Friday, September 17, 2010

Rabbitt - Rock Rabbitt (1978)

South Africa's Rabbitt formed in the city of Pretoria out of the ashes of local favorites The Conglomeration. The Conglomeration (1968-1971) consisted of Trevor Rabin, Neil Cloud, Ronnie Friedman and Allan Rosenberg and were local favorites, winning a Battle of the Bands competition in 1971. Despite squeaking out a single, "Locomotive Breath" in 1972, the band (now calling themselves Rabbitt) effectively split when Cloud joined the South African Army. Two years later, upon Cloud's discharge, Rabin, Cloud and Friedman regrouped adding Duncan Faure to the lineup.

The band landed a record deal with SA label Jo'Burg Records, as well as international licensing through Capricorn Records (US). By late 1975, the band had recorded their debut "Boys Will Be Boys", which became a huge success in their homeland. The band literally exploded onto the scene and by the time their sophomore album "A Croak And A Grunt In The Night" was issued in 1977, Rabbitt were mega-stars. Soon word spread and North American/European promoters were clamoring at the prospect of bringing the band to a whole new level. Unfortunately, the political upheaval occurring in their homeland brought the band's global aspirations to a halt, prompting Rabin to depart. The band soldiered on as a trio, releasing one last album "Rock Rabbitt" in 1978 before splitting later that year.

Rabin later worked as a solo artist, as well as becoming a key member of Yes. Since 1994, he has worked almost exclusively scoring films. Faure would later join the Bay City Rollers (aka The Rollers) before settling in Los Angeles with bands Karu, The Joybuzzers, Blue Bottles and as a solo performer. Friedman has enjoyed moderate success working in production and Cloud toured with Peter Frampton breifly before retiring from the business. He now manages an office furniture company in South Africa.

"Rock Rabbitt" is easily the most difficult to find of the band's three albums & it is also the only album penned exclusively by Faure. With prominent keyboards & glossy production, the album is somewhat of a stylistic departure from the band's eclectic earlier material. There's a lot of Lennon influences throughout as well as some slight touches of early new wave in places. This would be something Faure would bring with him during his tenure with The Rollers. In fact, "Hello And Welcome Home" (as well as b-side "I Was Eleven" released around this time) would be recut in a rearranged form by The Rollers in 1979.

Though I think this is a fine effort by Rabbitt, there is a fragmented feel in most of the tracks here which I think lack Rabin's knack for clever arranging. In any case, here's a long lost relic from South Africa that I think any Rabbitt, Trevor Rabin or BCR fans will find interesting at the very least. Dig in and enjoy this time capsule from 1978!

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great to see you back and thanks a lot for this album.
Track 2 is incomplete though.

POPPHIL said...

Thanks A LOT.
A pity track 2 is incomplete, though.
Could you please repost this super rare Rabbitt record?
POPPHIL

Capt. Willard said...

Hi J,

Excuse the comment clutter...
Wanted to let you know that we were zapped by The Man, but were back with a new home. If you could update/include us in your links, it would be greatly appreciated.

NEVER GET OUT OF THE BOAT (REDUX)
http://nevergetoutoftheboat-redux.blogspot.com/

All the best,
W

Phil said...

Cool - been looking for this for a while! Any chance of re-upping track 2 ? Also, would love to hear their version of "I Was Eleven" (b-side you mentioned in write up) if you have it.

BTW, Duncan Faure just released "Anthology", a 2 CD set which contains material from over the years. Available at Amazon.

Thanks!!

sam meister said...

coud you please, please, please, please, re upload MR. MUSO/TRACK 2 it only plays half of it and then it cuts off, please upload the full song, i've been looking for rock rabbitt for almost a year, it is very, very, very, disappointing to have one of the tracks incomplete

John Sposato said...

I was wondering if you found this yet. Even in South Africa, this is rare. The absence of Rabin could be why. He was the one who was conscripted in early days.

John Sposato said...

Turns out both were drafted.
This album ain't half bad. They hold their own without Rabin.
Maybe you could find Rabbitts 1972-74 and final singles. Now theres a challenge!

Vaughn said...

Wow, thank you so much for this. My older sisters played the hell out of this record when I was a kid and I have looked everywhere for it. The only vinyl copy I have ever seen online was going for £100's of pounds. Brilliant.

Anonymous said...

I have a copy of this album. I still believe that they were a very talented outfit and had the political situation not prevented them from doing an American tour, they would have been huge.

John Sposato said...

http://sdrv.ms/1eESy58
If I ever get a real copy of this LP I'll rip Mr Muso. It would cost hundreds of rand (South African currency) I'm quite rare!
The sound quality is quite good for a needle drop. The stereo is mixed better than some better known artists' official releases!