Jul 26, 2013

Zamrock: Salty Dog

Having formed during the height of the Zamrock period, Salty Dog was a three piece band modled after the Jimi Hendrix Experience.  Having wanted to base the band around the concept of the force of life, Salty Dog was chosen as a result of being slang for SPERM.  The eighth release on the Zambezi imprint, Salty Dog is one of the most obscure Zambian titles from the era.  The self titled release is a combination of psychedelic, Zamrock, blues and folk, with all english songs.  Really good from start to end, essential for collectors of African rock.  As a bonus for this release we’ve also managed to press up the non-lp single that was released before the album titled “Sunday Morning Sunshine”.  Limited edition in paste on cover, comes with photos and liner notes written by the band and a non-lp 45.


Salty Dog like many other bands from Zambia was an acid fuzz rock band influenced by Rolling Stones, Hendrix and Cream, while also mentioning Beatles, -although not much can be noticed from that-, besides some locals like Rikki Illongo & Alick Nkata. Their earlier band formation was called called Way Out Impression, which was a more hard rock styled trio who also did covers. This first band became very popular especially in Lusaka. Salty Dog (-slang for sperm-) wanted to have more life songs, with a positive vibe towards life. For this band we have Jackie Mumba on guitar, Norman Muntemba on bass and Alex Mwilwa on drums.

The first track especially is the most amazing one concerning the fuzz guitars. It contains wild and slightly cracking fuzz guitars, played with emotion, with an acid blues rhythm, bluesy deep bass repetition, some song parts in English, the instrumental part with fuzz really goes over the top. There is at least one other track that recalls the hard rock styled accompaniment (track 4), with blues associations. The ninth track is a boogieing blues-rock fuzz-lead instrumental. Also the last track has wonderful electric guitar freak-outs. The songs are simple but effective and give what they promised. Even though a blues touch is in all of them, I have moments that I feel the songs are indeed somewhat celebrative to life. Some have more acoustic feeling. One track even has additional mouth harmonica. There’s dual or even group singing (occasionally with harmony vocals), we can still sense the African song ways of bringing songs to the people too, which makes the acid-primitive feeling very grounded thanks to these African foundations that can be heard in combination with those Western style loans. It is not difficult to appreciate these Zambian rock bands. I just wonder why it took so long for the Western market to discover them.

The lead single, which was released just before the album came out, is added too. The band continued for another 15 years. Their second album was released in 1980. Lack of money finally caused the band to collapse. Over these years only one member survived.


01. Fast
02. Mama
03. See The Storm
04. Down In My Shoes
05. Try A Little Harder
06. Tisauke
07. Sunshine In My Hair
08. Have you Got it
09. Doggy Rock
10. Lullaby
11. Sunday Morning Sunshine (Bonus 7" + CD)
12. Down In My Shoes ((Bonus 7" + CD)

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