Gwynneth Ashley Robin
20 August 1960 to May 1976
- Lolly Lu/ Television Billy (1973) PLS 510
- Little Jimmy/ Mr Echo (1973) MVS 399
- Little Soldier Blue/ Eenie Meenie Minie Mo (1973) MVS 409
- Johnny Love/ Good Morning World (1974) MVS 434
- Good Morning/ Zoo Lake (1974) MVS 438
- Calender Boy/ Stairway To Heaven (1975) MVS 459
- Tesame/ As Ek 'n Lied Kon Skryf (1976) MVS 487
- Gwynneth Ashley Robin featuring "Little Jimmy" (1974) MVC 3597
- Greatest Hits (1976) MVC 3702
- Little Jimmy - Her Greatest Hits (1997) Dawn Music, MORCD 644
- The Best Of South African Pop Volume 1 (1994) features 'Little Jimmy'
- Yesterday's Best Vol 2 (1995) features 'Little Soldier Blue'
- The Wonder Of Your Love (1999) features 'Little Soldier Blue'
- Afrikaanse Goue Jare (year unknown) features 'As Ek 'n Lied Kon Skryf'
(sleeve notes from 'Little Jimmy - Her Greatest Hits' CD, reprinted here with the kind permission of Malcolm Lombard, August 2001)
Gwynneth Joubert was born on 20 August 1960 as the oldest of three children.She started singing with various bands at the age of nine at her father'spleasure resort, Robinson Lake, near Randfontein. She was "discovered" bysinger Jody Wayne, who was engaged for several performances at the resort. Impressed by her talent, Jody took Gwynneth under his wing and helped theyoung performer secure a recording contract with Teal Records. Jody alsowrote and produced most of Gwynneth's recording material. Gwynneth's mother,Val, was pregnant with the family's third child (the second oldest isdaughter, Vanessa). She and husband Chris decided to name the baby Ashley, should it be a girl. A boy was born and they named him Brenton. When the family had to choose a stage-name for Gwynneth, "Ashley" came to mind and "Robin" was derived from Robinson Lake - to honour the birthplace ofGwynneth's singing career.
12 year-old Gwynneth's first single, Lolly Lu, did not do as well as herrecord company expected. The single was, in fact, one of several tracksrecorded for her first album and was not really earmarked as a single by herproducer. After hearing the recording, Teal executives decided to releaseLollu Lu as a single, anyway. Producer Jody Wayne had another song in mindfor Gwynneth's first single - a ditty that he had penned entitled LittleJimmy. American group, The Osmonds, were very popular locally and inRhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in the early Seventies (referred to as"Osmond-mania" in the press). The youngest of this musical clan, 10 year-old"Little Jimmy Osmond", had scored a worldwide million-seller with his hitLong Haired Lover From Liverpool in April 1973 (the song spent eight weeksat #1 on the Rhodesian charts and reached #6 locally). Jody thought that atribute from one young artist to another would be a successful spin-off forGwynneth's career, since she was twelve at the time and, simultaneously,that the song Little Jimmy would appeal to thousands of Osmond fans - he wasright on both counts.
Little Jimmy reached #1 on the Rhodesia's "Lyons Maid Hits Of The Week"chart for two weeks in December 1973. The song reached the #1 on Springbok'sTop 20 Hit Parade in March 1974 and spent 14 weeks on the charts. LittleJimmy garnered Gwynneth two Gold Discs - one locally and one for sales inRhodesia, where the single sold 33 000 copies - a record in that country forthe sales of a single at the time. Although Gwynneth was popular locally,she enjoyed Super-Star status in Rhodesia, where she toured several timesbefore undertaking her first country-wide tour locally. She was also popularwith Rhodesian soldiers engaged in the bush war of that time, and oftenperformed for them in the operational areas.
Her second hit, Little Soldier Blue, reached #3 on the Rhodesian charts.Little Soldier Blue peaked at no.9 on Springbok's Top 20 hit parade in July1974 and spent 9 weeks on the charts. Gwynneth received the 1974 Springbok(mini-SARIE) Award as South Africa's Most Promising Female Vocalist. Shetoured Rhodesia regularly with a host of artists in the popular Meet TheStars shows, including Jody Wayne, Gert Potgieter, Alan Garrity, BarbaraRay, Murray Campbell, Neil Herbert, Don Stanton, Marie Gibson, JonathanButler and Lionel Petersen and she also featured as a regular guest ontelevision there.
On 14 May 1976 Gwynneth entered the recording booth to cut her firstAfrikaans single. She recorded two songs, Tesame and As Ek 'n Lied KonSkryf. She was tragically killed a week later along with the members of herbacking group (Danie Schoeman, Vic Rall and Robby Potts), in a lightaircraft accident at Penge in the Eastern Transvaal.
As a star-stuck teenager at the time, I was privileged to see Gwynnethperforming on several occasions when she toured Zimbabwe. She was a naturaland one can only speculate about the even greater heights that, I am certainshe would have reached, had she not been killed at such an early stage inher career. Death is often viewed and experienced as a tragedy - even moreso when a young life is nipped in the bud before it can blossom, as was thecase with Gwynneth. She left an indelible mark in the hearts of the livesshe touched with her music. We're pleased to bring you that magic with there-issue of Gwynneth's recordings, collected in their entirety here for thefirst time as a tribute to the girl who really was South Africa's MostPromising Female Vocalist.
Malcolm Lombard, October 1997.
Special thanks to: Chris and Val Joubert, Jody Wayne, Darryl Heilbrunn, JohnEngelbrecht, Ian Bossert and Katy Stevens.
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