Thursday, April 11, 2013

Four Jacks and a Jill--Master Jack (1968)

     The early beginnings of this South African group go back as far as 1962. Over the course of the next three years there would be groups with names like, The Atoms, The Nevadas and The Zombies (no relation to the group with Rod Argent). and shuffling of band members as well. The "Jill" portion of the group came in the form of Glenys Mynott. She had been singing since the age of 12 and had a recording contract with Luxurama Records as a part of the contract, she was to be accompanied on the road by The Zombies as a backing band.
     It wasn't long before what was just a pairing became an actual group. It also precipitated a change of musical style from the rock and roll of it's day (1965), and a more laid back pop/folk sound, and a change of name as well to Four Jacks and a Jill. Their first single in January 1966 was, "Johnny Come Lately" which broke all existing records for sales in South Africa. Other songs sold even more and established them as the predominate group in the country.
     It wasn't until, "Master Jack" that the band broke through in the states. The song to American ears sounds odd, but in South Africa, "Master Jack" was a name used by some for a foreman in the mines. The story tells of a common laborer who works for years under his boss, then leaves as he desires for something greater than just working in the mines all of his life.
     The song reached #16 on the charts in the spring/summer of 1968, with it's follow up, "Mister Nico" barely cracking the top 100 later that year. Guitarist and leader Clive Harding married Glenys in 1968 and after successfully continuing to tour, broke the group up 1983 after deciding to record gospel music. They have since reunited and you can see their website here:

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