The Rising Sons

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  (1966-70)

- Dave Campbell -- drums, percussion, backing vocals

- Gerard Hawes -- keyboards, harmonica, guitar, trumpet

- Rod Keilly -- lead vocals, sax

- Mike Watson -- lead guitar

- Andy White -- bass, backing voals


  line up 2  (1970)

- Dave Campbell -- drums, percussion, backing vocals

- Gerard Hawes -- keyboards, harmonica, guitar, trumpet

- Rod Keilly -- lead vocals, sax

NEW - Andy Potgieter -- bass (replaced Andy White)

- Mike Watson -- lead guitar


  line up 3  (1970)

- Dave Campbell -- drums, percussion, backing vocals

- Gerard Hawes -- keyboards, harmonica, guitar, trumpet

- Rod Keilly -- lead vocals, sax

NEW - Richard Mitchell -- bass (replaced Andy Potgieter)

- Mike Watson -- lead guitar


  line up 4 (1972-74)

- Eddie Boyle -- bass

- Dennis East  - vocals

- Lionel Keilly -- woodwinds

- Peter Lynch -- sax, flute

- Mike Pilot -- guitar




- The Brackets (Mike Pilot)

- Dennis East (solo efforts)

- Mike PIlot (solo efforts)

- Nu-Trends (Richard Mitchell)

- Stingray (Eddie Boyle, Dennis East and Mike Pilot)

- The Tidal Waves (Mike Pilot)

- Vampires  (Andy White)



Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  A Mixed Bag

Company: Trutone

Catalog:  STO 718

Country/State: Pietermaritburg, South Africa

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 31209

Price: $80.00


I'm not sure why, but I've had a long standing fascination with South African rock.  I think my interest may have something to do with the way the country managed to create  its own music scene when it was effectively cutoff from the rest of the world.  I'm not saying that all South African bands are great - they're not, but it makes for an interesting musical niche.  Anyhow, don't don't confuse this outfit with the mid-'60s US band featuring Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal.


The Rising Sons' sophomore album, 1970's "Mixed Bag" was produced by South African singer Billy Forrest.  The set was heavily geared to cover tunes, but with the exception of Jackie DeShannon's 'Put a Little Love In Your Heart' and Creedence Clearwater Revival's 'Proud Mary', stayed away from internationally recognizable songs in favor of more obscure tunes, including The Beatles 'Old Brown Shoe' (mis-credited to Lennon and McCartney) and what appeared to be tunes written by other South African acts.  As lead singer Rod Keilly was quite good, though he occasionally wandered into Scott Walker territory - overly dramatic and hyper-sensitive (check out 'Reaching for the Sun').  The set covered a broad spectrum of sounds ranging from conventional pop tunes like their cover of The Ivy League's 'That's Why I'm Crying' to mid-'60s Toytown-styled psychedelic ('Tree Society').  While it wasn't the most original album I've ever heard and may have been a couple of years behind popular American and European tastes, at least half of the performances were worth hearing.  That's pretty impressive for any album, and even more so if you (remember these guys were living and working in the virtual isolation of early-'70s apartheid.  Even more impressive was their willingness to incorporate psychedelic influences in the mix - not something that South African political and cultural leaders would have smiled at.  As you'd expect, the band were at their best when allowed to record their own material - in this case the highlights included guitarist Mike Watson's energetic 'Hey Diddle Diddle' (also released as a single) and bassist Andy Potgeiter's Merseybeat-influenced 'Hey Girl'.   


"Mixed Bag" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) If I Come Home  (P. DItchfield) - 2:30   rating: **** stars

Kicked along by a incessant Gerard Hawes barrelhouse piano riff, 'If I Come Home' was easily one of the album's strongest performances.  Besides, how could you not be charmed by a South African band that sang about Disney Land?

2.) You Girl   (Andy Potgeiter) - 2:04   rating: **** stars

Written by bassist Andy Potgeiter, 'You Girl' showed how good these guys could be.  Built on a nifty Mike Watson guitar riff, the song managed to combine Merseybeat influences (checkout the harmonies) and a mild country influence.  Not too sound cloying, but the results were cute.

3.) Summer Afternoon  (Bendrix) - 2:42   rating: *** stars

First off, to my ears 'Summer Afternoon' sounded like it was mastered at the wrong speed.  The whole thing just sounded slightly off ...   Buried in heavy orchestration including horns and strings, the tune sounded like someone had dosed the entire studio with the results being just this side of MOR schmaltz.  Kind of reminds me of Scott Walker  fronting The Association.

4.) Tree Society   (Dave Pollecut) - 2:07  rating: **** stars

Written by the late Dave Pollecut, 'Tree Society' was another standout performance. Built on a pounding, repetitive Hawes keyboard pattern, this one found the band fully embracing mid-'60s toytown psychedelia.  

5.) Put A Little Love In Your Life   (Jimmy Holiday - Randy Myers - Jackie DeShannon) - 2:20  rating: ** stars

While I can understand why they wanted to cover this mega-hit, their version brought nothing to the table.  Professional, but bland lounge act performance.

6.) Old Brown Shoe  (John Lennon - Paul McCarntey) - 3:15  rating: *** stars

If you had to include a Beatles cover on your album, kudos to the band for electing to do something fairly obscure.  After all nobody needed to hear another cover of 'Yesterday'.   Their cover of George Harrison's ode to "the duality of things" stayed pretty true to the original with Mike Watson turning in a tart little guitar solo.  Curiously they got the songwriting credits wrong - Harrison wrote the tune, not Lennon and McCartney.


(side 2)

1.) That's Why I'm Crying   (Noel Stanley) - 3:15  rating: ** stars

Written by John Carter and Ken Lewis, The Ivy League released 'That's Why I'm Crying'  as a single in 1965.  The cover version wasn't all that different from the original; touchy-felly ballad.  Dave Campbell's drumming was ...  well, relaxed.  Actually, the whole song was relaxed.  Very Association-esque.   Not sure why the credits showed "Noel - Stanley".

2.) Reaching for the Sun   (John Walker) - 2:22  rating: *** stars

A lysergic-tinged cover of the John Walker-penned ballad, 'Reaching for the Sun' had potential, but once again Rod Keilly's middle of the road vocals took whatever energy the song had.  The overall effect was just kind of bland.  Check out Walker's original

3.) Hey Diddle Diddle   (Mike Watson) - 2:05  rating: **** stars

Maybe because it was an original composition, 'Hey Diddle Diddle' exhibited a touch of real energy.  Powered by a growling Keilly vocal, the nice horn arrangement gave the song a bit of a blue-eyed, Memphis soul feeling.  The song was released as the album's leadoff single:





- 1969's 'Hey Diddle Diddle' b/w 'Mr. Job' (Trutone catalog number TOS 566)







4.) Take It Slow   (Bendrix) - 3:10  rating: *** stars

Another slightly stoned ballad, 'Take It Slow' had a mid-'60s vibe.  Quite attractive. Shame it faded out so abruptly.

5.) Proud Mary   (John Fogerty) - 2:55  rating: *** star

Well, the song remained recognizable, but these guys managed to turn in what had to be one of the dullest covers of this classic tune I've ever heard.  The song was tapped as the second single:






- 1970's 'Proud Mary' b/w 'Tree People' (Rave catalog number TOS 542)






6.) A Great Idea   (Scott) - 2:47   rating: *** stars

Bouncy, pop tune that would have been pretty decent without the blaring horns and the cutesy chorus.  Loved Andy White's melodic bass line.