Category: Albums

New Album from Jack Hammer Band: Second Chapter

Jack Hammer Band: Second Chapter
Jack Hammer Band: Second Chapter

Second Chapter” by the Jack Hammer Band does what it says: without any pretences, the album blasts straight into the driving rock sound that has come to define the longest-standing South African rock band.

You immediately find yourself at a Jack Hammer gig, with Duke steady behind the kit, Bean towering over his black bass like a watchkeeper, and Johno and Jake Gunn wringing rock ’n roll out of their guitars as if their lives depended on it.

There is also the tall presence of the man of myth and his Stratocaster that goes by the name of Green Mamba – it would be difficult to imagine Piet Botha laying down the guitar after departing.

The album, co-written by Johnathan Martin, member of Jack Hammer since 1996, and Jake Gunn, who joined the ranks in the 2010s, was initially set out as an impulse to craft ten songs out of the kinship shared between the two. It soon became what had been called for: an album for Piet. The album’s path was led by an eleventh track – a reworked, never-before recorded version of ‘Diana’, a song Piet Botha left behind.

Raymond Smith, Piet’s brother-in-law, urged the band to write and record as Jack Hammer again and helped to bring it all together. He also wrote ‘One for the Angels’, a song inspired by one late-night party with Piet Botha.

Through songs shared and learned on stage, the band are creating a living archive, not only by telling Piet and Jack Hammer’s musings and stories in musical form, but also by revisiting undocumented material and channelling an immense discography.

Come celebrate the official album launch of “Second Chapter” on 11 November at the JARR Bar & Restaurant, Pretoria’s home of sound.

The Jack Hammer Band are: Johnathan Martin (vocals, guitars and piano), Tertius du Plessis (bass guitar), Paul Van de Waal (drums and percussion) and Jacques Groenewald (guitars, vocals, piano and harmonicas). Gerry Robinson, honorary band member (acoustic guitars).

“Second Chapter” was recorded at Wolmer Records and produced by the Jack Hammer Band, Lanie van der Walt and Moonshine Lee.

~ Written by Jannike Bergh, 2022.

Jack Hammer Band CD Launch LIVE at JARR Bar Pretoria

"SECOND CHAPTER" the new JACK HAMMER BAND Album Launch.

“SECOND CHAPTER” the new JACK HAMMER BAND Album Launch.

We are very proud to be launching our first album recorded since 2015 and since the loss of Piet Botha our leader and mentor for the past three decades. We dedicate this album to Hammer as our Second Chapter begins…

Jack Hammer Band.

Doors open 12:00
Event from 18:00
Performance from 19:30

25 Years Ago: Piet Botha released ‘n Suitcase Vol Winter

Piet Botha: 'n Suitcase Vol Winter
Piet Botha – ‘n Suitcase Vol Winter

Tracks:

  1. Donkermaan [4.27]
  2. Sien Jou Weer [4.02]
  3. Marilyn Monroe [3.09]
  4. Suitcase Vol Winter [4.21]
  5. Van Tonder [4.35]
  6. Die Kind [4.37]
  7. Goeienag Generaal [4.08]
  8. Klein Bietjie Reën [4.37]
  9. In Die Transvaal [4.01]
  10. Staan Saam Burgers [4.21]
  11. Gipsy In Jou Oë [3.59] vocals by Koos Kombuis
  12. Kom Huistoe [3.58]

All songs composed by Piet Botha except ‘In Die Transvaal’ (Valiant Swart) and ‘Gipsy In Jou Oë’ (Piet Botha/Koos Kombuis)

Musicians:

Piet Botha: vocals, guitars, harmonica, piano
Jorik Pienaar: drums
Jason Phillips: bass
Johnathan Martin: guitars, cellos and vocals

Supported by:

Valiant Swart: guitar, vocals
Koos Kombuis: vocals
Brenda Pieterse: vocals

Release information:
1st October 1997, Wildebeest Records, WILD 005
2009, Independent, JHCD002, remastered by Lanie van der Walt in April 2009

iTunes

Comments:
by Brian Currin

Biting Afrikaans commentary with the musical style of Eric Clapton, Mark Knopler, Chris Rea, etc. ‘Goeie Nag Generaal’ is a brilliant hard-rock song about dying for your country but for what? “Toe ek weer so kyk, het ‘n AK jou fucked-up geskiet”. If this had come out ten years earlier it would have been banned outright!

Cover picture was taken at Matjiesfontein station, though the background mountains have been added in.

‘In Die Transvaal’ originally appeared on Valiant Swart’s ‘Die Mystic Boer’ album in 1995.

It seems appropriate that a song called ‘Sien Jou Weer’ (‘See You Again’ if you are not au fait with Afrikaans) begins with that sort of country-ish on the road again sound that you get in the movies as the hero/heroine sets off on a trip. You never quite know if you will see them again.

The music here has a rhythm of a train, a smoothness of the countless whiskeys consumed on the way, the desolation of the open road and a voice as gravelly as the tar on which you ride. You can smell the memories and sadness that gather in the slipstream of the departing sound, but the singer has to go. As Piet sings, ‘kyk nou die langpad/roep my al weer/daar is nou genade en liefe/en nog baie meer’ (‘look, the highway/calls me again/there is mercy and love/and so much more). The call of the open road is strong with this one.

This is Piet Botha and Jack Hammer at their smooth best. They can sometimes rock hard, but when they turn their collective hands (and voices) to those blues, they know exactly what to do and in ‘Sien Jou’ Weer’, they created something of beauty. It’s a song that once you’ve listened to it, you have no objections to seeing it again on your playlist.
— John Samson, 29 March 2019, 1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

One wonders if the person Piet Botha is singing of in ‘n Suitcase Vol Winter was told to Vat Jou Goed en trek Ferreira. The drifter is on a train to nowhere, on the run from a woman who wants to shoot him, and all he carries with him is a suitcase full of winter. There is a stoicism about the man in question. He is on the run to nowhere, but this suits him (dit pas my goed). It is a rather bleak image, but there is also a gritty realism about it.

Piet’s growling voice manages to capture all these feelings. He sounds almost as if he doesn’t care, yet at the same time there is a desperate edge to the vocals. This is all laid on top of some blistering blues. From the first thudding beats of the guitar and building, with the aid of harmonica and piano, into a desperate, desolate soundscape that seems to compliment the emotional and physical landscapes one can imagine this man on the run is travelling through.

Except for the fact that the lyrics are in Afrikaans and there is a full band sound, ‘n Suitcase Vol Winter sounds as if it could easily have slid out of one of the great Delta blues singer’s guitars. The subject matter and the rhythm fit perfectly. This is, without a doubt, one of the great Afrikaans blues tracks.
— John Samson, 23 September 2012, 1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Goeienag Generaal (The 5FM Sessions version) – Piet Botha & Jack Hammer

The border war in South West (as it was then) and Angola had a significant psychological effect of a lot of young white South Africans conscripted to go and fight there. These effects are still felt by many today and, until recently, was hardly ever spoken of.

In 1997, Piet Botha spoke of it and did so in powerful words against an angry guitar backdrop. The track appeared on his critically acclaimed album ‘‘n Suitcase Vol Winter‘ and talks of the war being fought for all the trappings of capitalism. It was fought for ‘Vir Harry Oppenheimer en al sy maats, Vir Rembrandt van Rijn en Alfred Dunhill, En die OK Bazaars, En die hele bloody spul by die SAUK, Julle was die oorlog vir die CIA.’ And while the war was being fought for these people, Whitey, was being shot by an AK47.

Whether you agree with Piet’s view of the reasons for the war or not, this is one of the great anti-war songs that thunders along with venom, anger and a pounding rhythm. It sounds just as good on the live versions that are available as the studio ones do.
— John Samson, 11 June 2011, 1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Review:
by Stephen Segerman

This first solo album of modern, Afrikaans folk/blues songs happened on the instigation of Eckard Potgieter, the owner of Wildebeest Records. He suggested an album of slow, soft and relevant Afrikaans songs. After four months of production at the Sunset Studios in Stellenbosch, under the guiding hand of Jurgen von Wechmar, ‘Suitcase Vol Winter’ was released. Although many of Stellenbosch’s finest musicians helped with the album, it was mostly Piet Botha’s labour of love and was very different to his previous work with Raven and Jack Hammer.

The 12 songs on this album are acoustic-based, laid back and emotional. Botha wrote all the songs (with the exception of Valiant Swart’s ‘In Die Transvaal’ and the Koos Kombuis written-and-sung ‘Gipsey In Jou Oe’) and delivered the finest vocal performance of his career with ballads like the beautiful and sad ‘Van Tonder’ and the reflective title track. Along with Swart, Kombuis and Koos du Plessis, Piet Botha was responsible for establishing Afrikaans as a competitive rock music “taal” again.

Piet and Pik Botha
Piet Botha with his father, Pik Botha

These sensitive and narrative songs cover all those SA subjects that had affected Piet Botha as a South African growing up in the apartheid-era. From the Anglo-Boer and Border wars (‘Goeienag Generaal’), life, death and politics to wives, film stars and “the road”, Botha covers all these relevant topics with strong lyrics, steady and sympathetic backing and a wide range of feelings that leaves this album up there with the best from Koos Kombuis and Valiant Swart.

The other artists appearing on this album are Jorik Pienaar (drums), Jason Phillips (bass), Johnathan Martin (guitars, cellos and vocals) as well as Koos Kombuis, Valiant Swart and Brenda Pieterse. While it must be mentioned that Piet is the son of the long-serving Nationalist Party Foreign Affairs minister, Pik, it should also be said that Piet Botha’s alternative career certainly puts paid to that old Afrikaans cliché, “Die appel val nie ver van die boom af nie”. A great SA artist and album.

 

Discography:

13 Towns, The Journey Continues

For Piet Botha & Jack Hammer, the month of December always involved touring “coast to coast and up and down that crazy road…” This year, they’re still bringing their music to the fans, in the form of 13 Towns (The Journey Continues) double live album.

Following the release of Vol. 1 on online platforms earlier this year, Vol. 2 is now also available.

Even better, Vol. 1 + 2 can also be purchased in CD format from Johnathan Martin, Bean, Duke or Jake Gunn.
If you are in the Helderberg area you can also go grab yourself a copy at the Soul Café in Strand.

Vonk Musiek
That Other Booking Company
Wolmer Records

Piet Botha & Jack Hammer: 13 Towns, Vol 2, released 22 December 2020

Piet Botha & Jack Hammer - 13 Towns Vol 2
Piet Botha & Jack Hammer – 13 Towns Vol 2

Tracks:

  1. Blues Jam
  2. Lovesick (Bob Dylan cover)
  3. Hurt (Nine Inch Nails / Johnny Cash cover)
  4. Sien Jou Weer
  5. Suitcase Vol Winter
  6. Die Brief
  7. Moordenaarskaroo
  8. That’s How We Roll
  9. Heroes (David Bowie cover)
  10. All Along The Watchtower (Bob Dylan / Jimi Hendrix cover)

Recorded live on the road between 2017 and 2019.

Recorded and mixed by Paul van de Waal, and mastered by Lanie van der Walt (Wolmer Records).

Musicians:

  • Piet Botha: Vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano
  • Johnathan Martin: Vocals, guitar
  • Tertius du Plessis: Bass
  • Paul vd Waal: Drums
  • Jake Gunn (Jacques Groenewald): guitar, vocals
  • Gerry Robinson: Acoustic guitar

Release information:
Download: Vonk Musiek, 22 December 2020


Listen and 
Buy Online (choose your music service)

Listen on Youtube

Listen on Spotify

Craft Exchange, Friday 8 December 2017
Craft Exchange, Friday 8 December 2017
Piet Botha On The Road
“Rolling tumbling we go
On the road that has no end
If we might never meet again
Remember you were my friend”

Discography:

Jack Hammer launch new album for Piet Botha’s 65th birthday

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Piet Botha and Jack Hammer - 13 Towns

Piet Botha and Jack Hammer – 13 Towns

“I cannot remember
places that I’ve been
I got lost forever
out on Highway 13
but I’m not complaining
by now that road belongs to me” 

– Highway 13 (Jack Hammer)

Throughout his 45 years as a musician, Piet Botha (the Hammer) always felt most at home on the road. Along with his long-standing Jack Hammer bandmates – Johnathan Martin (the Kid), Tertius du Plessis (Bean), and Paul van de Waal (Duke) – he toured across the country to play for a range of audiences, performing anywhere from major music festivals to small town theatres.

Between 2017 and 2019, Duke started recording many of these gigs, which led to the idea of releasing a double album recorded ‘live on the road’ to share some of the magic. The nature of the gigs ranged from mellow acoustic sessions to raucous full electric performances. Along with the regular line-up, the band was often joined by Jake Gunn (Jacques Groenewald) from Cape Town, as well as Gerry Robinson – all part of the Jack Hammer family.

During this period, Piet developed “trigger finger” and couldn’t play guitar, resulting in valuable recordings of Piet’s unique style of piano playing. According to Duke: “In all the years that we played together, it was rare for Piet to play the piano at gigs before this happened. The sounds of piano and acoustic guitar, with bass and drums, playing songs originally recorded on electric guitar, give these recordings a special feel.”

It was Piet’s wish to name the album 13 Towns, reflecting both his love of the road and the number 13, which appears in many of his songs. On 18 July, what would have been Piet’s 65th birthday, the Jack Hammer band and his daughters are pleased to share the first 13 songs of this album online, with the release of the physical double album planned for later this year.

Recorded and mixed by Paul van de Waal, and mastered by Lanie van der Walt (Wolmer Records), the album features both Afrikaans and English songs, carefully selected by the band. As Duke explains: “We wanted to include some songs on the album that were never recorded but were often played at gigs – like ‘Me and Paul’ by Willie Nelson – as well as some classic Jack Hammer songs that were last recorded many years ago, like ‘The Fisherman’. 13 Towns is like a gig, a gig played over a few years at many venues, but brought together like a live show.”

We hope 13 Towns will give fans the chance to once again experience a Piet Botha & Jack Hammer gig live.

THE ALBUM WILL BE LAUNCHED ON ALL STREAMING PLATFORMS ON 18 JULY 2020

PRESS CONTACT: jessica@tobc.co.za

More information on 13 Towns.

————————————————————————————————————————————

Jack Hammer stel nuwe album bekend vir Piet Botha se 65ste verjaarsdag

“Hier gaan ons alweer
op daai middernagtrein
kry my in Johannesburg
dan kry ek jou in Bloemfontein” 

– Die Middernagtrein (J.P. Botha)

Gedurende sy 45 jaar as musikant, was Piet Botha altyd op sy gelukkigste op die langpad. Saam met die Jack Hammer band – Johnathan Martin (the Kid), Tertius du Plessis (Bean) en Paul van de Waal (Duke) – het hy die land platgetoer, met optredes by groot musiekfeeste sowel as teaters op klein dorpies.

Tussen 2017 en 2019 is baie van hierdie optredes deur Duke opgeneem, van intieme akoestiese aande tot vol elektriese optredes, met verskynings deur die nuutste Jack Hammer lid Jake Gunn (Jacques Groenewald), sowel as ou vriend Gerry Robinson. Die band het mettertyd die idee gekry om hierdie opnames met aanhangers te deel, in die vorm van ‘n dubbel album wat live op die langpad opgeneem is.

Dit was Piet se wens om die album 13 Towns te noem, sy gunsteling nommer wat in vele van sy lirieke opduik. Op 18 Julie, Piet se 65ste verjaarsdag, deel die Jack Hammer band en sy dogters die eerste 13 snitte van hierdie album aanlyn, met die plan om die fisieke dubbel album later die jaar vry te stel.

Die album is opgeneem en gemeng deur Paul van de Waal, en gemeester deur Lanie van der Walt (Wolmer Records). Dit bevat beide Afrikaanse en Engelse liedjies, uitgekies deur die band. Baie van hierdie opnames stel Piet se unieke klavierspel ten toon, aangesien hy vir ‘n ruk lank nie kitaar kon speel nie. Volgens Duke was dit baie skaars vir Piet om klavier te speel by gigs, wat dié opnames ‘n spesiale atmosfeer gee.

Duke som 13 Towns as volg op: “13 Towns is like a gig, a gig played over a few years at many venues, but brought together like a live show.” Ons hoop dit bied aanhangers die geleentheid om weereens ‘n Piet Botha & Jack Hammer gig live te ervaar.

DIE ALBUM WORD OP 18 JULIE BEKENDGESTEL OP ALLE DIGITALE PLATFORMS

Kontak jessica@tobc.co.za vir meer inligting

From The Vaults: Jack Hammer at the Whammy Bar, 11th November 1999

This was when I first met Piet Botha and Johnathan Martin (that is the correct spelling for Johnathan, I found out years later!). Piet often used to say that I put them on the internet before they even knew what the internet was!
— Brian Currin, 10th July 2020

from SA Rock Digest, Issue #39, 21st November 1999

Whammy Bar 11 November 1999

Whammy Bar 11 November 1999

Piet Botha’s famed blues-rock band is releasing a retrospective of their 4 albums on a new compilation CD early in December. Titled simply “Anthology” this CD will include 4 or 5 new songs plus a new re-recording of the classic ‘Fort Lauderdale’ alongside tracks from all 4 previous albums.

Those of you who were lucky enough to see Piet Botha on his recent “Skopgraaf” tour would have heard a couple of the new tracks, including ‘April’.

Piet Botha, Jonathan Martin and Tertius du Plessis wowed the enthusiastic audience at the Whammy Bar in Cape Town recently. Their set included Piet Botha solo songs, Jack Hammer tracks and some covers including a stunning version of Zeppelin’s ‘Tangerine’ and Bob Dylan’s ‘All Along The Watchtower’.

Please see the Original post

Please also see: South African Rock Legends: Piet Botha and Jack Hammer

Piet Botha | Jack Hammer Double LP Now Available

Piet Botha Jack Hammer Double LP

Piet Botha Jack Hammer Double LP

Piet Botha | Jack Hammer

Piet Botha | Jack Hammer Double LP

Tracks:

  1. Donker Maan [4:28]
  2. Richmondstraat [4:24]
  3. Suitcase Vol Winter [4:22]
  4. Vandat Jy Weg Is [3:59]
  5. Blues Vir Louise [4:42]
  6. Stad Sonder Naam [3:58]
  7. Die Mamba [4:56]
  8. Goeienag Generaal [4:09]
  9. Man Met Kitaar [5:15]
  10. Staan Saam Burgers [3:40]
  11. Highway 13 [3:13]
  12. January’s Son [3:48]
  13. The Pilgrim [6:32]
  14. Welcome To Azania [4:27]
  15. Mr Midnight [3:41]
  16. Mozambique [4:12]
  17. Liberty [3:43]
  18. Fort Lauderdale [3:41]
  19. Sarajevo [4:47]
  20. The Fisherman [5:02]

Release Information:

2LP: 2019 Wolmer Records, 199753E
CD: not unreleased on CD

Buy at PietBotha.bio

Musicians:

See separate album releases

Comments:

Songs were recorded at various studios across the country between 1985 – 2011

Limited edition, double LP, uniquely numbered, mixed specially for vinyl by Lanie van der Walt / Wolmer Records

Review:

Wayne Roux, 2019

Wayne Roux, 2019

It’s taken me a long time to truly assimilate this release. Ironically enough I know all the music on this compilation, but allow me to explain the importance of this particular release. Piet Botha passed away this year but left us with some of the grittiest, down-to-earth, soul searching music. The renegade son of a principled and extremely well-liked politician, Piet was one of the most amazingly talented local musicians ever to grace us with his presence, persona and was liked by all. His blues and pure rock in Jack Hammer was the mainstay and result of a life on the road, touring incessantly but always giving a piece of his heart away to fans, friends, roadies and music junkies and the music sung in English, and would not be out of place anywhere in the world. This is a double album with one record dedicated to material by Jack Hammer, and the other to his solo work. His solo work was generally performed in Afrikaans (his native tongue), but was equally rewarding and he regularly delivered the most incredible albums. He was a rocker, a husband, a father, a maverick, a beautiful soul with a powerful gravel-laden voice, a entertainer and the epitome of what humans can achieve when they channel all their creativity into their music. A belated tribute to our fallen son, not to be forgotten. Wolmer Records, 2019. Limited edition. Sleeves notes judiciously acknowledge all members of both incarnations. Even Billy Bob Thornton.

Wayne Roux, 2019

 

Jack Hammer: Handful Of Rain | Press Release

Jack Hammer - Handful Of Rain

Jack Hammer – Handful Of Rain

The Jack Hammer line-up featuring on Handful Of Rain has endured over the years, with Piet Botha (guitars, keys, harmonica, vocals), Johnathan Martin (guitars, vocals), Tertius du Plessis (bass) and Paul van de Waal (drums). The album also features guest artists Arthur Dennis (guitars, vocals) and Rudolph Dennis (drums, guest vocals) from Akkedis/Lyzyrd Kyngs. Piet Botha’s harmonica is present throughout the album, and the style is familiar, lingering long after, like a renegade’s signature tune in an old western.

The timbre in Piet Botha’s singing is full of longing and resistance. In the title track, he sings “Here I go again on a lonesome highway / A handful of rain and empty heart”, with Johnathan Martin, ‘The Kid’, by his side, harmonising, singing the same words. Cut from the same cloth. “That’s How We Roll” echoes Neil Young, “me, I got nothing / just this old guitar”; a song about this brotherhood of musicians defying the Man, choosing the road over the rat race with its fitting rock ‘n roll chorus.The haunting cover of Four Jacks and Jill’s “Master Jack”, a song about choosing solitude over society, flows into the album’s theme: “no hard feelings if I never come back.” Delving into the songwriting is a melancholy joy, and each listen reveals new meanings and interpretations. Is a song like “When the Moon Was Young” a love song first, a protest song second? Piet Botha gently contends,“They think they can own her / but even a fool knows / the moon belongs to lovers…” 

The hair-raising harmonies of “Emily” and “Where Is the Clown” remind us why Jack Hammer are at their best when Piet Botha and Johnathan Martin come together. Not only do they whistle the same tune when it comes to existing and creating outside of the mainstream, but their musical accord completes Jack Hammer. Handful of Rain can best be summed up in “Sweet Soul Music”, Piet Botha’s collaboration with the Soweto String Quartet: violins, harmonica and electric guitars join on a song about rivers turning into seas, about songs turning our solitude into a universe of connected souls: “Keep the music in your heart / You will never walk alone.”

Released January 2016

Track Listing:

  1. Where Is The Clown
  2. Handful Of Rain
  3. That’s How We Roll
  4. Emily
  5. When The Moon Was Young
  6. Deep Blue Sea
  7. Master Jack
  8. Sweet Soul Music
  9. When The Morning Comes