Kongos, John

Band members               Related acts

- Dave Chambers - brass

- Ray Cooper - percussion

- Lol Coxhill - sax

- Dave Glover - bass

- Robert Kirby - horns

- John Kongos - vocals, guitar, percussion

- Mike Moran - keyboards, synthesizers

- Roger Pope - drums, percussion

- Caleb Quaye - lead guitar, keybaords




- The Dukes

- Floribunda Rose

- Johnny Kongos and the G-Men 

- Scrugg





Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Kongos

Company: Elektra

Catalog: EKS-75019

Year: 1972

Country/State: Johannesburg, South Africa

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: cut corner

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4671

Price: $20.00

Cost: $66.00


John Kongos is a rather talented if largely unknown singer/songwriter 

whose roots stetch from Johannesburg, South Africa to Arizona (where he now lives).


A South African native, he started his musical career in the early 1960s as a member of various beat groups including The Dukes and Johnny Kongos and the G-Men.  By the mid-1960s Kongos had relocated to the UK where he recorded as a member of Floribunda Rose and Scrugg.  Following Scrugg's breakup Kongos struck out as a solo act.  Interestingly, Kongos' first solo break came as a writing credit.  Actress Deliah Lavi scored a European hit with her cover of 'Won't You Join Me'.  The resulting royalties allowed Kongos to furnish a home studio.  The resulting demos were enough to attract the attention of Dawn Records. 


Released in the States on Elektra, Kongos' sophomore album "Kongos" teamed him with producer Gus Dudgeon (Roy Thomas Baker remixing the set). Sounding like something Slade might have recorded, the fuzz guitar and African percussion propelled slice of glam-rock 'Tokoloshe Man' gets the set off to a rousing start.  Similarly, 'He's Gonna Step On You Again' offers up another pounding rocker that incorporates an early use of tape loop.  Unfortunate Kongos didn't stick with a same formula for the rest of the album. Instead, tracks such as 'Jubilee Cloud', 'Gold' and 'Lift Me from the Ground' offered up a more conventional pop-rock sound that recalled "Madman Across the Water" era Elton John.  That comparison may have something to do with the fact Gus Dudgeon was also John's producer and the fact Kongos was supported by the core of Elton John's studio and touring band.  Mind you the performances aren't bad embracing much of the American wild west imagery that made Elton John's early LPs so enjoyable (albeit with a surprisingly strong religious sentiment), they're just not as good as the two atypical rockers. Commercially the LP didn't do anything in the States, but in the UK and throughout Europe Kongos enjoyed a pair of hits with 'He's Gonna Step On You Again' b/w 'Sometimes It's Not Enough' (Elektra catalog 45-45729) and 'Tokoloshe Man' b/w 'Can Someone Direct Me Back To Earth' (Elektra catalog 45-45760).


Always happy to clutter your life with another piece of useless musical trivia, The Happy Mondays scored a pair of top-10 hits covering both 'He's Gonna Step On You Again' (retitled 'Step On') and 'Tokoloshe Man'.

"Kongos" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Tokoloshe Man   (John Kongos) - 5:20

2.) Jubilee Cloud   (John Kongos - Leroy) - 4:06

3.) Gold   (Demetriou - John Kongos) - 4:28

4.) Lift Me from the Ground   (Bailey - John Kongos) - 4:04

5.) Come On Down Jesus   (John Kongos - Mike Moran) - 3:38


(side 2)
1.) I Would Have Had a Good Time   (John Kongos) - 4:20

2.) Try To Touch Just One   (John Kongos) - 6:45

3.) Tomorrow I'll Go   (John Kongos) - 4:48

4.) He's Gonna Step On You Again   (John Kongos) - 4:47


Kongos subsequently appears to have turned his attention to the business side of the industry focusing on producing and engineering.  He continued to write, but mostly soundtracks and commercial jingles.