NATIONAL WAKE – Walk In Africa 1979-81

Album: Walk In Africa 1979-81

Artist: National Wake

Label: Light In The Attic

Release Date: October 08, 2013

National Wake 10-8

www.lightintheattic.net

 BY FRED MILLS

 Once again, the astute archivists at Light In The Attic pluck another artist from undeserved obscurity—although sadly, unlike some of the label’s projects (Rodriguez comes to mind), the likelihood of a physical revival are slim as two of the musicians have passed away. National Wake formed in the aftermath of the Soweto Uprising of 1976, South African students additionally inspired by the international punk movement, and a bi-racial combo to boot, which in the apartheid era wasn’t exactly given the blessings of the government. Indeed, the members of National Wake, as part of a Johannesburg commune, regularly attracted the scrutiny of the police, oftentimes even having their concerts cancelled. This only served to galvanize them further and provide songwriting fodder.

 As a result they penned meaty anthems such as the Clash-like “International News,” the reggae-drenched title track, blazing garage-rocker “Mercenaries” and the lilting Caribbean pop of “Corner House Stone,” all politically charged and purposeful. Their lone album National Wake saw release in 1981 and even got issued in the UK where deejay John Peel gave his blessings, but ultimately the band couldn’t sustain itself in the face of the constant myriad pressures.

 Light In The Attic has compiled all the key recordings here, several of them previously unreleased, as a double LP (180-gram vinyl) in a tip-on deluxe gatefold sleeve, plus a handsome, photo-packed 20-page booklet detailing the entire story. Essential listening for any serious student of punk—or the history of South Africa and apartheid.

 DOWNLOAD: “International News,” “Walk In Africa,” “Mercenaries”

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