Astral Daze 2 – More Psychedelic Gems From The South African Underground

Astral Daze 2
Astral Daze 2

Welcome to Volume 2 of Astral Daze where we once again dip into the vaults of classic South African rock and pop, seeking out long lost psychedelic gems for your edification and earthly delight . Volume 2 finds the listener tripping the light fantastic with some familiar names like Freedoms Children, Abstract Truth, The Flames and McCully Workshop sitting comfortably alongside some lesser known artists like the weird and wacky Falling Mirror and Durban’s finest, Finch and Henson. We have also included a couple of post 70’s outfits like The Illegal Gathering, whose cassette-only album “The Voice of Nooit” is highly sought after and Robbi Robb’s Tribe after Tribe who continue to make challenging rock music.

Freedom’s Children – The Kid he came from Hazareth

Taken from their classic psych / prog masterpiece “Astra”, the song was originally titled ‘The Kid he came from Nazareth’ but it fell foul of the then oppressive, Calvinistic authorities hence the name change. Awash with Julian Laxton’s multi-tracked guitars and drenched in period piece echo and reverb it remains one of South Africa’s classic rock tunes.

Composed by Ramsay Mackay, published by Ardmore & Beechwood.

Brian Davidson – vocals

Ramsay Mackay – bass, words

Julian Laxton – guitars, effects

Colin Pratley – drums, percussion

McCully Workshop – Why can’t it rain

Recorded in 1970 and culled from the band’s debut album “Inc” this epic psych pop single peaked on the national charts at #12 .The song featured future Falling Mirror guitarist Allan Faull and was the first of many hits for McCully Workshop.

Composed and produced by Tully McCully, published by McCully Music

Tully McCully – vocals, bass

Mike McCully – drums, vocals

Allan Faull – lead guitar

Richard Hyam – acoustic and rhythm guitar

Glenda Wassman – organ, vocals

Ian Smith – trumpet, flugelhorn, flute

Alan van der Merwe and Melanie Hyam – vocal harmonies

The Tidal Wave – Spider Spider

The Tidal Wave were one of South Africa’s foremost exponents of psych influenced pop music in the late 60’s and early 70’s with hits like “Spider Spider”. They also experimented with both brass and prog rock influences and although they existed for a relatively short time the band are regarded by many as the bridge between pop and the then developing ‘underground’ rock scene.Composed by Terry Dempsey, published by Angela Music

Mike Pilot – guitars, vocals

Kenny Haycock – bass

Roy Naturman – keyboards

Mike Koch – drums

Omega Limited – Tchaikovsky One

Fronted by the mercurial but brilliantly talented guitarist, Louis Greef, Omega Limited was formed in Cape Town in 1966. Heavily influenced by psychedelia and the Hendrix – sound, they won the “Battle of the Bands” in 1967 and 1968. ‘Tchaikovsky 1’ reached #3 on the charts in May 1970.Many who saw Greef play live rated him up there with the global greats of the time.

Composed by Tchaikovsky, arranged by Omega Limited. Publishing Copyright Control

Louis Greef – guitars

Alan Weinberg – bass

Derek Gordon – keyboards, guitar, vocals

Mike Brand – drums

The Flames –Solitude

Highly regarded worldwide by connoisseurs of classic pop – soul, The Flames released are best known for their lengthy rock remake of the Holland – Dozier – Holland epic “You keep me hanging on”. However “Solitude’ finds the band tripping the light fantastic with this sitar drenched acid ditty.

Composed by The Flames, publishing Copyright Control

Steve Fataar: guitar, vocals

Brother Fataar: bass, vocals

Baby Duval: guitar, vocals

Blondie Chaplin: guitar, vocals

Ricky Fataar: drums

Abstract Truth – Pollution

Hailing from the coastal town of Durban, Abstract Truth recorded 2 fine albums in 1970 –“Totem” and the epic “Silver Trees”. Fusing elements of African jazz, pop, folk and psych the band had a unique sound as evidenced by the flute and sax driven “Pollution”. Composed by Kenny Henson, published by Ardmore & Beechwood.

Ken E Henson: Guitar, vocals

Peter Measroch: Piano, organ, flute, harpsichord, vocals

George Wolfaardt: Bass, flute, drums, vocals

Sean Bergin: Flute, saxophone

The Invaders –Shockwave

The Invaders were one of the most successful dance bands in the mid Sixties before venturing into more rock based territory on their legendary “There’s a light ,there’s a way” album . Based upon a typical unique African ‘marabi’ melody this fuzz guitar workout rates as one of South Africa’s early psych workouts. Composed by Moses/Gobey/Burke/Pillay. Publishing Copyright Control

Joey Moses: lead guitar, vocals

Errol Gobey: rhythm guitar, vocals

Johnny Burke: bass

Dave Burke: drums

Spewy Pillay: organ

Falling Mirror – I wish I was a purple door

Arguably one of the most creative and eclectic rock bands to emerge from the southern tip of Africa, Falling Mirror’s whimsical and jaunty “I wish I was a purple door” features some sterling fretwork from Alan Faull. Add in somewhat nonsensical hippy lyrics and multi tracked Elizabethan influenced vocals and you have one strange psychedelic song! Composed by Neilen Mirror and Allan Faull, published by McCully Music.

Neilen Mirror – vocals

Alan Faull – guitars

Tully McCully – bass, vocals, production

Patrick Humphreys –drums

The Bats – The Rock Machine

Unquestionably an institution in South African pop music over the last 40 years, The Bats had the ability to assimilate emerging musical trends into their overall sound and still retain their unique sound. A mid 60’s pop psych vein runs through “The Rock Machine” with it’s Beatlesque harmonies and orchestral flair – ‘one lump or two, bound to turn you on’..Indeed!

Composed by Ditchfield / Eckstein / Jarman / Clifford, published by Gallo Music.

Eddie Eckstein: vocals, drums

Paul Ditchfield: vocals, keyboards, guitars, bass

Barry Jarman: guitar, trumpet, bass

Pete Clifford: vocals, guitar

Dickie Loader with Freedoms Children – The Eagles has landed

One of the strangest collaborations in South African music –take one ‘teen pop idol’ and the country’s heaviest rock band, put them together to celebrate the Moon landings and hey presto – a guitar/Hammond psych rock workout that somehow works. Composed by Loader/ Laxton ,published by Ardmore & Beechwood.

Dickie Loader – vocals

Julian Laxton – guitars

Barry Irwin – bass

Colin Pratley – drums

The Third Eye – Apricot brandy

Propelled by the wailing organ of Dawn Selby with some hefty assistance from a cooking brass section ,Durban’s The Third Eye tackled American cult rock outfit Rhinoceros’s ”Apricot brandy” with verve and wild abandon .Taken from their 1969 album “Awakening”. Composed by Weiss/ Fonfara, publishing Copyright Control.

Dawn Selby – organ, piano

Ron Selby – lead guitar

Maurice Saul – vocals, guitar

Mike Sauer – 6 string bass

Robbie Pavid – drums

The Gonks – Woman yeah

South African R&B/pop band, The Gonks were one of Durban’s leading groups in the mid – 1960s. Taking their name from a 12 – inch high stuffed doll that was popular at the time they, signed to the Fontana label in late 1966.

“Woman, yeah” was the B side of their second single “Nobody but me”. The band enjoyed moderate chart success but finally split in mid 1968 with various members joining the likes of Freedom’s Children, Haggis and the First Electric Jamming Band. Composed by The Gonks, publishing Copyright Control.

Craig Ross – vocals

Howard Schachat – guitar

Mervin Gershanov – lead guitar

Barry Cline – bass

Rob Clancy – drums

Hedgehoppers – Near her

Formed in the UK as The Trendsetters, whose sole hit “It’s good news week” reached No.5 there, the band came to South Africa in 1969 and had several chart singles including “Hey” and “Mary Mary”. This rare track features Mick Matthews on guitars and vocals

Composed by Mick Matthews, Publishing Copyright Control

John & Philipa Cooper – Man in a bowler hat

John & Philipa Cooper’s sole album “The Cooperville Times” was released in 1969. A melange of psych tinged folk rock featuring Freedom’s Children’ s Julian Laxton, it is arguably one of the rarest South African late 60’s vinyl albums, prized by collectors worldwide .After recording this album John & Philipa disappeared into the ether, all efforts to locate them have proved fruitless. Composed by John & Philipa Cooper , published by Ardmore & Beechwood.

John & Philipa Cooper – vocals

Julian Laxton – lead guitar

Art de Villiers – acoustic guitar

Bob Hill – bass

Werner Krupski – keyboards

Francesco – fiddle

Rory Blackwell – tambourine

Ivor Back – drums

Tribe after Tribe – Swans

Fronted by the charismatic Robbi Robb, Tribe after Tribe made one album in South Africa before relocating to the US where they have enjoyed success there and particularly in Germany. “Swans” is an unreleased track from the band’s archive awash with loping bass lines and hypnotic sitars, pioneering a post 90’s new wave of psychedelic rock. Composed by Robbi Robb, publishing Copyright Control.

Robbi Robb – guitars, sitar, vocals

Joey Vera – bass

Butch – drums

The Illegal Gathering – Button your lip

Formed by James Phillips and Carl Raubenheimer from the ashes of Corporal Punishment (one of South Africa’s foremost post – punk bands),The Illegal Gathering’s sole album “The Voice of Nooit” was recorded in 1986.”Button your lip” is a quirky but humorous psych guitar fest. Composed by Raubenheimer/Phillips, publishing Copyright Control.

Carl Raubenheimer – vocals, bass, guitar

James Phillips – vocals, guitars

David Ledbetter – bass

Wayne Raath – drums

Band ‘O Gypsys – She’s a mermaid

Still led and fronted by guitarist/vocalist Peter Pulvenis, Band O’ Gypsys, who were formed in 1962, originally as the Sasons (South African sons), are one of the oldest groups in the world, never mind in South Africa! They released their debut album, “She’s a Mermaid”, in 1995. Their Hendrix – influenced brand of hard blues – rock has made them very popular at biker rallies. Composed by Band ‘O Gypsys , publishing Copyright Control.

Peter Pulvenis – guitars, vocals

Robbie Sanna – bass

Gary Fulton – guitar, vocals

Benny Pulvenis – drums

Finch & Henson – Lonely Spaceman

Hailing from the coastal city of Durban (as immortalised in Humble Pie’s “30 days in the hole”) Finch and Henson’s brand of rock veered from acoustic folk to lengthy psychedelic jam – outs. Taken from 1978’s “High Octane” this track combines the best of both worlds. Composed by Finch/ Henson, published by 3rd Ear Music.

Brian Finch: Vocals, acoustic guitars

Ken E Henson: Electric & acoustic guitars, mandolin

Glyn Storm: keyboards

Les Goode: bass

Tony Moore: drums

Available from Fresh Music

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