Big Daddy . . . here today gone tomorrow


Original Big Daddy members bassist Bernie Lawrence and drummer Noel Kistima.

The word’s been out for a few weeks now that Big Daddy – that very popular progressive group from the Seventies – could be having another reunion gig soon.

Well, it’s happening . . . this Friday night at the Holy Cross hall in Walmer Estate.

That’s the good news for Big Daddy fans (and there were many back in the day). The bad news is that if you don’t have a ticket already, you ain’t gonna see them. Pray that there’ll be another reunion gig some time down the track because a second gig with this line-up is probably out of the question.

Noel Kistima, who was the original drummer with Big Daddy, flies back home to Sydney next Wednesday.

The line-up for Friday is Kistima, Bernie Lawrence (bass), Lawrence Paul Chetty (piano), Clive Fester (guitar), Wayne Smith (guitar), and Earl Duveaux Johnson (percussion).


Rehearsing for the Big Daddy gig . . . from left, Clive Fester, Wayne Smith and Lawrence Paul Chetty.


Group spokesman Bernie Lawrence said the stars aligned for this gig.

“It was just fortunate that both Noel and Lawrence Paul were in town,” he said. “Lawrence Paul didn’t play with Big Daddy but he was available for a short time before he leaves to do lengthy stints on luxury liners.

“Noel may not be in town again for a while, and I don’t play much these days. I put this gig together at short notice.”

Bernie says he would like to get guitarist Issy Ariefdien, who is busy with a revitalized Pacific Express, to do a guest spot. Issy played with Bernie and Noel in Respect. For anyone who was around those years, Respect segued into Little Wing, which morphed into Big Daddy and ended up as Mahogany.   It would be impossible to name all the musos who played those groups but it would read like a “who’s who” of Cape Town band members.


Earl Duveaux Johnson, from the States. He will handling percussion as well on Friday night.UCT jazz academic Darryl Andrews has indicated that he may be available for a guest spot.


As Bernie recalls: “Sometimes Winston Mankunku, who also had a stint with us, would rock up with a friend and it would turn into a jam session. That’s just the way it was.”

For nostalgia buffs, Friday night’s fare will include songs by Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Chicago, Santana . . .

If you’re a Big Daddy fan, it doesn’t get any better than that does it? And below is a blast from the past.


old big daddy

One of the very early versions of Big Daddy. Standing at the back are Eric Neethling, Trevor Parker, Noel Kistima, Bernie Lawrence, Dougie Bam and Kevin Veenendal. In front are Darryl Andrews, Leslie Kleinsmith, and John Scholtz.


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