John Oakley-Smith
Matinees on Saturdays

Matinees On Saturdays


  1. The Lady From The Odeon (3:30)
  2. Comedy Morning (2:20)
  3. Saturday Night (1:58)
  4. Interlude (1:13)
  5. Sunday (2:14)
  6. Song To Iago (3:10)
  7. Invisible Poem/Celebration (2:38)
  8. Snakes & Ladders (2:17)
  9. The Drifter & The Light Bill (2:36)
  10. Dogs (3:23)
  11. God Keep The People (Who Stay Awake At Night) (2:20)
  12. The March Of The Kleenies (spelt "Cleanies" on the lyric sheet) (2:20)
  13. Benjamin Street (3:54)

All songs written, arranged and performed by John Oakley-Smith.


  • John Oakley-Smith: All instruments and vocals

Release information:

1976, WEA Records (WBC9000)


If that's a joint that John Oakley-Smith is smoking on the front cover of 'Matinees on Saturdays' then it's no wonder that this album didn't gain more acceptance in 1970's South Africa. However, even if the cigarette is innocent, a quick meander through the lyric sheet will pick up a number of drug reference and what could possibly be the first use of the F-word on a South African album.

Having got this far, one may be forgiven for thinking that maybe this is either a heavy rock or a psychedelic laden album. While there are some elements of the latter, 'Matinees on Saturdays' is gentle affair featuring Oakley-Smith's beautiful piano playing, or his gentle plucking on acoustic guitar, but also throws in harpsichord and organ for good measure. All this is melded with his fragile Nick Drake vocals to create a soothing, laid back and decidedly melancholic sound.

The other striking feature of this album is the startling imagery he creates in his poetic lyrics. The words seem to come from someone living on the borders of society, observing people, feeling their pain sharing their happiness, living their dreams, but always acutely aware that he is on the outside looking in and will never be able to break through that invisible barrier. Yet there is a decided sense that he is content to live in his world. This is probably best seen in the irony-drenched baroque-esqe 'The March of The Cleaenies' where he muses 'wouldn't it be good to be clean and healthy, wouldn't it be good to be wealthy and wise, wouldn't it be good to be clever and respected, looking at the world through a short back and sides'. In a post Wayne's World world the only thing missing from the song is the word 'not' at the end of the song.

The combination of his poetry, delicately crafted instrumentation and expressive vocals make this an album that the word 'beautiful' is naturally attracted to. It's the kind of album that enters your head through your ears and then goes and settles into a dark corner of your brain and although it doesn't make much noise you are constantly aware of its presence and can't help looking at it for it's attractive in a strange sort of way.

John Samson, SA Rock Digest Issue #201, May 2003

All info supplied by John Samson, May 2003.