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Mel Green: Blog

My South African Trip – Going Home

Posted on May 1, 2018

My Homepage for the last 3 months or so began with these paragraphs of promotion...

Mel Green returns to South Africa ... 
Appearing in Cape Town
The Barleycorn Music Club on Wednesday March 21st at 3pm
at the Saggy Stone Restaurant Villagers Rugby Club, Claremont, Cape Town. 
Mel joins an esteemed Cape Town line up including Steve Newman, Bill Knight, Tim Parr, Amy Tjasink, Jono Taitt, Wayne Pauli, Jamie Jupiter, Nick Turner, Jenny & the Jameses, Gerald Clark & Blacksmith. A benefit for the Barleycorn Club, after the loss of their sound equipment due to flood damage on Human Rights Day from 2 - 9pm.

AND in Johannesburg
Mel features at TJs Folk Club in Emmarentia, Johannesburg on Thursday the 12th of April at Marks Park Sports Club, Judith Road, Emmarentia, Johannesburg. This is reputed to be Johannesburg's finest acoustic music venue with a superb sound system... Performances from 7 - 10pm.  

Well. I have to mention a few observations... 

I had rehearsed practiced and mulled over these two gigs in particular, all the while attempting to subdue any expectations of how it would be, how it would turn out and how I might feel about the whole thing afterwards, And I am glad I did!
We landed in Cape Town on the 15th of March and immediately, on the very first night I was looking forward to visiting my dear cousin, Lyn Resnick, who had invited us to a get together at her and David's house for a get-together with 8 first cousins and their spouses, and some friends... oh, and her brother, Howard and his wife Ann from San Diego who were also in town suggested I drive all of us, and by the way, bring my guitar too, please.
A gig, literally singing for my supper in front of family, a first for me!
And so, I sang five of my songs to this attentive, inquisitive crowd, some of whom had never seen me perform in my earlier life as a pro. All went well, no one fell asleep, and if nothing else, it proved that I can in fact remember lyrics in a sleep-deprived state , after a nice meal! 
Cape Town and it's environs gave us a nostalgic good time, and proved that you can't really go home again... in this case so much had changed! 
The afternoon of the above-mentioned Barleycorn Music Club Benefit came around, and my wife and I arrived fairly early at the venue within the clubhouse of the Villagers Rugby Club in extremely scenic Claremont. I was ready and expected to go on second in the roster of performers, which was fine by me, as the organizer had told me that the solo or folkie acts would go on early, to allow for the rowdy bands featuring electric instruments to go on later, when things were expected to actually get rowdy!
My good fortune had me following the opener, one very famous South African muso, Steve Fataar, of The Flames, a band I knew back in my Durban days in the mid-60s, and which went on to be chosen by The Beach Buys (yes, that band!) to join them in California, and from which union came much great music and recordings, including the hit ”Sail on sailor”!
Following Steve was a duo, led by the incredible South African guitarist, Steve Newman of the band Tananas... (look him up, you won't be sorry!)
Then it was my turn and I managed to squeeze in four of my songs, to good applause and obvious appreciation... thank you Barleycorn!
With that gig out of the way, and a bunch of new acquaintances as a bonus, we continued our wonderful week-long stay in Cape Town, and on the 22nd we checked out and drove a couple of hours eastward up the South Coast to the little former whaling village of Hermanus, now a very pleasant resort town. 2 days there had us happy for our next leg, a 4 hour drive further along the Garden Route to Plettenberg Bay, a very beautiful place, and the initial reason for our trip, 6 days at the famous Beacon Island Hotel, situated on the edge of a rocky outcrop overlooking the Indian Ocean. our fourth day included a staff concert of variety, comedy and music, into which I was roped, to sing a song, which I did to much applause again... for me this was another opportunity to perform for an audience of strangers. A good thing.
After that sojourn of beach, evening meals of delicious local fish and sleeping to the lullaby of crashing waves and the sussurance of the receding tidal flow, we regretfully drove back to Cape Town, staying with cousins and again treated to the sights we had missed seeing during our first week's stay.
We flew north on the 2nd of April, landing in Johannesburg, and after a nice breakfast, proceeded to drive eastward to the Kruger National Park, for an idyllic week of wild-animal spotting, lousy restaurants and an experience we'll never forget. We saw many of the wonderful animals, numerous Giraffe, Elephant, Antelope, Hippo, Wildebeest, Aardvark, birds, Crocodile, Hyena, Wid Dogs and Lions, but alas never did see Leopard, Cheetah or Rhino. Still it was a wonderful bucket-list time we enjoyed.
Returning to Johannesburg for our last week of vacation was a bit of a let-down, only because the southern Autumn was taking hold, which meant a few days of cold rain, overcast skies, and realizing we were not equipped with the right clothing. Thank you Woolworths!
The evening of my feature gig at TJs Music Club, which was fortunately held in a lovely rotunda-like building, with a huge stage, a terrific sound-system and on that night, an eager audience, with friends amongst them... I am happy to say that Des Lindberg, one of my earliest influences, and from whom I stole a lot of fingerpicking tips was present, as was my old partner in crime, Mel Miller, form my 60s folk-comedy band, Mel, Mel & Julian.
The organizers had generously doled out 55 minutes to me and so I had the luxury of really getting into my repertoire for the very appreciative audience at his full-house event. The audience were unfamiliar with my repertoire of compositions, and I was able to present 50% older songs and the other half were all new songs which I had been preparing and rehearsing for the previous 6 months. (And I am glad I did!)Well. I have to mention a few observations... I had rehearsed practiced and mulled over these two gigs in particular, all the while attempting to subdue any expectations of how it would be, how it would turn out and how I might feel about the whole thing afterwards, And I am glad I did!

We landed in Cape Town on the 15th of March and immediately, on the very first night I was looking forward to visiting my dear cousin, Lyn Resnick, who had invited us to a get together at her and David's house for a get-together with 8 first cousins and their spouses, and some friends... oh, and her brother, Howard and his wife Ann from San Diego who were also in town suggested I drive all of us, and by the way, bring my guitar too, please.

A gig, literally singing for my supper in front of family, a first for me!And so, I sang five of my songs to this attentive, inquisitive crowd, some of whom had never seen me perform in my earlier life as a pro. All went well, no one fell asleep, and if nothing else, it proved that I can in fact remember lyrics in a sleep-deprived state , after a nice meal! 

Cape Town and it's environs gave us a nostalgic good time, and proved that you can't really go home again... in this case so much had changed! 

The afternoon of the above-mentioned Barleycorn Music Club Benefit came around, and my wife and I arrived fairly early at the venue within the clubhouse of the Villagers Rugby Club in extremely scenic Claremont. I was ready and expected to go on early in the roster of performers, which was fine by me, as the organizer had told me that the solo or folkie acts would go on early, to allow for the rowdy bands featuring electric instruments to go on later, when things were expected to actually get rowdy!

My good fortune had me following the opener, one very famous South African muso, Steve Fataar, of The Flames, a band I knew back in my Durban days in the mid-60s, and who went on to be chosen by The Beach Buys (yes, that band!) to join them in California, and from which union came much great music and recordings, including the hit ”Sail on sailor”!

Following Steve was a duo, led by the incredible South African guitarist, Steve Newman of the band Tananas... (look him up, you won't be sorry!)

Then it was my turn and I managed to squeeze in four of my songs, to good applause and obvious appreciation... thank you Barleycorn!

With that gig out of the way, and a bunch of new acquaintances as a bonus, we continued our wonderful week-long stay in Cape Town, and on the 22nd we checked out and drove a couple of hours eastward up the South Coast to the former whaling village of Hermanus, now a very pleasant resort town. 2 days there had us happy for our next leg, a 4 hour drive further along the Garden Route to Plettenberg Bay, a very beautiful place, and the initial reason for our trip, 6 days at the famous Beacon Island Hotel, situated on the edge of a rocky outcrop overlooking the Indian Ocean. our fourth day included a staff concert of variety, comedy and music, into which I was roped, to sing a song, which I did to much appreciative applause... for me this was another opportunity to perform for an audience of strangers. A good thing.

After that sojourn of beach, evening meals of delicious local fish and sleeping to the lullaby of crashing waves and the sussurance of the receding tidal flow, we regretfully drove back to Cape Town, staying with cousins and again treated to the sights we had missed seeing during our first week's stay.

We flew north on the 2nd of April, landing in Johannesburg, and after a nice breakfast, proceeded to drive eastward to the Kruger National Park, for an idyllic week of wild-animal spotting, lousy restaurants and an experience we'll never forget. We saw many of the wonderful animals, numerous Giraffe, Elephant, Antelope, Hippo, Wildebeest, Aardvark, birds, Crocodile, Hyena, Wid Dogs and Lions, but alas never did see Leopard, Cheetah or Rhino. Still it was a wonderful bucket-list time we enjoyed.

Returning to Johannesburg for our last week of vacation was a bit of a let-down, only because the southern Autumn was taking hold, which meant a few days of cold rain, overcast skies, and realizing we were not equipped with the right clothing. Thank you Woolworths!

The evening of my feature gig at TJs Music Club, which was fortunately held in a lovely rotunda-like building, with a huge stage, a terrific sound-system and on that night, an eager audience, with friends amongst them... I am happy to say that Des Lindberg, one of my earliest influences, and from whom I stole a lot of fingerpicking tips was present, as was my old partner in crime, Mel Miller, from my 60s folk-comedy band, Mel, Mel & Julian.

The organizers had generously doled out 55 minutes to me and so I had the luxury of really getting into my repertoire for the very appreciative audience at his full-house event. The audience were unfamiliar with my repertoire of compositions, and I was able to present 50% older songs and the other half were all new songs which I had been preparing and rehearsing for the previous 6 months. (And I am glad I did!) A big thank you to Nippy Cripwell, who accompanied me on upright bass... a big help, if only to make me feel more at ease during this first-time gig at TJs.) 

The mini tour of South Africa came to an end... with me raring to go and do more gigs back in the States.