Forces Favourites
Various Artists

Forces Favourites

Forces Favourites
Alternate Cover

Tracks:

  1. Pambere - Mapantsula
  2. National Madness - Aeroplanes
  3. Potential Mutiny - Stan James
  4. Numbered Again - The Facts
  5. Shot Down In The Streets - Cherry Faced Lurchers
  6. Don't Dance - Kalahari Surfers
  7. Whitey - The Softies
  8. Don't Believe - In Simple English
  9. Too Much Resistance - Nude Red
  10. Spaces Tell Stories - Roger Lucy
  11. Suburban Hum - Jennifer Fergusson

Release information:

1986, Shifty Records (SHIFT10)

Review:

For those of you who don't know/remember "Forces Favourites" was a radioprogramme for "tannie en sussie to stuur groete to boetie who was doing hisbit op die grens. (Or in English for the benefit of our internationalreaders a dedications programme for family to send greetings to the boysfighting on the borders of South Africa).

The ironically titled "Forces Favourites" compilation was an album put outin the 80's with the support of the End Conscription Campaign and featuressome of the strongest political songs of the time.

The album opens with the upbeat jive punk "Pambere" by Mapantsula which issung in Sotho (I think). The tune is great and the word Uhuru keepscropping up every now and then.

The Aeroplanes "Natioanal (sic) Madness" follows and while the tune keepsthe upbeat feel, the lyrics are biting ('National madness, a curse on theland, Jesus is murdered by his own hand'). These 2 opening songs bothfeature some great brass sounds.

The feeling then changes as we move into the darker and at times sinister"Potential Mutiny" by Stan James and "Numbered Again" by the Facts. Thereis a bluesy sound underlying these sombre tracks.

The Cherry Faced Lurchers then dish up a slice of Van Morrison with "Shotdown in the Streets". A great song that has dramatic musical pauses andthen fairly flows to the point where the vocalist is rushing to get thewords out before the next pause. Van would have been proud of this song.

The Kalahari Surfers deliver a harsh synth sound to almost a march beat andfeatures probably South Africa's first white rapping. Samples of thekommandant shouting orders during the musical bridges are used to greateffect.

The raw and punky "Whitey" by the Softies and "Don't Believe" by In SimpleEnglish are both reminscent of the Ella Mental, especially the latter whichfeature a great vocal performance which if it isn't Heather Mac, it soundsa lot like her.

"Too much resistance" by Nude Red opens with a superb sax sound. The songsis vibrant, tuneful yet has a punky/ska edge to it. This to me is the bestsong on the album and had it not been for it's political message cold havebeen a hit.

The album ends with Roger Lucey's "Spaces tell Stories" and the bohemianJennifer Fergusson's "Suburban Hum". Both are tinged with anger, the latteralternating between smokey jazz and experimental jazz. More great sax workon this one.

Overall this a great collection of powerful tunes. The message is no longerrelevant (or is it?) but it's worth listening to for the music alone andsometimes it's good to remember the bad times.

John Samson, SA Rockdigest Issue #81

Notes:

This early release on the Shifty Record label was made in association with the End Conscription Campaign, an organisation thatwas aimed at trying to stop young South African males from being forced to join the army. The cassette copy of this album that I used to compile this webpage has scant information. It gives the catalogue number and a track listing, but no release year. The albumwas however released sometime in the early to mid eighties. "A Naartjie In Our Sosatie", released in 1985 featured a similar line up of artists.

All info supplied by John Samson, March 2003.


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