Saturday, 5 August 2017

Rabbitt "Boys Will Be Boys" 1975 South Africa Prog Pop Rock

Rabbitt "Boys Will Be Boys" 1975  South Africa Prog Pop Rock debut album


Rabbitt were a South African rock band formed in 1972, evolving from a band called The Conglomeration, consisting of members Trevor Rabin, Duncan Faure, Ronnie Robot, and Neil Cloud.[1] Their successes included making it to the top of the South African charts with the hit "Charlie" in 1976. Rabbitt broke up in 1978. Rabin later became a member of Yes, and Faure went on to join the Bay City Rollers........

Rabbitt covered the Jethro Tull classic 'Locomotive Breath' in 1972 and released it as a single. It was number 96 in the LM Radio Top Hits of 1972. I guess you could say it was a runaway smash!

Patric van Blerk engaged Trevor on a session to play guitar on a version of Jethro Tull's 'Locomotive Breath' he had wanted to do. The recording session had Errol Friedman playing guitar (Ronnie Robot's brother), Fransua Roos on keyboards (who did the arrangement), Lou "Moose" Forer (from Suck) on bass and Cedric Samson on drums. The single was put out under Rabbitt and took off into the charts (it made the LM top ten).
-- The History Of Contemporary Music Of South Africa (1994, Toga)
The lyrics were "cleaned-up" for the SA censors: "his woman and his best friend" were now "travelling to the sun" and "the all-time winner" had got him by..."the hands"!

When Rabbitt re-recorded this track in 1975 for the 'Boys Will Be Boys!' album, the original Jethro Tull lyrics returned; a brave move at the time! 

This is great rock album, but unfortunately the "rabbitt-mania" that followed the boys appearances on the then brand-new medium of TV, meant that serious rock music-lovers ignored the band because they "only attracted 14-year old groupies". I was sixteen and liked "14-year old groupies" so it was cool!

What a pity, though for some, to miss out on such rock classics as 'Hard Ride', 'Lifeline', 'Savage', etc.

'Charlie', was a huge radio hit, but did very little to win over the rock fans.

"As dogs go you're groovy
not as predictable as some
but you're not as paranoid as Lady Marmalade
and really much more fun"
I knew Rabbitt, and so far as I know, Charlie was Trevor's dog, but I'm not certain of this.
-- Mandy Vose, September 1999
I co-produced this track with Patric van Blerk and Charlie is not a 'dog'. He is actually Patric's close friend and partner [Charles Coetzee]. 'Lady Marmalade', lyrics from the song, is their persian cat.
-- Julian Laxton, November 1999
'Boys Will Be Boys' became a gold record (25 000 copies sold) faster than any other South African record.

Rabbitt won a Sarie award, the South African equivalent of a Grammy award, for Best Contemporary Pop Music.
Engineer Julian Laxton, producer Patric van Blerk, and Trevor himself all received Saries. Trevor's was for best arranger.

Nearly all these great tracks (and others) can be found on Rabbitt - The Hits CD released by Gallo in 1996. 

If I had heard Rabbitt's 'Boys Will Be Boys' before hearing Rabbitt's 'The Hits' the boys would have lived up to my expectations for a rockin' band. Before I bought 'The Hits' I had heard 'Charlie' and knew that they had covered 'Locomotive Breath', so after all the praise sung about Rabbit I expected some power pop of higher proof than on 'The Hits'. 

'The Hits' is a nice CD at a nice price, but the rocking content is somewhat diluted by slower, sentimental numbers. Ballads are all well and good, but if 'Boys Will Be Boys' is typical of their other albums, Rabbitt would be better served by a reissue program of LPs on CD. I expected something rockier and 'The Hits' is a tad on the glossy side. 

However, 'Boys Will Be Boys' rocks. It is not raw rock, but rather has the polished production I associate with their sound (at times reminiscent of 10cc). 'Boys Will Be Boys' should be a listener's introduction to Rabbitt, to be followed by 'The Hits'. It has creative songs and wonderful musicianship. 

Six of the ten songs from 'Boys Will Be Boys' are on 'The Hits', but their impact there is diluted by the number of wistful, pretty songs on 'The Hits'. In their original line-up, the songs on 'Boys Will Be Boys' add up to a nice rocking album with a few slower interludes that set apart the up-tempo numbers. 

The four songs on 'Boys Will Be Boys' that are not on 'The Hits' mostly git up and go. Songs like 'Something's Going Wrong with My Baby' and 'Looking for the Man' add jump to the album. Overall, 'Boys Will Be Boys' is like a 33 minute rocking live set that also has a few slow numbers thrown in for close dancing. 

Don't get me wrong, Rabbitt's 'The Hits' is essential to my South African music collection -- just as 'Boys Will Be Boys' is essential music, too. This album rules, ok?.............Kurt Shoemaker, Texas, May 2001

Who can forget the halcyon days of the mid 70's music scene? Duncan, Neil, Ronnie, Trevor. Any South African rock fan bom in the late 50's or 60's knows who they were... Rabbitt. Spawned from a band called "Conglomeration” formed by three teenagers - Trevor, Ronnie, and Neil in 1969, they recorded their first single in 1972, a cover of Jethro Tull's "Locomotive Breath” It was an instant hit and stayed on the charts for 14 weeks! The group however, disbanded for two and a half years, only reforming in 1974. 

The Producer, Patric van Blerk, approached me in '74 and we put together a deal based on the success of "Locomotive Breath”. I don't think either of us realised what we had on our hands. It was already evident from their limited live performances that the group was beginning to attract a large and faithful following - especially female!!! 

What was further evident was that Rabbitt was not just a South African clone of an overseas rock group, but was a truly original voice, with Trevor providing an ever-increasing number of original songs to the band's repertoire. 

1975 saw Rabbitt expand with the addition of the multi-talented Duncan Faure and this proved a vital factor, giving the band the extra dimension they had been looking for. Later that year after many hours of rehearsals, Rabbitt, finally went into the Studio to record their first album "Boys Will Be Boys”. 

Rabbitt With the exception of "Locomotive Breath”, there was nary a cover in sight. The album combined the best elements of hard-driving rock with a lyrical awareness that was stunning in its simplicity and broad appeal, Trevor's astounding guitar work and lead uocals, backed by the rock-solid Ronnie Robot bass and powerhouse Neil Cloud drumming, supplemented by Duncan's vocals and keyboards created a sensation. 

Rabbitt mania was just starting. The media quickly jumped on the bandwagon and before we knew it, Rabbitt had exploded. Rabbitt hysteria was rife wherever the band played and "Boys Will Be Boys” soon went gold - unprecedented for a South African rock band. 

By 1976 there was huge overseas interest and the album was released in the United States, Japan, Germany, France and UK and many other territories. There was constant talk of an American and European tour and negotiations were well under way with Don Arden, then ELO's Manager, and one of the most successful around. 

At this time, the Group went into the newly built SATBEL Studio to record their second album "A Croak And A Grunt In The Night”. 

A major tour of Southern Africa followed, culminating in a series of sold out concerts at the late lamented Coloseum in Johannesburg. 

Rabbitt The release of "Croak And A Grunt” was a major media event and the album went Gold on release - a first for the South African record industry. Sadly, outside forces were starting to exert enormous pressures on the group and cracks were beginning to appear. The often announced UK & US tours never materialised - political pressures were already starting and the various musicians unions and political groups nixed the whole tour scenario. 

After the highs of the South African tour and the unprecedented success of both albums, Rabbitt were left wilh no foreseeable further goals - only the foreign disappointments. The impetus was gone and with more and more outsiders trying to grab a piece of the action, the pressure finally told and although the group staggered on until early 77, it finally disintegrated and the members went their own ways. 

What made Rabbitt so special? First and foremost, they all had incredible talent. Following the band's demise, Neil went on a world tour with pop superstar Peter Frampton. Trevor went on to greater heights both with his burgeoning solo career and as a superstar member of supergroup "Yes”. Duncan joined the internationally famous "Bay City Rollers” and has subsequently pursued a career as a songwriter; his latest success being a song on the "Madonna” album. Ronnie has made a successful career producing many hit selling South African artists. 

Apart from the talent, another factor was of course the one thing all the media loves - sex appeal - and this the band had by the ton - proven by all the fan mail and concert hysteria. The third factor was the Rabbitt team - the band, the producer and the record company. The combination was unstoppable. 

Since 1977 there have been repeated calls to re-release Rabbitt. Time has not dulled the quality of either the songs or the playing and the group's originality stands out like a beacon. The advent and acceptance of the compact disc format coupled with its outstanding quality seemed to suit the material and style and now seems the right time. 

Rabbitt Ronnie Robot sat down and compiled what I believe is the "Best of Rabbitt” and if your favourite is not here - blame him. Ronnie and Peter Thwaites (who engineered ”Croak And A Grunt”) then remastered the original tapes and enhanced them for CD. 

Listen, wallow in nostalgia and marvel at the phenomenon that was Rabbitt. by...ROBIN TAYLOR - 1991 .......

This is one classic album. This is one from my younger days and it has taken so long to be relased in the UK.the best tracks are Savage great guitar and base,lifeline one of my all time favorites when i feel a little low.Hard ride the guitar and keyboards.Charlie reminds me of the good old days in JoBurg. 
Trevor,Duncan,Neil & Ronnie Robot,still Rock.RABBITT STILL RULE OK!!....By Mr Peter R Chapman....

I can't beleive after all this time this excellent album has come out on CD....crystal clear, rockin', and joyful. The young Trevor Rabin (before he joined YES) was a masterful song writer and guitarist and proves it on every track of this timeless CD. They were huge (out selling the Beatles) but America never knew this wonderful CD and group, and what a shame that is. The original lineup released only 2 albums (this one plus the excellent hard rockin' "A Croak and a Grunt in the Night"). Of course, Trevor went on to join YES and helped them record the two biggest albums of their career (90125 and Big Generator). Duncan became the lead singer for the Rollers after Les McKeown left and recorded the last and hardest rockin albums of the Rollers career (Elevator, Ricochet, and Voxx). Take a chance, buy the CD, and enjoy one of the best pop/rock albums of the 1970's.....By onegoldenbear.


They were South Africa's Beatles. Four boys from South Africa who happened to sell more records in their own country during the group's heyday than the Beatles themselves - unprecedented.

Rabbitt was formed back in 1968 under the name Conglomeration. The band consisted at the time of members Allen Rosenberg (guitar), Neil Cloud (drums), Ronnie Friedman (Robot) on bass and Trevor Rabin (guitar, vocals). This lineup; however, did not last long as Allen readily left the group shortly after, leaving the group as a trio. The remaining members went on to win the prestigious "South Africa's Battle of the Bands" . Trevor had recorded along with Ronnie's older brother, Errol (guitar) the Jethro Tull's song "Locomotive Breath" under the group name of Rabbitt. The song took off on the charts and remained there for 14 weeks. But the group broke up and Trevor joined the group, Freedom's Children, along with Ronnie Robot where they recorded the single "State of Fear". After the split, Trevor for a while played piano in a Greek restaurant.

Late 1973?, the lineup for Rabbitt consisted of Selwyn Schneider (first on drums, now on second guitar), Neil Cloud (drums), Ronnie Robot (bass), and Trevor Rabin (guitar, vocals). This lineup only lasted for a very short time as Selwyn decided to leave and formed his own band, Nexus.

The group started playing clubs around South Africa and finally settled on the Take It Easy club for the purpose of being able to play their own material. Soon word got out about the hot new band and lines started to stretch out from the club to down the block as their popularity grew. It was the beginning of Rabbittmania.

By the Spring of 1975, Duncan Faure (whose show was attended by Rabin, Robot and producer Patric Van Blerk) was asked to join the band as keyboardist. The group recorded their first LP "Boys Will be Boys" in 1975. All of the material except "Locomotive Breath" was original. The album earned them a gold record and a Sarie award for "Best Contemporary Music". Trevor and Patric Van Blerk also won Saries - the former for the arrangements on the album and the latter for the producing.

Word soon got out to the rest of the world about Rabbitt. There were talks about an overseas tour, however; that soon fell through due to political pressures outside the country. In 1976, Rabbitt released their second album, "A Croak & A Grunt in the Night" which went gold upon release. The group did a major tour of South Africa with sell-out concerts wherever they played. However, the members were beginning to feel the pressures of instant fame. Wherever they went, they were mobbed by adoring fans. They often made front page news and the people close to them began to try to gain control of the band. By 1977, disappointed that his chances for the group to grow outside South Africa were being diminished and with the various pressures mounting in the group, Trevor left the band leaving it as a trio. The remaining members recorded and released the group's last album, "Rock Rabbitt" (of which all the songs were written by Faure and of which earned them a gold record) but they soon disbanded while still being popular in their country.

Today the members of Rabbitt are scattered. Trevor went on to a solo/Yes/solo career. Duncan joined the Rollers and numerous other bands before going solo once again. Selwyn produces and records his own music. Allen Rosenberg was last traced to the group Peach under the alias Alan Rose. Lou Forer (session lineup of Rabbitt) joined the group Suck. Neil Cloud left the music business altogether after a brief solo stint and a 6 month tour with Peter Frampton and became a manager at his family's office furniture company. And Ronnie Robot became a producer, publisher, and business H. Cutler..


Trevor Rabin: Vocals, guitars, keyboards, producer, arranger 
Neil Cloud: Drums, percussion 
Duncan Faure: Keyboards, lead vocals on 'Hard Ride' 
Ronnie Robot: Bass 

Patric van Blerk: Producer 
Julian Laxton: Producer, engineer 
Strings by Pro Arte, led by Bram Verhoef 
Solo violin on 'Hard Ride' by Godfrey Rabin (Trevor's father)

A1 Something's Going Wrong With My Baby 4:45 
A2 Savage 4:43 
A3 Lifeline 6:00 
A4 Locomotive Breath 3:35 
B1 Hard Ride 
Lead Vocals – Duncan Faure 
B2 Baby's Leaving 2:20 
B3 Eventides 2:34 
B4 Looking For The Man 4:00 
B5 Death Of Tulio 0:22 
B6 Charlie 2:35 


Boys Will Be Boys! (1975) JoBurg Records, TJL13008
A Croak And A Grunt In The Night (1977) JoBurg Records, TJL13014
Rock Rabbitt without Trevor (1978) JoBurg Records, TJC(X)13025
Revival - Greatest Hits (compilation, 1987) PVB Music, PVBR1007A
The Collection (1992) ON records, RABCD1
The Hits (1996) Gallo, CDRED 602 

Singles and EPs:

Locomotive Breath [3.00] (Ian Anderson, prod. Patric van Blerk, arr. Fransua Roos)/
And The Planets Danced (1972) MAP, MP.513 Springbok #18 in January 1973

Backdoor Of My Heart/
Share The Loving Things (1973) JoBurg Records

Hallelujah Sunrise/
Hidden Feelings (1973) JoBurg Records

Yesterday's Papers/
B-side unknown (1974) JoBurg Records

Looking For The Man (1975) JoBurg Records, TJS35 Springbok #14 in June 1976

Hard Ride/
Baby's Leaving (1976) JoBurg Records, TJS46

Hold On To Love/
Working For The People (1976) JoBurg Records, TJS49

Sugar Pie/
Dingley's Bookshop (1976) JoBurg Records, TJS51

Charlie (1977) Victor, VIP-2526 (Japan)

Everybody's Cheating/
Gift Of Love (1977) Victor, VIP-2561 (Japan)

Hold On To Love/
Working For The People (1977) Capricorn, CPS 0281 (USA)

Rock 'n' Roll, Volume 2 (4-track EP, 1977) Capricorn, 2206 201 (Brazil)
tracks: Something's Going Wrong With My Baby, Lifeline, Locomotive Breath, Eventides

Morning Light/
Auld Lang Syne Rock (1977) JoBurg Records, TJS57 Springbok #15 in September 1977

Morning Light (4-track EP, 1977) JoBurg Records, TJS57
tracks: Morning Light, A Love You Song, Brand New Love, When You're Without Her

Gettin' Thru To You (Teenage Love)/
Hello And Welcome Home (1977) JoBurg Records, TJS64
Springbok #15 in December 1977

1972-1978 Limited Souvenir Edition (4-track EP, 1978) JoBurg Records, TJM73
tracks: Rock 'n' Roll Parts One & Two, I Was Eleven, Locomotive Breath, Goodbye And So-Long

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“A Revolutionary New Triumph in Tape” 1958

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