Friday, April 07, 2006

Down Rocky Street

The Cherry Faced Lurchers outside Jamesons

"There was Rockey 24, The Oxford Hotel and the Chelsea. It was a time when Yeoville, Rosebank and Hillbrow were different places than what they are today. It was a time when jolling was dangerous ,where police teargassed clubs and rightwingers slashed tyres at Rhythm Against Detention gigs. It was a time when musicians were jailed for singing pro-Mandela songs. Hell, it was a time when South Africans didn't even know what he looked like. Maybe it was the paranoia or perhaps that everyone came from somewhere else and could hang around in 24 hour coffee shops like Café de Paris in Hillbrow, but a creative burst surged through rock in South Africa, unequalled to this day." - Deon Maas, 2004

Soul Jazz did a wonderful compilation from the same period (1979-1985) called the Sexual Life of Savages, which documented the post punk sounds from Sao Paulo. In much the same way that the post-punk period in the UK and the No-Wave movement in NYC seemed to burn with so much creativity and the punk ethos of DIY, so too the centres of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and other smaller municipal cities and towns threw up bands recycling punk, rock, ska, dub, mbaqanga, disco and other influences. If I was to name a compilation it would probably need to include the word Rockey Street in it. On any given night in the early '80s you could head for Rockey Street and find a band playing live for the punters that wanted escape from the hell of a reality that was Apartheid South Africa. Everyone had their own reasons for jolling. I know I had mine....anyway and without further ado here are some tracks that are bound to feature on that compilation.."Down Rocky Street"

Listen - National Wake - International News

Listen - Asylum Kids - Jah Make Up

Listen - Via Afrika

Listen - Mapansula - Pambere

Listen - Dynamics - Thugs

Listen - Cherry Face Lurchers - Shot Down

The Dynamics

1 comment:

algoriddim said...

While my memories of Rocky Street may be later on, I still share a fondness for this area. I spent some time there in 1998, where I ran into and ended up staying with the owner of the Tandoor Club. I had a chance to DJ at the club and run around the city with him, seeing things from a perspective that's hard to get for a foreigner. Many stories to tell, but I'll leave that for my own blog!