- Donkermaan [4.27]
- Sien Jou Weer [4.02]
- Marilyn Monroe [3.09]
- Suitcase Vol Winter [4.21]
- Van Tonder [4.35]
- Die Kind [4.37]
- Goeienag Generaal [4.08]
- Klein Bietjie Reën [4.37]
- In Die Transvaal [4.01]
- Staan Saam Burgers [4.21]
- Gipsy In Jou Oë [3.59] vocals by Koos Kombuis
- 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)
Piet Botha: vocals, guitars, harmonica, piano
Jorik Pienaar: drums
Jason Phillips: bass
Johnathan Martin: guitars, cellos and vocals
Valiant Swart: guitar, vocals
Koos Kombuis: vocals
Brenda Pieterse: vocals
1st October 1997, Wildebeest Records, WILD 005
2009, Independent, JHCD002, remastered by Lanie van der Walt in April 2009
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.
1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf: Sien Jou Weer – Piet Botha
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
1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf: ‘n Suitcase Vol Winter – Piet Botha
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
1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf: Goeienag Generaal – Piet Botha
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
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.
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.
- Piet Botha: ‘n Suitcase Vol Winter
- Piet Botha: Jan Skopgraaf
- Piet Botha & Jack Hammer: Bootleg
- Piet Botha: Die Hits
- Piet Botha: Die Mamba
- Piet Botha & Jack Hammer: Live At The Nile
- Piet Botha: Spookpsalms
- Piet Botha: Die Middernagtrein
- Piet Botha | Jack Hammer Double LP
- Piet Botha & Jack Hammer: 13 Towns
- Piet Botha & Jack Hammer: 13 Towns, Vol 2
Piet Botha, was born in 1955 and shares his birth date of 18th July with Nelson Mandela. He began writing songs and forming bands while still at school and his first professional gig was as an acoustic duo in 1974 at a local drinking hole in Pretoria.
Piet Botha is the son of the former South African Minister of Foreign Affairs Pik Botha (not to be confused with P.W. Botha). Pik Botha who served during the last years of the apartheid era was considered to be a liberal, at least in comparison to others in the ruling National Party and among the Afrikaner community at the time.
From 1981 to 1983 Piet Botha was involved with Wildebeest which was one of the first bands to mix rock music with Afrikaans lyrics and recorded ‘Bossies’, a song about the South African / Angolan Border War, which was very much a no-no during those Apartheid times.
In 1984 he co-founded the Blues Rock group Jack Hammer which is more than just a band, it is a collective of musicians that has somehow survived the strange machinery that is the South African music industry and produced some sterling original albums over the years. Since their first performance the one constant factor in the band has been the man affectionately known as “Hammer”, Piet Botha.
During 1985, Piet Botha lived in Los Angeles, working construction, and other immigrant jobs by day, and writing and recording by night.
During the 1990’s Jack Hammer opened for Deep Purple and Uriah Heep on their “Masters of Rock” tour and were also privileged to be the supporting act for ZZ Top (one of Botha’s prime influences) on their South African tour.
During 1997 Botha was asked to write and record an Afrikaans album. The result was the all-Afrikaans ‘Suitcase Vol Winter’ album, which is considered a classic by many and a superb example of the groundbreaking Alternative Afrikaans genre.
In August 2003, another Afrikaans album, ‘Die Mamba’, was released and received much critical acclaim, including being voted the best album of 2003 by the influential SA Rock Digest e-mag.
Botha was one of the first musicians inducted into the SA Rock Hall Of Fame in January 2002.
In February 2005 a “Tribute To Piet Botha” gig was held in Pretoria to celebrate the music and life of Piet Botha. This whole day event included performances by many South African artists, all paying tribute to the influence, friendship and mentorship of this humble musician.
On the 6th May 2006 Piet Botha was awarded a South African Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to South African music. He was also awarded a Prestige Award by the FAK in September 2006 for his contribution to the Afrikaans language.
In 2011 Botha appeared in the television series “Wie Lê Waar” (Who Lies Where) on the Afrikaans TV channel kykNET. In the programme he visits the graves of famous Afrikaner icons and tells about their lives. The series led indirectly to the recording and release of the very popular “Spookpsalms”, Botha’s first solo album in 8 years.
In 2012 Piet cemented his over two decades of friendship and brotherhood with the Akkedis band, by releasing a collaborative album under the name “The Lyzyrd Kyngs”. The name comes from a Jim Morrison poem, “The celebration of the Lizard King”. The weird spelling is a combination of ancient English and a serious reference to Lynyrd Skynyrd, a band that has been a source of inspiration for more than thirty years.
Piet Botha still tours and plays often. Sometimes solo or as duo, sometimes with Jack Hammer or The Lyzyrd Kyngs. He plays not only because his fans love to see him, but as John Lee Hooker sang ”it’s in him and it got to come out”.
by Brian Currin, October 2012