There is an easy argument to make for the Blues
Broers (pronounced "brews") taking the blues right back home, being
that Africa is the original starting point for the musical spirit that
eventually became the blues, courtesy of the slave trade. In some respects,
however, the best argument for the Blues Broers is that they came together
out of a perverse drive to fly in the face of the South African music
industry and succeed with the kind of music that SA music executives were
determined no one really wanted (an attitude parodied in the hidden track
"The Ballad of Barry Dale," from their fourth album, Been Around).
The band was formed by members of three other bands -- the Flaming
Firestones, All Night Radio and Black Frost -- early in 1990, with the
Breakfast Brothers horn section being added in 1996 for the recording of
their fourth album. The band started playing a heavy gig schedule,
criss-crossing South Africa, building a great audience without managing to
impress any of South Africa's record companies. The band refused to be
stopped by this, however, recording their first album, Shake Like That, in
1990 for a 1991 release on cassette on the band's own Guava Records label.
The album, featuring nine original numbers by former band member Johnny
Frick, sold out quickly. A second cassette release, Damn Fine Mojo, was
recorded in mid-1994 under the supervision of the band's constant producer
Willem Moller. The album, released in October of 1994, featured 16-year-old
guitar prodigy Albert Frost.
The third album, Sharp Street, followed another wave of personnel changes.
Released on CD in June of 1995 to general acclaim, the album included more
original material and a range of styles that included everything from
ragtime to Chicago blues. The band was beginning to attract worldwide
attention by this point, including an extensive mention in the Los Angeles
Times, whose reporter was very taken with the visual image of the group.
1996's Been Around extended the band's reputation even further, with
fourteen original cuts that took in everything from the band's skiffle set
to a tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan.
The late 1996 release of the CD was followed by numerous festival
appearances, as well as the usual round of extensive gigging. ~Bio by Steven