Wildebeest
Bushrock 1

Wildebeest - CD release
Wildebeest - European release

Tracks:

  1. Tribal Fence (Ramsay MacKay) [4.36]
  2. Bokslaai (Trad. arr. Wildebeest) [4.46]
  3. Russian And Chips (Ramsay MacKay) [3.59]
  4. The Horseman (Doc Barendse/ Piet Botha) [4.15]
  5. Pofadder (Ramsay MacKay) [6.05]
  6. Living Drummers (Colin Pratley) [7.02]
  7. Here We Go Again (Piet Botha) [3.54]
  8. Hottentotsgot (Trad. arr. Wildebeest)[4.02]
  9. No Time In The City (Wildebeest) [6.31]

Musicians:

  • Piet "JP" Botha: Bass, harmonica
  • Boet Farber: Guitar, vocals
  • Colin Pratley: African drums, vocals
  • Karlien van Niekerk: Vocals
  • Dave Tarr: Violin, vocals

Release information:

LP: 1981, Rap Records, SRLPC10
LP: Breeder Backtrack Archive Series, 758036 002
CD: May 2000, Pofadder, licenced to Wildebeest, WILD022

Comments:

'Tribal Fence' is a cover of the Freedoms Children track from the 1970 album 'Astra'. It was also recorded by Rabbitt on their 'Croak And A Grunt...' album in 1977. The Rabbitt version features the incredible vocal talents of Margaret Singana, who was the lead singer on 'The Warrior' album by Ipi 'N Tombia in 1973. Margaret Singana also recorded a very powerful version of 'Tribal Fence' which is available on her 'Lady Africa' compilation CD. 'Tribal Fence' was re-recorded by Jack Hammer and released on 'The Pilgrim' in April 2005.

'Russian And Chips' is a cover version of the Freedom's Children classic 'The Kid He Came From Hazareth' (yes, Hazareth!) combined with a traditional Russian folk song. Re-recorded by Jack Hammer and released on 'The Pilgrim' in April 2005.

'Bushrock 1' was recorded live at Upstairs (Sunnyside, Pretoria) on 28 February and 1 March 1981. One tends to forget the great sounds Wildebeest produced with the interaction between the frenetic violin of Dave Tarr and driving lead guitar of Boet Farber. I couldn't believe that I had forgotten that 'Bushrock 1' features 'Slowly towards the North' (as 'Pofadder'), 'The Kid He Came From Nazareth' (as 'Russian and Chips') and 'Tribal Fence'.
-- Dave Malherbe, October, 1999

Review:
SA Rock Digest Issue #77, 1st October 2000

I get a chuckle out of the introduction to Wildebeest's live set 'Bushrock 1' wherein the audience is advised to "settle back and relax" -- then the music begins, grabs one, throws one around, and does not let up through nine songs and nearly 45 minutes of straight ahead rock. Relax?! Only by moving to the music!

Wildebeest - year unknown Take a sharp guitarist (Boet Faber) and a thundering, driving bassist (Piet Botha) -- add an exuberantly talented drummer (Colin Pratley) and a rocking violin (Dave Tarr), sweeten with some lovely, yet strong, female vocals (Karlien van Niekerk), crank up the volume (you), and that's the basis of Wildebeest's thundering, stampeding rock album.

The songs are primarily driven by beat and rhythm, nonetheless the other instruments come to the fore without the other players getting out of the road. Piet's bass punctuates and emphasizes as it drives along, the rock steady and creative drumming is ever present, and the violin here becomes an essential rock instrument. Then the guitar sears and soars. Masterful rock, and with the great Colin Pratley flailing away on the drums, I think of it as Progressive Jungle Music.

After a modest-tempo and emotional opening song, 'Tribal Fence', 'Bokslaai' cranks in with a Celtic-sounding fiddle over some furious rock guitar, earnest drumming, and driving bass.

Song number three is a dramatic number with moving vocals titled 'Russian and Chips' -- Actually, it's Astra's 'The Kid He Came From Nazareth'. There is a Russian air to it in the fiddle and the shouted "Hey! Hey!"

'The Horseman' has soaring vocals and an urgent beat -- like most of the CD it is definitely up tempo, yet the consistent fast pacing of the songs is not the same enough to detract -- there is plenty of musical variety here. This is an album to keep a party jumping.

The next song, 'Pofadder', a hard rock tune, surges in like a speeding train. A musical interlude, wherein the song is slowed in order to get let it steam ahead again, is filled by the lyrics to 'Slowly Toward The North'. Then the musicians kick the tune back into high gear. Like 'Bokslaai', the audience responds to the singer's call of "Pofadder!" with "Pofadder!"

'Pofadder' is followed by 'Living Drummers', and here Colin gets a chance to demonstrate his virtuosity and stretch out a bit. Not merely a drum solo, but a musician playing percussion.

'Here We Go Again' follows, and the tempo slows a bit, while Karlien sings the lovely melody. One of the guys periodically shouts "We gonna tell you all about it!" that distracts slightly, but this is a nice tune. It does not rush forward as do the other songs, but one needs valleys to know what the mountains look like -- not at all a bad rock, it just follows the previous seven songs.

'Hottentotsgot' goes off rocking in an instrumental direction from the previous tune, building slowly with some freaky noises.

The closing tune, 'No Time in the City' shows Wildebeest's creativity and invention don't fade toward the end. This is a chugging tune that, in the lyrics, is more conventional rock than the rest of the album -- but the Wildebeest musicians don't play anything conventionally.

All in all, this is a CD that engages one's attention and holds one's interest; pay attention and it rewards with listening pleasure -- there is a rich variety of rhythmic rock on this CD.

What a pair of shows these must have been live at the Sunnyside in Pretoria in 1981. I'm certain they live vividly as wildly fun experiences in the memories of those who attended.

Last week I wrote about Jack Hammer's 'Death of a Gypsy' CD. This week I have not been able to stop listening to either 'Death of a Gypsy' or 'Bushrock 1'. I have been alternating these two CDs in the hi fi -- with Wonderboom's new EP thrown in at appropriate moments. To judge by Wonderboom's 'Never Ever Ever', Jack Hammer's 'Death of a Gypsy', and the projected re-releases heralded by 'Bushrock 1', the South African music scene is hot.

Like I said, I can't stop listening to this album, and why should I? When I was a teenager who loved loud beat music, if I had bought this album it would have become one of my favorite hard rocking discs. Some things don't change.
- Kurt Shoemaker, Texas

Original album back cover

Press Release, October 2000:

Wildebeest - Bushrock 1 was originally released in 1981. The "Bushrock" concept was Colin Pratley's brainchild and is the perfect way to describe the music of Wildebeest. A blend of African, traditional and rock music performed with amazing energy. African drums, violin and rock guitars accompanied by a sweet melodic female vocal. The Rand Daily Mail voted 'Bushrock 1' album of the year in 1981. Due to public demand Wildebeest Records (whose logo was borrowed from the 'Bushrock 1' album cover) had the album re-mastered from vinyl by Lani van der Walt at Wolmer Records and the 'Bushrock 1' album is now available at selected CD shops.
The original Wildebeest line up was:

  • Colin Pratley on African drums and vocals.
  • Dave Tarr on Electric violin, guitar, flute, pennywhistle and sax
  • Piet Botha on Bass, harmonica and guitar
  • Boet Faber on lead guitar
  • Karlien van Niekerk on vocals

Moonshine remembers Dave Tarr (died 21 January 2002)

Dave got married in the latter part of his life and settled on the Natal South coast. During this time Piet & I lost contact with him, but Colin Pratley had contact with him in the last months of his life. He also played with Kenny Henson (ala Finch & Henson) in the last days.

I met Dave Tarr back in 1972/73 when he played (violin & mandolin) in the original Silver Creek Mountain Band with Roger Cummings (who died very tragically in a car accident in Johannesburg in 1974), Dennis Schultz and Rod Dry (who is the only remaining member of the original Silver Creek Mountain Band still playing in the band and still going...............)

I did my National Service in the SA Navy and did a lot of yachting during this time. When I first met Dave Tarr at the Keg & Tankard in Pretoria where they were playing, we discovered that we both had a passion for ocean yachting. Dave had crewed for a number of deep sea ocean adventures and it was actually his first love, music at the time came second and he mostly played music at the time as a source of income when he could not go sailing round the world or to parts of it anyway. This was unfortunately (unbeknown to him or any of us at the time) when his health problems started (skin cancer).

Dave Tarr & Colin Pratley - Wildebeest 1980 - image courtesy 3rd Ear Music Not too long after Roger Cummings passed away, Dennis Schultz left Silver Creek Mountain Band and Dave followed suite soon after that. He returned to East London (his home town I think) and got the seawater pumping in his veins again. He took to sea once again and after one or two sailing adventures, in 1980 during the doldrums, Colin Pratley teamed up with Piet Botha, Boet Faber, Dave Tarr and Carlien to form the original Wildebeest.

It was during this time that I had the honour and privilege of spending a lot of time with and getting to know Dave or Mr. Plod as we fondly knew him. In 1981 the original Wildebeest recorded the Wildebeest Bushrock 1 album live at 'Upstairs' in Sunnyside Pretoria and we are fortunate to now have that album available on CD. This album reflects Dave Tarr's genius on electric violin, the likes in my opinion, that has never or will ever easily be equalled again.

Early in 1982 Dave left Wildebeest (I'm not even sure why anymore, but I wouldn't be far off if I guessed that some or other opportunity to go on some sea voyage came up and got the seawater pumping again.........)

Sadly it was from here on that I lost contact with Dave and only bumped into him on two or three occasions after that.

'One Skin Mile from Skullgrin' was the period after Dave and Carlien had left Wildebeest when Paul van Eeden joined the band. The concert took place round September / October 1982, I don't remember the exact date but Piet has a copy of the original program.

Moonshine Lee, February 2002

Scan of the original album back cover supplied by Tertius Louw, July 2000. CD supplied by Piet Botha, August 2000.


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