drums, Thumb Piano, Percussion – Bill Muller
Guitar, Vocals, Percussion – Grahame Beggs
Organ, Piano, Vibraphone, Celeste, Chopi Piano – Mark Barry
Vocals, Percussion, Whistle – Alain Woolf
Info taken from the liner notes written by Dave Wynn for “Jungle Drums” album released in 1965.
a rather curious update on Rikki Fataar, member of The Flames was sent by readerlightningclap who says; Ricky Fataar was also a member of the TV Beatles parody group “The Rutles”.
Of course, I had to investigate that interesting note and found the following info on the web and even discovered a single released in 1979 by The Rutles in my collection. See also my previous post on The Flames.
The Rutles, also known as the Prefab Four, are a band that are known for their visual and aural pastiches and parodies of The Beatles. Originally created by Eric Idle and Neil Innes as a fictional band to be featured as part of various 1970s television programming, the group evolved into a real band that recorded, toured, and released two UK chart hits.
Initially created for a short sketch in Idle’s UK television comedy series Rutland Weekend Television, The Rutles gained international fame after being the focus of the 1978 mockumentary television film, All You Need Is Cash (often referred to as just The Rutles).
The band that recorded the actual music was slightly different to the band that appeared on camera, as Idle did not take part in the recording process. On the soundtrack release of the music from All You Need Is Cash, The Rutles were officially:
Neil Innes: guitar, keyboards, vocals. Innes sang the John Lennon-inspired songs.
Ollie Halsall: guitar, keyboards, vocals. Halsall sang the Paul McCartney-inspired songs.
Stig O’Hara (styled after George Harrison) — played by Rikki Fataar: guitar, bass, sitar, tabla, vocals. Fataar sang the George Harrison-inspired songs.
John Halsey: percussion, vocals. Halsey sang the Ringo Starr- inspired songs.
“For Your Precious Love” is a song written by Arthur Brooks, Richard Brooks and Jerry Butler, and performed by Butlers’ group The Impressions in 1958. It was released as a single on Vee-Jay Records and peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Best Sellers in Stores and Top 100 charts. The song was ranked as the 327th greatest song of all-time by Rolling Stone magazine in 2004.
The 1968 version in South Africa by Durban group, The Flames, reached the top spot on the local charts and has been considered a classic in the country ever since. Here are the lyrics of the song, covered by Otis Redding. The adaption of the song as performed by The Flames can be heard in this post.
For Your Precious Love
For your precious love means more to me
Than any love could ever be
For when I wanted you I was so lonely and so blue
For that’s what love will do
Darling, I’m so surprised,
Oh, when I first realized
That you were fooling me
Darling, they say that our love won’t grow
I just want to tell them that they don’t know
For as long as you, long as you are loving me
Our love will grow wider, deeper than any sea
And all the things in the world, in this whole wide world
Is just that you would say that you’d be my girl
(Wanting you) Wanting you,
(I’m lonely and blue) Whoa, lonely
That’s what love will do
For your precious love means more to me
Than any love could ever be
For when I, I wanted you I was so lonely and so blue
That’s what love will do
ladies & gentlemen, here are The Flames!!
like most good posts on these pages this story starts with finding a 45 in a dusty garage somewhere in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. That was the beginning. Later on, I unearthed a battered album called ‘Soulfire!!’ that was still playable. But what a sound! And what a history!!
Soul ballads, danceable tunes with the odd sitar thrown in the mix, pyschedelic pop with strong vocals by singers Steve Fataar, Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin; elements that made me search for the perfect copy of their album ‘Soulfire!!’. Finally, in a warehouse somewhere in Durban (thanks Chris) I found a SEALED MINT copy of this rare gem. Now, that’s what you’ve got friends for!!!
But my search went on…
All members of The Flames were born and raised in Durban, a huge melting pot, the third biggest city of South Africa in the Natal province. The city, along the Indian Ocean, has the biggest Indian population outside Bombay and together with the Zulu native peoples and white merchants they build beautiful Durban; a harbor, a hub of frantic action and endless urban development. In the 50’s Durban’s coastline was famous for it’s scenic beauty and soon became a coastal resort, attracting many holiday makers and retired permanent residents.
‘Soulfire!!’ is without a doubt a masterpiece of South African soul music. From 1964 until 1967 the line-up consisted of Steve Fataar on guitar, Brother Fataar on bass, Ricky Fataar on drums and vocalist Edries Fredericks on guitar. This was the lineup that produced the first two albums, and more singles. Edries left the Flames after having sung lead on both these albums. He was briefly replaced by Baby Duval in 1967. The same year the group was joined by Blondie Chaplin. He can be heard as lead singer on the single ‘For Your Precious Love’ released in 1968. Together with Ricky Fataar he became a full member of the American super group The Beach Boys from 1971 to 1973, during which time the albums ‘So Tough’, ‘Holland’ and ‘In Concert’ were made and released. Ricky Fataar also did session drumming for other records by individual Beach Boys members.
When The Flames arrived in the United States in 1970 at the invitation of Al Jardine and Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys, they changed their name to The Flame, since there was competition from reggae group The Flames and James Brown’s own The Famous Flames. They started writing new material; powerful rockers, ballads, mood pieces and symphonic masterpieces that got a release on Brother, a local Nashville, Tennessee record label. The album was produced by Carl Wilson and it must be their rarest release ever, since it was distributed only locally in the beginning. Later on it was released in Uruguay, the Netherlands, the UK and Canada.
‘Burning Soul’ and ‘Soulfire!!’ however, remain The Flames best known commercial albums. These have been re-issued many times over the years, mainly in South Africa, although ‘Burning Soul’ was released in Australia as well as in the UK. Their music still stands the test of time.