John E Sharpe And The Squires: Maybelline + Singles (SOUTH AFRICAN Garage Pop/Rock,1966)

CBS, ALD 6962

South African garage rock ... you're kidding right? Nope. To someone who doesn't know much about this niche, it's pretty friggin' impressive.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to find a great deal of information on namesake John E. Sharpe and company. Sharpe and bassist Les Goode had previously been in the Johannesburg-based The Deans. Inspired by The Beatles and The Stones in 1963 the two formed John E. Sharpe and the Squires. A popular draw on the city's club scene, in 1965 they were signed to CBS South Africa. Over the next two years they released a series four singles:

- 1965's 'Stop Your Sobbing' b/w 'High Heel Sneakers' (CBS catalog number SSC 545)

- 1965's 'I'll Explain' b/w 'Yours for the Picking' (CBS catalog number SSC-587)

- 1966's 'I Am a Rock' b/w 'Like a Rolling Stone' (CBS catalog number SSC-650)

- 1966's 'Monkey Shine' b/w 'Take It Easy' (CBS catalog number SSC-698)

Their sole LP, 1966's "Maybelline" offers up a sterling set of pop and raging garage rockers. All hyperbole aside, musically the album rivals anything put out by their better known US and UK contemporaries. Sharpe has one of those snotty voices that's perfect for the band's commercial moves which include one of the earliest Paul Simon covers I'm aware of ('I Am a Rock'). Also be sure to check out their weird pseudo-polka cover of Chuck Berry's title track. His voice is even better on tougher garage numbers like the catchy 'Monkey Shine' and their blazing cover of Bo Diddley's 'I'm a Man'.

"Maybelline" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Monkey Shine - 2:26

2.) What's Your Name - 2:12

3.) Maybelline (Chuck Berry) - 2:35

4.) L.S.D. - 2:56

5.) I'm a Man (Bo Diddley) - 4:00

6.) I Am a Rock (Paul Simon) - 2:28

(side 2)
1.) Walking The Dog - 2:21

2.) She's Fine, She's Mine - 4:20

3.) Bo-Diddley (Bo Doddley) - 3:59

4.) I Gave My Wife A Diamond - 2:13

5.) Back Door Man - 2:55

6.) Folsom Prison Blues - 3:07

I haven't been able to verify it, but someone who knew Sharpe in the early 1960s told me that he had died of cancer.

(internet source)

great info, reviews, pictures and interviews (and more) at
garage hangover site

LINK: cause IM A BACK DOOR MAN ! ! !


henry said...

wow ... gonna have to make some time to get back in a day or two when you get the link up. sounds just like something i'd dig! take care and thanks in advance ...

Pablo "Pochola" Cazorla said...

pw: mza-garage.blogspot.com

(YEAh...dig this !!! really good lp!! raw n furious sounds!)

Anonymous said...


little billy sunshine said...

very cool.

Sarah said...

what a find! this is also great "cazumbi:african 60's garage":


aldo said...

Thank you for this GREAT STUFF.
Several great versions done differently...cool!
I'M A MAN for example does not follow the usual YARDBIRDS arrangement...to name one.
Their second 45 was a killer two-sider.
I guess that while different, SHE'S MINE was done listening to the PRETTY THINGS version and I'M A ROCK the HOLLIES one...

esmenard.victor said...

Good stuff, thank you very much :-)

Dave C said...

I'd never heard of him before, but I liked the album. Didn't care for Stop Your Sobbing. The Pretenders own that one.

Cliff. said...

Lookin' forward to hearing this one, have to admit it's new to me. Love the blog site btw.

Anonymous said...

Amazing post. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi my dad played bass in the band John E sharpe and the Squires. Alan Shane, he is in the pop gear sa cover far right. Have hear plenty of stories. Sharpe did unfortunately die of cancer in the 1960s.

Mary_Henning said...

Hey man - have you got any more pictures of them???

Alan_shane said...

i was very interested to see all the old stuff again ...all the newspapers cuttings and would like to maybe contact the ol' band members , thanks again for putting it on.

The Bomber said...

no way ! ! ! Alan ? ? is that you??? really???

Alan_shane said...

of course its me what do you think?
I'm just older... who's that?

The Bomber said...

ouh dear ! nice to see ya with us!
any more stuff that we are missing??or where we can get more of the band ??

something you can share with the rest??


Alan_shane said...

i'll soon be with you i'm just waiting for people to ...how can i say ... to scatch out all the old stuff and bring it :)


The Bomber said...

ok Alan, if you want we can keep in touch more quiet, send me your mail at mzaprivateblog@gmail.com

(more private)

Sean Adams said...

I was Johnny's cousin and I first met him when I was 11 in early 1967 after we moved to SA from the UK. He played pretty much on through the late 60s, maintainming a residency at a basement club his father ran in Hillbrow called the "Downstairs". His musical career took a back seat after he got married. Yes, I'm sorry to confirm that Johnny died in the mid-90s of skin cancer.

The Bomber said...

Oh thanks Sean for stopping!
Oh I read something about Johnny...what a shame. Any pictures or stories you can share with us about him or the band ? ? it would be great ! !

or write me plis

Anonymous said...

Man, I've ben looking for this for a long time. It's hard to get music from SA when you're not IN SA.

Many Thanks


Anonymous said...

Way back in about '75 I had a band in Joburg called"BlackMarket Blues" and w edid los of gigs in Jburg, Pretoria & East Rand. One night we played in Yeoville at Rockey 24 & John E Sharpe sang a few nUmbers with us. I thing "No Particular Place To Go" was one of them ~ Roy Visser