In the Sixties and early Seventies, three of the top bands in Cape Town were the Lunar 5, Respect and Little Wing/Big Daddy. Each, in its own way, had huge support.
There were others, of course, too many to mention. For the moment, let’s focus on those three because something very interesting is bubbling under with some of the members of these old bands.
All three are talking of having one final reunion.
Those who were in the Lunar Five – Charlie Ismail, Mel da Silva, Bernie Brown, Raymond “Vonkies” Charles, would all be aged in their 70s (Raymond Meade, the drummer, has died).
In Respect, Issy Ariefdien, Noel Kistima, Ivor Wagner and Bernie Lawrence are all still with us, And, of course, Mel da Silva played with Respect. (Original vocalist Issy Mohammed hasn’t been seen for years and their other vocalist Tyrone McCranus has died.)
In Little Wing the personnel was Randall Bezuidenhout, Mikey Smith, Jimmy Engelbrecht, with Noel Kistima and Bernie Lawrence being part of them as well.
As wonderful as the idea sounds – and wouldn’t it be a blast if it were to happen – it would take one helluva logistical exercise to pull one of them together let alone all three. They would have been living separate lives.
Interestingly, the Lunar Five guys were talking independently of a reunion, as were the guys in Respect and Little Wing.
Given that there was an overlap of membership – Da Silva played with the Lunar 5 and Respect; Ariefdien, Kistima and Lawrence played with Respect and Little Wing/Big Daddy. Also, Bernie Brown sang with the Lunar 5 and had guest spots with Respect.
The biggest hurdle would be for the overseas players to get themselves to Cape Town. Bernie Brown lives in Brisbane, Noel and Randall live in Sidney and Mel lives in Canberra.
Here’s me just thinking aloud: What if there was a suitable venue, like say the Wittebome Civic Centre where people could sit down as well as dance?
And what if all three bands were on the same bill? Two or three bands at one gig was all the rage those days. Bands would do a two-hour set, pack up and head off to another club to do another two-hour set.
The nice thing about having all three at one venue on one night would be the opportunity for fans of music and bands of that era to enjoy a nice walk down memory lane.
A set from the Lunar 5 would include their hits like She’s A Yum Yum, Field of Yellow Daisies and Hi Hi Hazel and Bernie’s Sing Out Glory.
Respect never recorded but their fans would certainly like to hear, one more time, their take on Hendrix’s Hey Joe, Joe Cocker’s Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, Spooky Tooth’s Society’s Child, Vanilla Fudge’s You Keep Me Hanging On, and The Kink’s Tired of Waiting.
Likewise, fans of Little Wing grooved on Jeff’s Beck Jody, Santana’s No One To Depend On, and Cream’s Crossroads at the home venue, St Aiden’s in Lansdowne.
The Little Wing/Big Daddy sound is still being heard through the group New Beginnings. With Clive Fester and Bernie Lawrence steering the ship, New Beginnings has regular gigs around the Peninsula, offering a ’60s-’70s sound to a solid following who like to reminisce.
This may all be pie-in-the-sky stuff, but let’s all to do a bit of positive channelling and maybe it’ll happen.
Below is Respect’s Mel da Silva (bass) and Noel Kistima (drums), and Issy Ariefdien (lead) and Ivor Wagner (organ) as they are today. Click on the image to see the full picture/
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