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 Where are they now? Part 5 <15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1>
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'Look up Brother, there's a sky above you . . .'
The real story behind a poem that became a song

HY Milner Park 10.10.1970 - Josh Spencer Josh Spencer sent me this story after reading my version of what happened to this wonderful song – Look Up Brother –
clearing up the mystery, 43 years later. Poetic justice, can we say?

Here’s the link to what I wrote (badly) some 10 years ago, that prompted Josh’s response:

In 1968 I was a young photographer living in a Parktown artists commune. Having left art school in
Durban I had made my way to Joburg, then the centre of all things trendy and Parktown was the
trendiest of all, a veritable Height Ashbury crammed with wild and wonderful characters. I was one
of the lucky few that briefly inhabited the now legendary 'Friedora', a huge Victorian mansion that
stood on Oxford Road. Sadly, the magnificent house was slated for demolition and we were given
notice. A group of us ex-Friedorians, determined to stick together, found a much more modest house
in Yeoville and moved there.
...read more >>

Lefifi Lefifi Tladi - Untitled
Lefifi Tladi
The Painter Poet Musician who works & lives between his new home in Sweden & GaRankua outside of Pretoria. The Archive intends cleaning up some of the old audiotapes of Lefifi's group Dashiki, recorded in the early 70's - at the Free Peoples Concerts & in a field outside of Johannesburg in 1972. Some of Lefifi's artwork has been exhibited all over the world & his currently preparing for another exhibit for the UNISA Art Gallery in Pretoria.
Roger Lucey - eTV Art News Roger Lucey - in the 80's
Roger Lucey - eTV Art News - At a number of meetings with the SABC in the early 80's, 3rd Ear Music was a among a few independent arts & culture groups who argued for equal Art / Music time with sport, on the evening TV & Radio news. Roger Lucey has made it happen at last. And it's an interesting programme - nightly on eTV's 7 o'clock News Hour. It's only 5 minutes, but it's a start. From there sponsors are bound to start taking note & artists will start polishing up their deeper acts - knowing that they can't always get away with Hips & Lips on cheapo MTV record promotions anymore. Congratulations eTV - what a mood move.
...read more about Roger Lucey >>
click photos to enlarge
Bill Knight Bill Knight has finally issued some of his legendary Skollie Rock Cape Town songs on CD. Trough your Window is a fine collection of 14 songs - most of the favourites that we have all grown to know & love over the years - Peace Dance, Who are the Africans?, Harbour, Peace Dance & a couple of new tunes. Released independently by MOBIUS in Cape Town, you can call (083) 228-4643 for copies or simply leave a message on the 3rd Ear site & we'll pass it onto Bill.
...read also >>
Tony Bird Tony Bird
Good news for Tony Bird watchers & followers - it looks as if the 1996 / 1997 recordings that he made in the USA will be out this year - at last! Tony seated David & Fran Marks down in amongst his books & tapes in his New York apartment in August 1997 & he proceeded to play his new songs - a private concert. What a privilege & a treat. Tony hasn't lost his remarkable sense of Africa - his voice sounded better than we had ever heard & when he gets that guitar in hand his passion is still indescribable. He played a few rough mixes off the new collection of recordings - a beautiful collection indeed, but one track that stuck out was Hamba Willie - a song Tony wrote for the legendary Willie Motola, winning his Gold Medal in the USA. This recording features Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Stay in touch & we'll let you know when it is to be released.
Manfred Mann - Somewhere in Africa Manfred Mann - Key reflectionsManfred Mann - Key reflections of South African & Native American Music.

Manfred Mann's - Plains Music - & Somewhere in Afrika 2 Classic album projects recorded by Manfred between Africa & London ion the late 70's & 80's. Sleepers, both - 3rd Ear has been using these two albums to start up many festivals & gigs since the early 80's - and the question is always the same. Manfred Mann, really? Amazing, where do we get the CD? End of Joke. As recently as the 2000 Shawn Phillips SA concert tour, 3rd Ear Music used Plains Music to start the show & every evening people wanted to know what that amazing music was. In the next edition, we will look into these great projects that preceded Paul Simon's historic Gracelands by more than 10 years; way ahead of their time. The Recordings are now available on CD. Plains Music is an adventurous work of Art. Of course Mannie is, as usual, quite flippant about this remarkable solo album. It features the music of North American Indians composed at the turn of the century, with some up-to-date SAfrican arrangements - Manfred Mann magic at work. Jamaican Noel McCalla - Vocals, Barbara Thompson - Saxes, Pete Sklair - Bass, Ian Herman - Drums & Percussion, Kelly Petlane - Penny Whistle & 3rd Ear Music's Azumah & African Hunting Bow player - Smiles Makama. Tunes from various Native American nations: Apache, Dakota, Kiowa & Laguna blended in with Xhosa & Zulu music, rhythms & sounds.

click photos to enlarge
Jeremy Taylor - Songs & ReflectionsJeremy Taylor - Ag Pleeze Deddy - Songs & Reflections - 1992

Piece of Ground
As befits any young man with a liberal conscience, and every folksinger, I identified with the underdog, the victim, the unfortunate, the lost and the lonely. I can still identify with them because I have known what it feels like to be all those things. What I cannot identify with any more is the self-pity that goes with it. There is nothing laudable about being a victim.
... read more >>
... his song lyrics >>

Theo Coetzee 1972Theo Coetzee
Still on the Meditation Trail & Teaching Curve (Photo Tony Cambell - Rivonia Folk Festival 1972)
Theo is one of those unsung music heroes of the South Africa folk music scene. Throughout the 60's & 70's Theo introduced SAfrican singersongwriters & contemporary Folk Music to Pretoria. He presented & got involved with many great rock bands & musicians of all persuasions. A singer performer himself, Theo always has time to encourage people with a wise philosophical word or two. Theo started the Minstrel Club in Hatfield in the 60's and the Gorrel Pot at the PTA University. A Psychology graduate from the University of Pretoria, Theo is still in practice & uses his experience in his well-known motivational corporate training programmes. He has wisely left the city cat race for the quiets of the Free State, from where he runs his Entertrainment Company & training programmes - on a scaled-down basis, obviously - and performs his special brand of passion & music.
The Jazz ClanThe Jazz Clan
(Left to Right) - Mongezi Velelo, Peter Segona, Dimpie Tshabalala, Sipho Mabaso & Rubin Radise. Not in the picture are David Ramogasi - Drums & Connie Kumalo - Baritone Sax. 3rd Ear Sound in Swaziland 1973 Photo by Bob Denton - Where is Bob now? Anybody got something on this great Soweto Jazz outfit? Please let us have it.
Piet Botha and JackhammerPiet Botha and Jackhammer
More in the next Issue - we will do a special feature on Jackhammer.
website: www.pietbotha.com
Ramsay Mackay and David MarksRamsay Mackay with David Marks at 3rd Ear Music in Durban 1999. Ramsay came out to South Africa for a few months & together with Ken E. Henson, Colin Pratley & Brian Davidson completed a new Freedom's Child CD project at Neill Solomon's Passage One Studio in Johannesburg. Not too sure what will happen to the recordings, but I believe that a few labels are interested. 3rd Ear sub-leased the ASTRA masters from EMI & tried to get Gallo to distribute in 1997. End of Joke! Benjy Mudie director of Fresh Records is re-issuing a re-mastered Astra as part of the Hidden Years Project. Hidden Years Where are they now (various parts).
Cornelia and Colin ShamleyTroubadour 1967
Photo - Manfred Linder
More about Cornelia and Colin Shamley in the next edition - if you're in the Johannesburg area he's usually gigging at Julian Laxton's Guitar Bar.

For info call: 011 678-2880
website: www.julianlaxton.com
Sundays from 2 P.M. Beer Braai & Music in the Garden with Colin Shamley.

click photos to enlarge
Big Mel & Little Mel - 1966  Mel Green
Before
Big Mel & Little Mel 1966
After
Little Mel USA 2001

Mel, Mel & Julian
Mel Green is planning to re-issue the Mel, Mel & Julian recordings on CD from the USA soon.
The cop who came to see Mel, Mel & Julian at the Edward Hotel in 1966 - on a plain clothes assignment from the Durban Security Police, to see what they could pin on these subversive folkies - enjoyed the show so much he brought his wife back to see them the following weekend!

After M, M&J broke up, Little Mel (Green) was asked to join the Dream Merchants - both Billy Forrest & Billy Andrews were over 6 foot tall so Mel thinks they needed someone short to pick on hey! For some reason which only record companies know about, nothing happened - for a year. Sound familiar? The contract was eventually cancelled. Little Mel left for the USA in the mid 70's & works out of Boston. Since 1988 has been working with a folk-rock quartet The Maple String Project in the Boston Area. They recently gigged at the Cambridge, Mass. House of Blues.

Mel, Mel & Julian are planning to release their 3 albums on CD soon. Contact Mel Green at email address melverde@aol.com for prices and shipping details. Also planned are 2 LIVE concerts releases - Mel, Mel & Julian Live at the Edward, Durban and Mel & Mel Live at the Minstrel in Pretoria (Their very last performance).

Mel Miller is still on the road as a stand-up comic & Julian Laxton still spanks the plank & has opened a great music venue in Johannesburg, Julian's Place.

updated
11 July '05

Mel Green Mel Green
Mel Green
Mel Green has started his own label, MLG Limited Editions, and production company, ApartNine Productions, and has re-issued the three LPs  Mel, Mel & Julian recorded back in the 60s on CDs.

(Contact Mel at melverde@adelphia.net) and visit his website www.melgreensings.com for details about his re-emergence on the US folk scene.  This website also has the only links to the Mel, Mel and Julian website for the present time.

Mel has been working with Mel Miller and Julian Laxton to re-unite for short concert tours.... details to be announced.

After M, M&J broke up, Little Mel (Green) was asked to join the Dream Merchants -  Billy Forrest & Billy Andrews, but nothing happened - for a year. Sound familiar? The contract was eventually cancelled. Little Mel left for the USA in 1970 & since  then works out of the Boston area. Mel has been working with a folk-rock quintet, The Maple String Project, a songwriting collaborative and weekend band. They have appeared at the Cambridge, Mass. House of Blues, and Club Passim, formerly known as Club 47, which launched the career of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, and many other folk stars.

Mel Miller is still on the road as an internationally known stand-up comic & Julian Laxton still spanks the plank & runs a great music venue, Julian's in Johannesburg's western suburbs.

Les Shill Les Shill
Dispatch from California

Les Shill left South Africa for the USA in the 70's. He has been a programmer, deejay and producer for almost 20 years (who would've believed it!) at radio station KAZU 90.3 FM in Pacific Grove on the beautiful coast of central CA, not terribly far from Big Sur, Esalen Institute etc and about 125 miles from San Francisco. His show - The Power of Sound - can be heard at www.kazu.org if you can figure out the time differentials! It runs on Tuesday, Weds and Thursday nights from 8 to10 PM Pacific Standard Time. Let Les tell you all about it:

My show is based in African music with a strong seam of music from all over the world from all sorts of cultures, drug culture, rave culture and also culture vulture culture. For anyone who was paying attention, I played at the Rustler's Valley Festival several years in a row, which was a blast even though the Hell's Angels of Vosloosrust, Tweefontein and Wagnbietjie Letme hityoufirstville beat me up one time. I am attaching a photo of me from the New Year's Eve celebration from 99-2000 - Ja the millennium one, that I played at in Carmel Valley. A great group called the Venusians also played but I was the late night attraction right after this photo was taken the manager of the resort we had taken for the night came to me to complain that people were screwing in the sauna and hot tub and would I please play more "relaxing" music! Needless to say, all those of you who know or remember me even a little bit, would easily guess that I actually lifted the tempo some more and the crowd went apeshit and completely malpitte! This year I am again providing the sensurround sound of the power of sound at Pier 35 in San Francisco along with the Venusians and Lost at Last, an incredible band from Hawaii and Santa Cruz that has as one of it's founders a South African keyboard wizard who goes by the name of Om! Listen for this band, they have some talent!

The second picture was taken down in Big Sur during a really incredible afternoon party that also featured the Venusians and Me and also a host of live drummers. It was an absolutely perfect day and people danced their Asses off! I played a LOT of African music, with a lot of percussive, driving stuff that sent the drummers over the top. Eventually, at some point, I went around the corner to take a leak and somehow fell over and broke my leg! It was a difficult situation because there were a couple of hundred dancing fools going off and I just had to shut up and keep the music coming which i did! To tell you the truth, I did not know my leg was broken for another day or so when I finally managed to get to an emergency room, it was darn painful but I thought that perhaps I just danced too much, which I have been known to do from time to time and probably will again! The picture includes two good friends giving me some attention which I enjoyed immensely and for those who care my hair is now blonde and I have assumed a new identity as Count Blegslie Swillenuffsky, Grand Vizier of Da Spin Cycle in the Domain of Dansylvania, chief deejay to the resident Goddess of Dancedom here! Remember folks, we dance, and therefore we are!

So, all you wonderful folks out there, I want to get back to SA to lay my special brand of musical magic on the ears of any rhythmically inclined crowd! Please write to me at icehouse@redshift.com.

If anyone who reads this is going to be anywhere near this area, I would love it if you would call me at (831) 915-8102, I know this area very well, it has some similarities to the Cape, and I love to take visitors on tours whenever it is possible.

I am also always looking for more music and I will play what I think is good on the air here in California so send me those discs please if a little air time here is appealing to the artist/s in question.

If you have any comments about this article, please drop us a line.

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