Remember those heady days of the early 70s when a trio of keyboard wizards were winning all the polls and dominating the album sales? Keith Emerson (ELP), Rick Wakeman (Yes) and Jon Lord (Deep Purple) were those wizards, all three still very much around today, I might add--much to my father's chagrin. My father, who was and still is a Methodist church organist, said "that music will never last!"
Well this week, thanks to Leon Economides (co-presenter with Phil Wright of the Dinosaur Days programme on 5FM on Sunday nights) introduced me to a fourth keyboard wizard, current Cape Town resident, Duncan Mackay. Duncan was born in Leeds, England but immigrated to South Africa in the mid-60s with his parents and settled in Port Elizabeth.
Duncan Mackay's 'Chimera' recorded in 1973/4 and forever forgotten by all but the most devout is a brilliant slice of 70s progressive keyboard-based rock. All three of the wizards mentioned above are obvious influences, but Duncan clearly stamps his own sound onto this 3-track album. (only 3 tracks? - well this was 1974, the era of 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' by Yes!).
Duncan has played for some very famous international artists including Kate Bush, 10cc, Steve Harley's Cockney Rebel, Camel and Elkie Brooks. He recently teamed up with Neil Lockwood from The Electric Light Orchestra Part II as Lockwood Mackay and released an album which included 'TRex and the Thin White Duke', a musical tribute in words and style to those 70s Kings (Queens?) of glamrock, Marc Bolan and David Bowie.
So this week we have 2 hidden gems from the same artist, 25 years apart, the one easy-to-find, the other near-to-impossible -- enjoy the search. -- Brian Currin, October 1999