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Dry Wine
The Hidden Dry Wine Story

Dry Wine lyrics >>

David Kramer - Bakgat - Photo by John Kramer 1980
David Kramer – Bakgat – Photo by John Kramer 1980 – (Mountain Records)
David Marksnotes - Dry Wine was first recorded in concert at the Market Theatre by Roger Lucey & included on his 2nd album in 1980 - "Half A Live” (3rd Ear Music / Warner Bros WIC 8000). Roger's debut album in 1979 – “The Road Is Much Longer” (3rd Ear Music 3EE 7004) was officially banned in 1982 - although the Security Police started taking it off the shelves within a month of it's (so called) release. It’s unannounced escape?
... see Paul Erasmus - Foot Soldier for Apartheid >>

We were advised that possession of The Road Is Much Longer could result in a 5 year prison term or a R10 000 fine or both. Without being punny - is this some kind of a record? We should check it out.

Point is, by the time Half A Live had hit the only record shop shelf in the country that would dare stock Roger's recorded music - after The Road removal by the Security Branch - was Lenny Beroldt's Hillbrow Records (CD Wherehouse today) Paul Erasmus and his SB were waiting - & as with The Road Album, Half A Live was whipped off the shelves. No more than a dozen copies were sold - although Paul tells us that there must be quite a number of retired ex-John Vorster Square cops with copies. And contrary to certain urban legends – claiming 3rd Ear Music to be bad royalty payers – Dry Wine was one of many tunes that not only never sold a copy, but was never played on air…anywhere. What Royalties?

Dry Wine was the first production of a David Kramer song & the only song recorded by Roger (in 5 albums over 20 years), that he didn't compose himself. Roger had just moved up to Johannesburg from Durban in 1977, & was staying with Fran & myself in Hillbrow; he agreed, Dry Wine was a great song. However, he was reluctant to perform it at first; he only performed his own 'documentary' songs - with one exception - my tune, Clear, Cool, Calm & Still. (I got the feeling that he did that in lieu of rent. Just to make me feel happy!!?? It worked.) Seriously though, Dry Wine became a Roger Lucey classic in concert & he agreed to include a live desk mix of the song from a 1979 Market Theatre performance, on Half A Live. Unfortunately Dry Wine does not appear on 21 Years Down The Road (3rd Ear Music / Hidden Years Archive 3eM 0034)

Roger Lucey Steve Fataar & Larry Amos 1977 in Scream Flight
Roger Lucey, Steve Fataar & Larry Amos 1977 in Scream Flight
The way we came by the song, Dry Wine - I was handed a cassette recording of this Kramer tune with a number of other loosely recorded bedroom & live demos by Cameraman & Documentary film maker Paul Mills in late 1976 or early 1977. At the time I was running the Market Theatre Cafe and the music productions at the Market Theatre. In late 1977, while The Elastic Head Band were performing a bunch of songs by John Oakley-Smith, Edi Niederlander & a few of mine at The Market Upstairs - this young singer songwriter from Capetown, David Kramer - whose demo cassette had caused quite a stir among the few 3rd Ear Musicians who had heard them, Roger being one - came to see the show & introduced himself. He was duly impressed he said, because here was a full-on band performing original South African Folk ’n Rock songs in a Theatre – in concert. (He too could not understand why South African bands were obliged to perform only European covers & international hits.) I didn't make the Dry Wine connection immediately, and as is Music Publishing custom, told him I'd get back to him - one day.

I mean we had our own protest singer songwriter hassle to handle....what with Roger pestering us 'n all. Rog used to come back stage & politely whisper that a lot of our songs in the show were kak…compared to his. And he meant it. And he was most probably right!

Roger- who was sometimes helping me run the music in the Market Cafe - was intensifying his pressure to record his 'documentary' songs - after all, he moaned, it was me who got him into this music mess in the first place. And besides, he added, I am your wife's cousin, brother! No musician could make a living out of music in South Africa if they didn’t do covers & hits; and 3rd Ear did not book any musician who did.

David Kramer'ssongs, like Roger's, were filled with social commentary; & although I was very impressed with Roger – more as a wordy rocker than a songwriter at the time - I couldn't over-encourage him and say as much back then. So I suggested that he listen and perhaps learn a few other SAfrican songwriter’s tunes & more especially this particular song, Dry Wine, composed by this exciting new (unknown) Capetown singer songwriter. If I was to record an album I threatened, then he should include that track; Roger refused. He wanted an album of his songs only. So we did the first album of Roger's songs only - but Dry Wine wouldn't go away; people loved that song in concert & at the clubs. Infact, until Roger had written The Other Side Of Town, he used to end his shows with Dry Wine.

SABC Restriction Order 19 Jan 1981
SABC Restriction Order 19 Jan 1981
Click image to enlarge
It may all sound so trite today, but recording Roger's tunes - and Dry Wine - at that time, meant trouble with the authorities & a few outlaw Cops. Singing them in concert to the converted & a few undercover agents at the Market Theatre, His Majesty's or at Mangles Folk Club was one thing - putting them down forever on tape or vinyl was another thing altogether ...as it later came to pass. (If you get a chance, try & see the 2002 Danish funded TV Documentary 'Stopping The Music' - featuring Roger & ex-security policeman & now friend, Paul Erasmus. Directed by Michael Drewitt & filmed by his Rhodes Students.)

And incidentally that 1976 David Kramer cassette demo had nothing satirical on it; it was some years before the Bakgat and the Blik days. The cassette was filled with many good songs; full of angst & protest stuff; wonderful folk songs. When Bakgat finally did come out in 1980 - released by Paddy Lee Thorp's Mountain Recordswww.mountain-africa.com& unfortunately distributed by EMI Brigadiers - it was nothing like the David Kramer we had heard & expected. But it was a pleasant surprise. I thought Bakgat was a great set of songs. And although 3rd Ear Music had nothing to do with David K & this album, given our relationship with Paddy & his partner Paul Zamek, we did assist with its launch by presenting David in his first Johannesburg appearance at 3rd Ear Music's Chelsea Theatre Underground in April of 1980. Andy Darlington from Capital Radio 604, was the EMI promoter.

But what is also interesting, is that in the Hidden Years Music Archive we recently discovered a few of those verbose & belligerent 3rd Ear Music letters that I am credited with having written to the SABC, protesting the 'apparent' ban of the Bakgat album in 1981. The SABC, and EMI Brigadeers, claimed that the banning never happened. However, in 2001 we were handed copies of the official archived SABC 'restriction order' placed on Bakgat – signed, 19th Jan 1981 - by Tinus Esterhuizen.

Dry Wine

Words & Music by David Kramer 1978 (p)© 3rd Ear Music

I'm half asleep
I dream in the dark
I trust the Locks on the doors
And the dog's morning bark
Outside in the street
A drunkard stumbles & sings
And in the next door flat
A telephone rings & rings & rings

But nothing disturbs
The suburbs quite
Not the sirens
Or the news of the township riots
And knowing it all

From the distance of headlines
I express my opinion
With a mouth full of 'dry wine

A lady with red fingernails
Is playing with her diamond
Gazing' through the restaurant Window
At the lights on Robben Island
Her hair is cut in the latest style
And her eyes are painted blue
And she's probably thinking now
Where in the world could I find a better view

And her husband asks the waiter
"Are these prawns from Mozambique?"
And the waiter he just nods his head
And he smiles but doesn't speak

And knowing it all
As I watch from the sidelines
My thoughts are my own
As I swallow my Dry Wine

An old lady in a Sea Point flat
Lives with her dreams & dread
She can hear the disco music
As she lies in her bed
In the servants quarters
She can hear them laugh and sing
And in the next door fiat
The telephone rings and rings and rings

Perhaps I'm like a deaf man
Who sees the lightening flash
Or maybe I'm lust like the blind
And I only hear the crash
But knowing it all
From the distance of headlines
I express my opinion
With a mouth full of Dry Wine
I'm full of that Dry Wine
I'm full of that Dry Wine

(p)© 3rd Ear Music 1979

3rd Ear Music Company est. 1969 (Pty)Ltd.

P.O.Box 50633
Musgrave 4062
South Africa
email: [email protected]

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