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Hawk African Day album cover
3.12 | 12 ratings | 2 reviews | 8% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

Hawk - African Day

Original album cover

2001 CD release


African Day (Hawk) [17.20]
Happy Man (R Johnson) [2.50]
Look Up Brother (D Ornellas) [3.03]
Love Song (K Hutchinson) [3.23]
Kissed By The Sun (D Ornellas/S Kahn) [3.28]
Here Comes The Sun (George Harrison) [4.27]

Bonus tracks on CD re-issue (previously unreleased live recordings from June 1971):

African Rondo (Hawk) [2.06]
The Hunt (D Ornellas/S Kahn) [2.16]
Look Up Brother (D Ornellas) [3.44]
Kissed By The Sun (D Ornellas/S Kahn) [3.43]
Bonus tracks are listed in the wrong order on the CD back cover.

Line-up / Musicians

Dave Ornellas / Vocals, guitar, percussion
Mark Spook Kahn / Guitar
Braam Malherbe / Drums
Richard Johnson / Bass
Keith Hutchinson / Sax, flute, piano
Dave (session musician): Percussion

Releases information

LP: 1971, EMI Parlophone, PCSJ (D) 12080
CD: 2nd April 2001, RetroFresh, freshcd 108

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to ClemofNazareth for the last updates
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HAWK African Day ratings distribution

(12 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (58%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

HAWK African Day reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

The Jo'burgh quintet's debut album was recorded with a few months' practice of their star track, Africa Day, an album that came out in 71, when many things were indeed possible, including five white South Africans playing much of their music learnt from Black Africa. Comuing with a stunning sunset group shot the album came with all lyrics, some mandatory for radio airplay in RSA.

The album start with their 17-mins epic cover all of side 1 (let me dream I own the vinyl for a few minutes), which has us jumping into all kinds of moods (even one closely inspired by Black Widow's Come to the Sabbath), but often retaining a black African heritage (mostly in vocals and acoustic guitar playing) and a short recited intro (Procol's In Twas Held in I), and even a free-jazz passage but on the whole, Hawk comes with their own personality. If it sounds African, it's nothing like Osibisa, Assagai or Demon Fuzz, but at the same time it is a bit all of those too...

The album's flipside contains a series of shorter tracks starting with the Zulu-like rhythm crossed with some late-60's psych song called Happy Man. Much more personal is the acoustic Look Up Brother, being their best song on the flipside. Love Song manages to sound like early Jethro Tull, while Harrison-penned Here Comes the Sun is not the best I could've imagined. a bit of a miss here, but the previous Kissed By the Sun is another brilliant African guitar and impressive percussion track made up for it

The four bonus live tracks are not bringing much added value; even two of them are not on the album. Both African rondo and The Hunt are typical guitar track from the continent, where Hawk is best at their games. While not really extraordinary prog album, this is, it one to classify in the African scene, along with Osibisa's first two albums.

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars When it comes to South African music its kind of hard to define what is progressive and what isn’t, particularly for people who aren’t familiar with the culture. Of course it doesn’t help that the country went through nearly half a century of virtual isolation on the international stage due to their apartheid policies, and honestly my only other musical point of reference from that period is Freedom’s Children, a group whose music was just as difficult to classify. Guitarist Julian Laxton, who would join the band for their second and final album, came from Freedom’s Children, and there are some notable similarities between the bands, although Hawk was considerably less heavy and employed a wider range of native percussion, provided mostly by a session musician identified only as ‘Dave’.

Vocalist/guitarist Dave Ornellas is one of the blackest-sounding white guys I’ve ever heard, and the vocals harmonies throughout the album will leave you double-checking the album artwork and liner notes just to confirm these are actually five white guys. The percussion is outstanding, featuring copious helpings of native hard drums and other acoustic percussion. This helps to make up for production that is less than stellar, with the mixing of the album in particular coming across as haphazard at times. The vocals tend to be unevenly amplified, and at times the saxophone and especially the flute get buried in the mix.

Other than a pretty decent rendition (except again for the poor engineering) of George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun” these are all original compositions, with only drummer Braam Malherbe receiving no specific credits for either arrangements or lyrics.

The album’s high point is clearly the opening epic title track, a seventeen minute-plus wandering tune that shifts between blasts of guitar, acoustic percussion breaks, wispy flute work, multi-part harmonies, and occasional spoken-word passages. There is also more than a few points where the band appears to resort to improvisational jamming not unlike some of the tamer examples of Caribbean reggae.

Otherwise the songs are brief, decent but un-ambitious, and quite steeped in vocal harmonies and percussive syncopation. There’s nothing to really make the music exceptional in any way, other than the fact it provides one of the few available examples of modern popular music from a country that never managed to export much of that during this period. I can’t say this is really a must-have piece, but it has some interest value to students of modern folk and ‘world’ music. Three stars is the best I can give this album in all fairness, although if your progressive music tastes lean away from lots of acoustic percussion and layered folk vocals that might be too high. Only mildly recommended.


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