Friday 15 August 2003

Collection - Ticket
Rarer than hen’s teeth – a ticket to the Collection Reunion!

We rolled in.  From near and far.  Venue – Kloof Cricket Club.  Confusing place this.  Especially after dark.  Ah, but there’s a light…  Small pavillion, lots of people.  Who should we recognise – it’s been many a year?  Isn’t that so-and-so?  I’m sure I know that person.  Ag, no matter – it’ll all come together during the course of the evening.  At least the beer’s cold, the braai’s burning strongly and we’re all here for the same thing – an informal, “evening before” get-together with the Collection.  Or at least whichever of them is around.  Good thing we got here early – no musicians evident at this stage.  The vibe is strong and positive.  Soon we’re all chatting to everyone else whether we think we know them or not.  Pretty soon it becomes evident that we all know a surprising number of folk who are present, even if the years prevent us from  “knowing” them at first sight.  This is unreal – never saw so many okes from Bulawayo together in one place when I lived there, never mind 35 years later!  And then they start arriving – hey, isn’t that Jock Cameron?  Sure is.  And there…that’s Colin Payne.  And who’s this young oke with the long hair – he looks like he was born this century!  What’s his name again?  Simon Lolliot – Colin’s young Godson…going to be blowing the horn for us tomorrow night.  Good stuff.  Nice to see the youth mingling with yesterday’s heroes.  The band members are all friendly and accommodating.  Yes, we would like to meet your lead guitarist for the occasion – Jimmy Brandt.  They say he’s really good.  Looking forward to seeing him tomorrow.  Still lives in Bulawayo?  Really?  Jock and Rudi, too?  Hats off to them!  Pretty soon the place is awash with bonhomie.  Hey, man, this is lekker.  So pleased we made the effort to get here.

Collection - Full lineupv1 Good (PK)
THE COLLECTION (and some friends) – 2003. Left to Right: Rudi Gouma (keys), Jock Cameron (bass – obscured), Simon Lolliot (sax), Bernie Allen-Brown (sax), Colin Payne (lead vocals), Martin Patrick (vocals), Jack Thain (guitar), Adrian King (guitar) and Jimmy Brandt (lead guitar).


Saturday 16 August 2003

Get to the hall early but the folk are fairly streaming in.  Organisers say they’ve done away with the whole ticket thing, such has been the overwhelming nature of the response.  If you folks can’t squeeze up to a table please find yourselves seats upstairs in the circle.  This is truly amazing – Collection followers from all over the place.  And we continue to recognise people, to renew friendships and persist with our guessing games about who we should, and might, know.  Pretty soon the barmen have broken into a sweat and the waitresses are floundering under the pressure of demand.  But nobody’s getting angry or frustrated or exasperated – we’re all just having such a jol.  Hey, look, there’s Ian McIntosh.  Nah, won’t be too keen to talk to him seeing as how the Sharks stuffed up Province this afternoon.  Good game, though.  May as well be magnanimous seeing as how we’re in Shark country.  Whatever happened to the Banana Boys?  Oh, ja, and Terry Bowes is also here.  Man, wasn’t “Sparrow” just a helluva flyhalf way back then when First Team rugby games vied with the Collection at Casa Alba for our attention.  Have you checked out the menu at the food hatch?  Bulawayo Boerewors rolls, Bamba Zonki Beef Rolls, Fritz Takeaway Frankfurters and Cash Bar.  Cash Bar – what kind of nosh is that?  Oh sorry, that’s the booze.  And then, at some stage, former Chantelles’ member and erstwhile schoolmaster, Rick Rickards, takes to the stage to welcome us all and announce the opening act – folk songstress, Fiona Tozer.  Haven’t seen her perform but this girl’s good.   Pity more of the crowd aren’t interested in watching but the traffic chasing down Memory Lane is way too heavy for sideshows.  Then Rick’s back to announce some bad news –   lead guitarist, Jimmy Brandt, has had his car stolen in downtown Durban.  Jeez, what a blow.  All the way from Bulawayo in his Ford Bantam just to have it stolen in Durbs.  He could have stayed in Bulawayo and had it stolen there – much more convenient.   Oh well, shit happens.  Hope his axe wasn’t in the back of the car when it “went West”.  Let’s have a collection (if you’ll excuse the pun!) to help him buy a new car.  Good idea.  Someone suggests we go steal another car and give it to him – maybe we can even steal his own car back for him!  More good ideas.  But, first, let’s see if we can’t raise enough to just buy him a  new car.  If we have to get into stealing him another car let’s do it after the gig.  Is he fussy about the colour and vintage?  Don’t Collection - Fiona Tozerknow – he ain’t here yet.  Poor oke’s probably still walking from Durbs…if he left at eight he could be close to Pinetown.  What’s that?  Oh, someone’s gone to collect him.  Good call.  There was some consolation in the fact, though, that we got to hear more of Fiona’s folkie sounds.  She’s doing really well – and knows loads of songs.  Would like to see more of her sometime.  Time passes unconsciously.  And then the whole band are here.  Rick Rickards is back on stage for more announcements.   The Collection – and friends – are on stage, all lined up in front  of us.  To the left Rudi Gouma on keyboards, tall, grey and authorative, tucked away behind him in the stance he has consistently adopted through the years is Jock Cameron on bass – he hardly looks a day older than he did in ’69, alongside stands young Simon Lolliot with sax hanging from his neck in sharp contrast to the white-haired and pony-tailed Bernie Allen-Brown, also with a sax resting on his chest.  One as young as the other is vintage.  The two of them standing shoulder-to-shoulder is, perhaps, symbolic of the evening’s spirit and  benevolent testimony to the widespread appeal this unique band has always held for us.  To Bernie’s left, charismatic but unassuming, lead vocalist, Colin Payne, stands out strongly in his bright orange ‘T’ shirt.   His calm demeanour belies the nervousness he claimed to be experiencing the previous night in anticipation of the gig.  Looks pretty relaxed now, clutching the mike on its stand with his right hand.  To Colin’s left three of the most modest senior members of the Rhodie pop and  rockCollection - RudiJockSimon (PK) brigade – ex-Tall Boys member, Martin Patrick, who has travelled from Oz for the occasion, Jack Thain (formerly of the Silhouettes) and the bald and bespectacled Adrian King (also ex-Tall Boys) who, like Martin had travelled from afar, in his case from England.  For so many years Adrian and Jock were the driving forces behind the Collection during its heyday.  And then, out on the right flank, the man who had “lost” his car but was still managing to sport the widest smile in Kloof – lead axeman, Jimmy Brandt.  At the back, on drums, local musician Malie Sewell standing in for the only original band member who could not be present, Ronnie “Bungi” Robshaw.   And then the Collection, circa 2003, kicked off their first set with one right out of their Casa Alba days’ songbook – Dylan’s “My Back Pages”.  The strength and tone of Colin’s voice is immediately apparent.  He looks totally relaxed, confident and enjoying himself.  The tightness of the band surprises considering they’d had something just short of a week to practice. By the time they got into their second number, the Four Tops’ “Walk Away Renee”, the crowd had filled the dance floor.  This was “feelgood” at its most very best. With minimum interruptions they work their way through the monumental 20-songed first set.  The band cleverly Collection - MartinGaryAdrianJimmy (PK)mix the vocals up, Jack Thain taking lead vocals on “Cathy’s Clown”, Rudi doing duty on “Great Heart” and Bernie Allen-Brown taking care of the Bee Gees’ “Words”.  Not only was their playing tight and disciplined but the vocal harmonies were outstanding, well arranged and professionally delivered.  So many of the old favourites were in this set, from Los Bravos’ “Black Is Black”, the Fortunes’ “You’ve Got Your Troubles” to the Hollies’ “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”.   “Mustang Sally” gave the horns a chance to strut their stuff and “Everybody’s Talking” gave Adrian King his turn on lead vocals.  “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” gave way to the song that had brought the band so many accolades at the peak of their career – the Hollies’ “Bus Stop”.  If there has ever been a band who is capable of making covers their own, it must be the Collection.  Their rendition of “Bus Stop” illustrated their tremendous talents and would, surely, convince any doubters that the Collection, even today, excelled at what they did.  The final song of this set is one many of us remembered them doing at the Trade Fair amphitheatre during a Texan Rock Band Contest so many years ago – “Ob La Di, Ob La Da”.  Throughout the set Colin communicated and interacted with his audience,  smiling, pointing and waving at nobody in particular and everyone in general.    All the skills of a seasoned professional.  Then it was time for a break.  The numbers on the dancefloor had just never flagged and the friendly vibe just seemed to be growing – where would it all end?  After a few more ales and lots more milling around and chatting the band were up on stage again.  What more could we expect and could it get much better?  Both questions were quickly answered as the second set opened with Jimmy Brandt taking control in a strong rendition of Santana’s “Europa”.  Jimmy’s no apprentice and his silky skills, precise playing and confidence reflected the many years he had spent with bands such as “The Collection - PeteBonesMilner (PK)Purple Zincstones”, “The Hobos” and “Society”.  Nice one, Jimmy.  Say, how’s that collection going for your new car?  If it keeps going like this you’ll be going home in a Ferrari!!   “Europa” gave way to everyone’s favourite – Creedence Clearwater Revival.  Colin was in control again acting as the accomplished central pivot and kingpin.  After three songs we were due for another treat when former Short Circuit Guavas lead vocalist, Pete “Bones” Milner, took to the stage to displace the obliging Mister Payne.   Assertive and confident “Bones” immediately tore into the Stones’ “Satisfaction”.  No messing about here.  The man was into his full stride.  As with his contemporaries, “Bones” clearly was a man who’d “been there, done that”.  Not a trace of stagefright or nerves.  Just an old pro back on his turf.  By way of total contrast “Bones” second song was another performance of the Bee Gees’ “Words”, perfectly delivered with the vibrato voice succintly captured.  “Bones” final effort was to share the vocals with Colin in a version of Wilson Pickett’s “In The Midnight Hour”.  This, again, was a very good piece of variation and they complemented each other extremely well.  Then “Bones” was off – as quickly and efficiently as he had been “on”.  Just to slow the pace down Martin Patrick sang a delicately delivered version of “Time And The River”. Out front the energetic, heaving, swinging and twisting crowd were relieved and grateful for the breather as the high energy levels gave way to some close-up, slow, shuffling.  Just like the old days.  When that chick in your arms was your “cherrie” and not your “missus”!  Give the “goose” a bit of a squeeze for old times sake!  “River” gave way to another Stones’ classic, “Under The Boardwalk”, dedicated by Colin to Jack McGroaty and Paddy Powell, both former Collection - Bernie & Colin (PK)colleagues of the late 60’s era.  Ever self-effacing and generous Colin then paid Rudi Gouma the ultimate compliment in praising him as the “best vocalist” he had ever had the pleasure of performing with.  To prove the point Rudi broke into “Stand By Me” and, yes, proved the point.  His voice is strong, clear, melodic and well versed in delivering a professional performance.  Eat your heart out, Billy Swan.  Rudi was followed, once again, by the retiring and deceptively competent, Jack Thain, who impressed with his handling of the Eagles’ “Tequila Sunrise”.  And so it continued with a host more of memorable hits being impressively performed, including “I’m A Believer”, “Love Minus Zero”, “Let It Be Me” and “Get Back”.  There was, of course, the odd surprise delivered, too, one of them being a cover of the Bats’-penned 1971 hit, “Herdboy”.  Again the Collection had drawn on their wealth of knowledge and experience at the top flight.  The use of flute and recorder on this number was a wonderful musical interlude.   Two songs later the band had delivered yet another mega-set, a brace of songs longer than the extensive opening set ending, fittingly, with a repeat of “Ob La Di, Ob La Collection Reunion - The front lineDa”..  Problem was, though, nobody wanted the occasion to end.  We were all just having such a great time.  C’mon guys, let’s just keep it going.  Have another beer or two.  Age?  Nah, that’s just in the mind and, right now, we don’t mind!  It was one o’clock in the morning.  Night’s still a puppy.  And then they played on.  And guess what it was?  Yep, Harum’s “A Whiter Shade Of Pale”.  How much longer would our desire for more be entertained?  Not for long, folks.  In fact, not for more than one more song – “Mustang Sally”.  We all knew this was it for the night and Bernie’s loud pronouncement of “Right you lot, now PISS OFF!”, confirmed our suspicions!   Not serious – there’s always today’s lunchtime (free) scene to capitalise on for those who hadn’t had enough.  Were there any that hadn’t?

Sunday 17 August 2003

Predictably many of us knew when we were onto a good thing and there’s no way we weren’t going to drag this “good thing” out for as long as possible!  As so it was back to the Kloof Cricket Club where the Collection were staging a free lunchtime performance on the verandah of the pavillion.  Collection Reunion - Sunday @ KCCThis morning erstwhile drummer, Malie Sewell, had given way to another veteran of the Rhodie music scene, Ian Webster.  Ian was immediately at home and look the total picture of comfort.  Today was far more relaxed and everybody was “chilled”.  What a perfect way to end a perfect weekend.  The guys ran through their sets, pretty much as they had done the night before.  The “good vibes” continued and, eventually, at about four o’clock the music “did die” and it was left to the bar flies to stretch the day into the night – which they did with aplomb!  And then it was all over.  All that we are left to say is a mighty, mighty, Thanks to those wonderful folk who made this occasion possible – Moira and Sue for all their effort and good, unruffled, humour and cheerful spirit.  Bernie and Alison for making their home available for rehearsals and the guys who provided the sound system and instruments.  We cannot Thank You all enough.Collection Reunion - Ian Webster


* Lead vocals by Colin Payne unless indicated otherwise.

Set ‘A’

  1. My Back Pages
    2.    Walk Away Renee
    3.    Mustang Sally
    4.    Black Is Black
    5.    Cathy’s Clown (Lead vocals – Jack Thain)
    6.    Great Heart (Lead vocals – Rudi Gouma)
    7.    To Love Somebody
    8.    You’ve Got Your Troubles
    9.    Words (Lead vocals – Bernie Allen-Brown)
    10.    If I Were A Carpenter
    11.    Walking On Sunshine (Lead vocals – Jack Thain)
    12.    Blues (Title TBC) (Lead vocals – Jack Thain)
    13.    He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother
    14.    Jambalaya
    15.    Positively 4th Street
    16.    Everybody’s Talkin’ (Lead vocals – Adrian King)
    17.    Jumpin’ Jack Flash
    18.    Bus Stop
    19.    Proud Mary
    20.    Ob La Di, Ob La Da

Set ‘B’

  1. Europa
    2.    Who’ll Stop The Rain?
    3.    I Feel Good
    4.    Satisfaction (Lead vocals – Pete “Bones” Milner)
    5.    Words (Lead vocals – Pete “Bones” Milner)
    6.    In The Midnight Hour (Lead vocals shared – Colin & “Bones”)
    7.    Time & The River (Lead vocals – Martin Patrick)
    8.    Under The Boardwalk
    9.    Stand By Me (Lead vocals – Rudi Gouma)
    10.    Tequila Sunrise (Lead vocals – Jack Thain)
    11.    On Broadway (Lead vocals – Martin Patrick)
    12.    805
    13.    I’m A Believer (Lead vocals – Bernie Alen-Brown)
    14.    Evil Ways
    15.    Love Minus Zero
    16.    Son of Hickory Holler’s Tramp
    17.    Let It Be Me
    18.    Bye Bye Love
    19.    Get Back
    20.    Herdboy
    21.    Let’s Twist Again
    22.    Ob La Di, Ob La Da   


  1. Whiter Shade Of Pale
    24.    Mustang Sally

*  Photographs by Webmaster (& spouse) and Pete “Peeee” Krog