Various Artists
The Sidney Sessions

The Sidney Sessions

Tracks:

  1. Alter Ego - Special Envoy (Featuring Nick Matzukis from the The Helicopters)
  2. Give a Little Bit - Bernard Badria
  3. Airtight - Woke up Wasted
  4. Shine on Jacqueline - Roy Banks
  5. The Colour Purple - South of Africa
  6. All Dressed up - Mac the Nite
  7. Westwind - Cadillac
  8. The Scheme of Things - Sean Fury (Featuring Angie Peach on backing vocals and written by Mick Jade) (Radio 5 #2)
  9. Jazz Collection - Jax Myth (Radio 5 #4)
  10. Visions - Distant Calling

Produced by Craig Beyrooti & Rafe Lavine

1987, Tusk Records TUSB3000 (cassette ZTUB 3000)

Review:

In late 1987 the first of a series of albums featuring local unsigned bands was released. Called the Sidney Sessions, these were the brainchild of Radio 5's Rafe Levine and Craig Beyrooti. The aim was to promote local music and with the backing of Levine, a couple of the tracks from this album charted on the Radio 5 charts ('The Scheme of Things' by Sean Fury {son of world-famous jazz guitarist Johnny Fourie - ed} went to number 9 while Jax Myth's 'Jazz Collection' made it to number 4).

There are a variety of styles on the album, but the most predominant is a sort of lounge jazz type sound quite reminiscent of Shakatak, particularly the tracks by Mac the Nite and the instrumental piece by Cadillac. However, there is the quirky punk of Woke up Wasted, the harder rock sound of South of Africa and the Siouxsie Sioux-ish (warning do not attempt this phrase when under the influence of alcohol) vocals on the track by Distant Calling to keep it interesting.

Generally speaking, the production on the album is pretty raw, which adds weight to the unsigned label attached to the bands. However this does not detract from that fact that there were some accomplished song writers lurking in various corners of the country. A few names listed in the credits are familiar, Nick Matzukis from the Helicopters bangs the drums for Special Envoy, Angie Peach does backing vocals for Sean Fury who's 'The Scheme of things' was co-written by Mick Jade, and Kate Normington and one time Midnight Masser Terence Reis make up the vocal content of Jax Myth's 'Jazz Collection'.

Few of these bands went on to bigger and better things, and listening to this album now, it sounds dated and lightweight. Despite this, it is an important record of what the sleeve notes refer to as 'musical groundswell' of the late 80's in South Africa. A good idea and a perfect album for someone interested in the SA pop scene of that era. Imagine if someone had had the foresight to do this in the late 60s and early 70s, how many 'lost' bands wouldn't be so lost now?

John Samson, September 2001

All info supplied by John Samson, February 2001.


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