13 November 2014

Welcome to MUSIC LEGENDS OF CAPE TOWN. This website/blog is dedicated, in the main, to those artists — singers, musicians, drag queens, etc — who command respect and admiration for their years of effort they put into entertaining us.

In the mid-Sixties and into part of the Seventies, live music thrived in South Africa and particularly in Cape Town … great bands, great singers, great shows. It was a vibrant scene that brought untold joy to many people, whether they loved pop music, underground/psychedelic (as it was known then), gospel or jazz.

It spawned the likes of Dollar Brand and Bea Benjamin, Zelda Benjamin, the Zane Adamses, Leslie Kleinsmiths, Richard Jon Smiths, the Butler family, the Schilders, the Moses brothers . . . groups like Respect, Oswietie, Pacific Express, the Rockets and out-of-towners like The Flames, The Invaders. Then disco and the deejays arrived, and with its advent, live bands and big shows started fading.

I was fortunate enough to be part of those exciting times both as a party animal (aah yes, some people may have another word for it) and as a journalist reporting on Cape Town entertainment.

It is now almost 50 years since many of those entertainers came onto the scene. Some of them (Leslie Kleinsmith, Abdullah Ibrahim, the Rockets) are still making waves. Others have quietly eased back into a more sedate, suburban lifestyle that doesn’t involve too much of clubs and the stage. Still others have vanished completely.

In recent years, some  quite dynamic young musicians  have come to the fore, particularly in the jazz field … artists like Ramon Alexander,  Hilton Frans, the Delft Band. Switched on young musos who will add so much to the local scene — if they are given the right opportunities.

It is comforting to know that this new crop will build a healthy base for music to thrive and  taking it into exciting new directions as they provide great entertainment in the community.

However,  I’ve always  cherished that old saying: in order to know where you’re going, it’s important to know where you come from.

And where we come from, there is a wealth of material from which to draw. In recent months I have been thrilled by the initiative of Trevor Davis in presenting his Sundays of Legends concerts. It is as much about our past as it is our future.

This blog is my attempt to make sure that our past is documented in some way to benefit future generations. And make sure that we honour the “legends” who have passed on and those who are still with us.

And please, this is a work in progress, and a one-person show.  Don’t mind the typos and little slip-ups. Feel free to criticise constructively, add value where you can [there is a comment area just for  that].  I’ll try to add things regularly, cut me some slack if nothing happens for a week or so, or feed me with something that I can use.

But most of all, enjoy the ride. Make sure you tick the boxes at the  bottom of the  page which will alert you by email that new material is on the blog.



  1. Hi Warren, thanks for the trip down memory lane. Your tribute to Robert Davids brought back memories, and sure many of my generation will agree when I say not all of those memories can be shared with our children.


  2. Hi warren. Trust you are well memories came flooding back. The Kismet Talent Shows, Battle of the Bands etc. The Durban based group, the Exotics at Columbia 68 our old stomping ground next to the Beverley Lounge. Fond memories of you and Kino always sharing loads of laughs. Keep writing!!


    1. T’anks a bundle Venita. Nice of you to visit the blog. But what’s going on here? You on the blog, Marlene sends me a FB friend request. Is this the ghosts of Christmas past?

      What are you on about? I never went to the Kismet Talent Shows, the Battle of the Bands, Columbia 68. You must be confusing me with somebody else. I just don’t remember anything about that. Maybe if you wrote on the blog about your experiences there, it might jog my memory — and memory is a precious commodity again.


      1. Shoo Warren, I am sure you were around at the Columbia night club and i remember Kino, Toma Simons and that gang very well…Lol….then Arts Nova started at the Beveley Lounge ? You should get Jay Jay (Gulum Abdurahman) or his brother Abdi (Nizaam) to write a piece on that period of our lives. They owned the first record shop in Athlone, the night club The Workshop and produced the live shows at the Kismet Cinima like The Flames !! Its all fond memories for me !! There should be great archival photographs sitting in draws…. Lol !! Rashid


        1. Rashid, if Jay Jay were to write something, I’d need two blogs . . . he’s got so much to say. And Abdi, what is he going to write? That we sat down at the railway line at the “Sea of Tranquility” discussing deep and meaningful things while our minds were blown away by Hendrix, Cream, Led Zep . . . I think I’ll go lie down now, it’s all a bit too much for me.


        2. Hi Warren, I remember Toma Simons. We worked for the Abdurahmans at the Taj Mahal Bazaars next to the Athlone Station where we would help on weekends and school holidays.I also got to know the Missiles band very well as I went to school with Aubrey Williams and Lewellyn Roman who played guitar together with Charles [Anyster] on bass, Leslie Beukes on drums, and Claude Brink on vocals. Leslie was the older brother of Lionel Beukes.


    1. I’m not sure I can’t help you there. I don’t think I’ve come across a pic of the Exotics in my files but . . . I’ll have another look. I know I’ve got one of you and Donjeany and Jimmy Baye standing at an ice-cream stand at the top of St george’s Street!


  3. Hi Warren. Nice catching up with you again at the Richard Ceaser show. Gail and I enjoyed you and your wife’s company. Interesting reading about the Cape Town music scene, past and present. We recall individuals who were brilliant musicians in their own right who were part of bands and groups who played at various functions such as sport clubs and sport Union functions, wedding receptions etc. during the 1970’s and 80’s in Cape Town. The Gemstones and Stan Lombard Band comes to mind. Keep it coming.


    1. Thanks Lindsay, appreciate the sentiments.

      I’d love to do profiles on those groups — and a whole lot more. But a line from that hit of the Sixties (I think it may have been Tom Jones) comes to mind: “If I only had time . . .”

      I should have the Ceaser profile done soon.

      Enjoyed your company too on the night.




        1. I’m doing fine Mr Bestman, thank you for asking. I’m impressed that you are floating around on my blog. Please remember to leave a comment on the page where I did an interview with you. And don’t tell me one of your Sixties jokes!!!


  4. We had and have an endless pool of talent in our country. Yes , the Cape always takes the lead with supply and everything got put together in JHB.

    I have fond memories of The Cape Herald and Rapport Ekstra providing valuable entertainment information.

    Some artist coming into mind…The Rockets( from the Molly and Robbie era up to the Frank Brown and Bones era) Pacific Express, Athlone Express, RJ Smith, Sophia Foster, Walter Brown, The Prumes, Triangle, The Hippies, Jonathan, Danny and Sandra Butler, Al Etto, Cecil Mitchell, Ronnie Joyce, Melvyn Matthews, Bloodshed, Lionel Petersen, Taliep Petersen, Noel Mitchell, The Invaders, The Flames, Bobby Hendricks, Jimmy Newman, Abe Thomas, Bernie Brown, The Flood, The Miracles, Georgie Carelse, Tomorrows World, Exotics, Sylvia Green, Ivan Ross, Colin Ricketts, CC Beat and many many more


    1. You list almost all the Legends. Not forgetting the local bands and artists. Why can’t we have compilation featuring all these artists? I think its long overdue — a Hall of Fame. The record companies took all the money. Why can’t they put something back to recognise these talented musicians?


  5. Philip, worst is that these guys are doing nothing and they sitting with all the material. Some good compilations released a few years ago was Soul Meeting, Cape Town Sound and Cape Gold. Unfortunately I only have CDR copies . I do have original Cds available of Richard Jon Smith- Greatest hits, Jonathan Butler- I love how you love me. The invaders- Theres a light , there’s a way, The Flames- Soulfire/ Burning Soul , The Flames- Oh Yeah/ Umm mmm, Ricardo- Best of etc.
    A dream compilation would be:

    Enchantment- The Rockets
    Ill be home- Jonathan Butler
    Heavenly- Ronnie Joyce
    We belong together- The Flood
    Guess who- The Invaders
    Tell it like it is- The Flames
    Try a little love- Lionel Petersen
    Gee baby , I’m sorry- The Prumes
    Daydreamer- Al Etto
    Julia- Ricardo
    Love wont let me wait- The Miracles feat. Neville Nash
    The greatest love of all- Pacific Express feat. Zayn Adam and Jonathan Butler
    Try me- Danny Butler
    Mr lonely- Ivan Ross
    Isnt she lovely- Lesley Kleinsmit
    Ten commandments of love- Cecil Mitchell
    Sincerely- Sophia Foster
    Sad Wedding- Colin Bones Delight and Sophia Foster
    Time is tight- Roy Petersen
    The first time- Blondie and Papa
    Hopeless love- The Movers


  6. I am very excited to start reading. Both music and my heritage are areas I don’t know much about. Looking forward to filling in this knowledge gap!


  7. Hi Warren. Ros Dantu introduced me to your Blog and I look forward to following all the items. Also we can share much of our Cape Town and SA Music initiatives for you to have a look at.


  8. Hi Warren – I only found this website now and what a trip down memory lane. From watching Joy and Oswetie as a 14 year old having been smuggled into Club Sherwood and then jolling every Wednesday at the Montreal. Thanks for taking me back years. – Hashiem Bardien


  9. The fans are currently deprived of good local live performances. Artist still very much active are The Rockets, Cecil Mitchell, Ivan ross, Steve Fataar, Gammie Lekay, Wilfred Aploon, Molly barron etc


  10. Sadly lots of recordings were lost due to a huge fire at Gallo years ago, negligence , lack of interest etc. I collect all local artist Lps and Cds. These guys were simply the best.


  11. I play mainly local music on Eldos FM 87.6 Sundays 15h00- 18h00 on my program called Golden Oldies Express. You can connect via streaming too.. Some of the popular tracks that I play.
    Hold on to what you got- Peanut Butter Conspiracy
    Loving you- The Rockets
    I belong to you- The Prumes
    Try a little love- Lionel Petersen
    Happy and Gay- RJ Smith
    Ill be forever loving you- The Flood
    Unchained melody- Alistair Izobell
    Enchantment- The Rockets
    Sad wedding- Bones and Sophia
    Kalimba Party- Tomorrows World
    Mr Lonely- Ivan Ross
    Spanish Eyes- The Swingers Dance Band
    For your precious love- The Flames
    Last date- The Invaders
    Storybook children- Sammy Brown
    Give a little love- Ronnie Joyce
    I believe- The Prumes
    Give a little love- Pacific Express
    Sweet City woman- The Miracles
    Love me now- Neville Nash( Paulsen)
    Please stay- Jonathan Butler


  12. Hi Warren, i wud like to kno if u remember a guitarist by the name of Bill Roach, hes wife was a jazz and opera singer named Mavis Roach, they were my grand parents and i wud love to bring them out in the light, thank you in anticipation


  13. I knew Dave Bestman in the years ( 2008 – 2016) I taught as an ex patriot in Francistown Botswana. I had the privilege of playing with him in a few low key gigs there. He is an absolute master of the sax and various other instruments. I remember many a time watching him with absolute awe as he picked up a new song by ear in a couple of seconds and would improvise within minutes. What an ear for music. Always a gentleman. I’ve learned so much from him musically. One of the rare and rich moments in my life. A wonderful musician.


  14. Amazing website! So many beautiful stories and destinies. I moved from St Petersburg, Russia, to Cape Town December 2019. And I was always happy to attend any jazz events in St Petersburg because it is truly jazz capital of Russia. But only moving to Cape Town I actually found inside a huge desire to play and learn myself. This is a great website to find out about the Jazz culture in Cape Town. I hope through learning, reading and listening to local music I will find my teachers and my artistic voice!


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