Coming along nicely
Taxi Violence: Long Way from Home (Unplugged)
There have been a few snide remarks about the wisdom of doing an unplugged ‘best of” album when you have only two CDs under your belt. But listen to this album and you will understand its title. Taxi Violence have taken their early material and given us a masterclass in how a band can grow, learn and become best of breed.
These versions of old Taxi favourites such as Untie Yourself and Unholy are light years from when they started out. But at the same time they exist synchronously in a parallel universe distinguished only by a rich patina of rock ‘n roll righteousness and a maturity of expression that comes only with endless hours of performance.
There are three new tracks, all tinged with the biblical bathos that characterises many Taxi Violence songs.
Regular readers of my reviews will know that I cherish, above all, songs that are quintessentially South African but—and this is important—only to a South African. Blue Song is one of those—innocuous lyrics sung with absolute conviction by George van der Spuy, who finally owns his voice. ‘Must be a rainy season this time of year/ Must be the fall of raindrops/ Must be the smell of fear/ when will it smile on me from sunlit skies?”
With guest appearances by among others that inestimable treasure, Lonesome Dave Ferguson on harmonica, this is a classic album of nuance and passion. I watched Taxi play an unplugged set in the bush of Oppikoppi a few years ago. Then their rawness seduced. Now their polish delivers.