Waiting For The Dawn

Big Sky

Released in August 1990 on Gallo Records, catalogue number ASF 3324 (LP) and CDASF 3324 (CD). Re-issued in June 2001 on the Epic label, catalogue number CDEPC 8170. Produced by Kevin Shirley. Mixed by Shelly Yakus at A&M Studios Los Angeles.

Waiting For The Dawn
Waiting For The Dawn (2001 CD re-issue)

This album is epic because of the superb songs. Tracks like ‘Waiting For The Dawn’ (with bagpipes by the Cape Town Highlanders), ‘Slow Dancing’ and the gospel-tinged ‘Power In The Darkness’ captivate the listener.

Brian Currin, SA Rock Digest, July 2001

Tracks

  1. Waiting For The Dawn (S. Louw) (5:18) single 1990
  2. Blood Money (S. Louw/K. Shirley) (3:41)
  3. Power in the Darkness (T. Robinson/M. Ambler) (4:18)
  4. Forever Love (S. Louw) (3:30)
  5. Diamonds And Dirt (S. Louw) (3:55) single 1990
  6. Downtown (Tom Waits) (3:30)
  7. Shine On (S. Louw) (4:21)
  8. Slow Dancing (S. Louw/K. Shirley) (6:08) single 1990
  9. Home To Stay (S. Louw) (3:18)
  10. Home To Stay (Reprise) (S. Louw) (2:06)
  11. Waiting For The Dawn (Radio Edit) (S. Louw) (3.40) bonus on 1990 CD & 2001 re-issue
  12. Here Comes The Night (Bert Berns) (3.53) bonus on 1990 CD & 2001 re-issue

Musicians

  • Don Laka: Piano, keyboards
  • Robbie McIntosh: Guitar, Slide guitar
  • Rupert Mellor: Accordion, Piano
  • McCoy Mrubata: Sax
  • Steve Newman: Acoustic Guitar
  • Nico Burger: Guitar
  • Jimmy Mngwandi: Bass
  • Steve Louw: Acoustic Guitar, vocals
  • Godla Mgcinga: Drums
  • Honest Rod Nagel: Harp
  • Benmont Tench: Piano, Hammond organ
  • Waddy Wachtel: Guitar
  • Roy Bittan: piano on ‘Here Comes The Night’
  • Cape Town Highlanders (The 1000 Pipers) : bagpipes on ‘Waiting For The Dawn’
  • The Atlantic City Horns: Horns (arranged by Mike Campbell)
  • The Long Street Gang: Backing vocals
Waiting For The Dawn Back Cover
Waiting For The Dawn [2001 Re-issue] Back Cover

Videos

Slow Dancing features Don Laka on piano and the collaboration is simply out of this world.
From Big Sky’s debut Album, Waiting for the Dawn, this lively and powerful track was a instant success.

The title, somewhat anthemic track, refers to the South African situation and includes the lines: “People suffer for so long now … We’re still waiting for the dawn / For the sea to wash the sins from our sands.” Good stuff. 

Glynis O’Hara, The Star TONIGHT!

Recorded live at The Little Theatre, Cape Town in 2008,  Big Sky presents Heart & Soul features hit tracks from previous albums as well as unreleased material. Heart & Soul features an acoustic set with slide guitar, harmonica, tea chest bass, percussion, double bass and mandolin, then the band unleashes a full-tilt rocking electric electric set culminating in a blues jam of ferocious power.

Reviews

SA ROCK DIGEST, Issue #113, 10th July 2001
by Brian Currin

This classic debut album by Big Sky (Steve Louw and Big Sky were the support act for the 1998 Rodriguez tour of SA), originally released in 1990 and for a long time unavailable has now been re-issued with 2 bonus tracks. It is appropriate that this CD should be re-issued on the Epic label, because it is an epic and powerful album, featuring a mix of musical talents from both SA and LA. Mixed by Shelly Yakus (U2, Tom Petty, Dire Straits) and produced by Kevin Shirley (The Council, Springbok Nude Girls, Iron Maiden, Black Crowes), this album features performances from Robbie McIntosh (Pretenders, Paul McCartney), Don Laka, Rupert Mellor (McCully Workshop), Roy Bittan (Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band), Benmont Tench (Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers), McCoy Mrubata, Steve Newman (Tananas) and Honest Rod Nagel (All Night Radio, Blues Broers) to name just a few.

But forget the name-dropping; this album is epic because of the superb songs. Tracks like ‘Waiting For The Dawn’ (with bagpipes by the Cape Town Highlanders), ‘Slow Dancing’ and the gospel-tinged ‘Power In The Darkness’ captivate the listener. This album also includes a great version of Tom Waits’ ‘Downtown’ (with references to “the sugar-man”… hmmm). One of the bonus tracks is a re-recording of a track from All Night Radio’s (Steve’s first band) second album ‘The Killing Floor’ titled ‘Here Comes The Night’ which itself was a cover of the old 1965 Them hit song, which featured a young Van Morrison.

Steve Louw
Steve Louw

The Star TONIGHT! (26 September 1990) New Record Releases by Glynis O’Hara
STEVE PRODUCES STUNNING NEW WORK

BIG SKY “Waiting For The Dawn” (GRC) – What a pleasure it is to put on a local rock record of quality. Here Steve Louw, formerly of All Night Radio, has got together a line-up that includes Don Laka (keyboards), McCoy Mrubata (Sax), Jimmy Mngwandi (bass) and Godla Mcinga (drums). Added to this are guitarist Robbie McIntosh (formerly of The Pretenders, now with Paul McCartney), keyboard player Benmont Tench (from Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers) and Roy Bittan of Bruce Springsteen’s band. They recorded a lot in Los Angeles, you see, so all these other okes popped in and just added their bits. Louw’s strengths are downhome hard rocking and heartfelt ballads and it’s here that the record really takes off – in the R ‘n B stunner of “Blood Money” (with the help of the Atlantic City Horns) and in “Slow Dancing” and “Home to Stay”. The last, built on piano, acoustic guitar and accordion alone, is truly beautiful, with a gloriously tear-jerking strings reprise. If you need a cry put this on – and then follow it up with Katie Webster’s “Never Let Me Go” from “Two-Fisted Mama”. You’ll be a mess on the floor for sure.

The title, somewhat anthemic track, refers to the South African situation and includes the lines: “People suffer for so long now … We’re still waiting for the dawn / For the sea to wash the sins from our sands.” Good stuff. And “Power In The Darkness” too, a hot Tom Robinson song, employs a ragged street choir to chant the chorus on a really good arrangement. Robinson was/is a gay/political rights musical campaigner in Britain and the lyrics go thusly: “Freedom to choose what to do with your body / Freedom to believe what you like / Freedom for brothers to love one another / Freedom for black and white.” At times, Louw sounds very much like Lloyd Cole – not a bad thing at all. The weakest point is the cover of Tom Waits’s “Downtown”. The only way to follow that hellish growl is to completely re-invent the song – slow it down, speed it up, change the melody, sing in falsetto, anything. Only don’t do a relatively straight down-the-line copy. It’s OK, but only just. Otherwise, a fine album.


YOU (27 September 1990) NEW SOUNDS by Cornelis Bach
ALBUM OF THE WEEK – BIG SKY – WAITING FOR THE DAWN


Steve Louw, he of the monster breath with All Night Radio, has somehow transformed himself into Big Sky. There he stands, guitars at hand and a microphone strategically placed. He hops between Studios in distant parts of the globe, surrounding himself with musicians of the stature of Honest Rod Nagel, Nico Burger, Benmont Tench, Steve Newman and Waddy Wachtell. And it works. For the first time in his career Louw’s music really shines through, thanks to his co-producers Kevin Shirley and Shelley Yakus. Big Sky sounds big, even to the point where one can forget about the vocals sometimes being a bit on the thin side. Obvious crowd-pleasers would be the title track, Slow Dancing, Home To Stay and Diamonds And Dirt, but to my mind the track that really declares Big Sky to be an ongoing concern is the rendition of Tom Waits’ Downtown. With ‘Waiting For The Dawn’ Steve Louw really has come into his own.


LONDON LEKKER
London-based John Samson gives his own twist on SA music
from SA Rock Digest #169, 2nd September 2002, also appeared on News24.com

WAITING FOR THE DAWN – BIG SKY
http://www.stevelouw.com

There’s an old joke about the guy who sat up all night wandering where the sun went, until it finally dawned on him. ‘Waiting for the Dawn’ is a phrase often used to talk about the hope for a new and better era and the title track on Big Sky’s 1990 debut album talks exactly of this in relation to the slow decline of Apartheid and the historic 1994 elections. Big Sky, for those of you who don’t know is the brainchild ex-All Night Radio man Steve Louw, and the band played alongside Rodriguez during his 1998 tour of South Africa.

Like All Night Radio, Big Sky’s lyrics are concerned with ‘working man’ issues like beer bottle inspired love, being out on the town till the early hours and even the sleazier side of life. The latter is most evident in the cover version of Tom Wait’s ‘Downtown’ with its references to drugs, sleazy sex and booze. Interestingly, my copy of this album is an ex-SABC copy and while it has a little sticker saying ‘Avoid’ by ‘Downtown’, it gives a XXX rating to the title track which I believe means this is the best track off the album to play. Along with the title track there is the politically charged ‘Power in the Darkness’ (a cover of the Tom Robinson song) which contains lines like ‘Freedom for black and white’. It’s quite interesting to note the shift in the SABC’s censorship as the new decade dawned. Sex was still banned, but politics was slowly being allowed to be heard.

Musically this is tuneful rock. There are Springsteen-esque moments
particularly on ‘Shine On’ as well as Dire Straits-y guitars on the gentle and beautiful piano led ‘Slow Dancing’. The Scottish blood in me is stirred by the bagpipes that lend body to the quite magnificent title track while there’s ample opportunity to hone your air guitar skills, and those of you who like to play the air harmonica, try and keep up with the band on ‘Blood Money’.

So you can stay up all night wondering where the sun goes, listening to All Night Radio or as an alternative you can choose to wait for the dawn with this highly polished quality rock album.

And keep your eyes (and ears) open for Big Sky’s new album being released in September.

Listen to the title track from ‘Waiting For The Dawn’.

John Samson, London, UK


Lyrics

Waiting For The Dawn

It’s a slow train, that takes us back to
The dreams and hopes we had when we were young
In the backstreets, of the city
People fighting for the hope that’s just begun

Waiting for the dawn
Waiting for the dawn

In the night sky, the stars are shining
On a billion dreams, I will never know
They hold the promise, of this new day
Where people live together in love

Oh we’re waiting for, waiting for the dawn
Oh we’re waiting for, waiting for the dawn

People suffer, for so long now
Under the cross that shines upon our land
And we’re still waiting, for the new dawn
For the sea to wash the sins, from our sands

Waiting for, waiting for the dawn
Oh we’re waiting for, waiting for the dawn

With eyes burning, our hearts beating
Beating out the sounds of the drum
We sit waiting, in this dark night
For the new dawn, the morning sun

Always waiting for, waiting for the dawn
Waiting for, waiting for the dawn
Waiting for, waiting for the dawn
Waiting for, waiting for the dawn


Blood Money

I got a brand-new Coupe De Ville
Pink leather seats with a girl on the grille
Need all the things man that money can buy
Got to get rich just before I die

Blood money, you deserve it
Life’s a party can’t you see
Blood money, yeah, you earned it
Blood money, who says the best in life is free?

You can buy my soul if the price is right
Use my body every night
Got to make money to keep this style
I’ve got a wife, a kid, a mistress, a child

Chorus

Well, people say that it’s the money that counts
I’ll tell you one thing, babe, that I found out
You got no money; they just kick you down
You got money, you’re the boss of this town

Chorus

I got a blonde baby on my knee
Bought her a diamond, now she says she loves me
I’ll prove I love her if I buy a mink coat
She’s gonna leave me if I don’t

Chorus


Forever Love

Walking back to my place at 5 a.m.
And the trucks are rolling through town
City’s waking up but I’m gonna sleep
With this little diamond I found

She says she’ll take me and make me
Feel like I’ve never been alone
With a love like that I’ll be alright
You’ll warm this chill from my bones

Forever love, forever love
You’re my forever love
I can’t get enough of my forever love

I’m a bad deal but want to grow old with you
Got a warm heart, but this tin can head
Want to stay with you in this room forever
Never want to go out again or leave your bed

Chorus

I’ll work for you ‘til my hands bleed
For seven days
Buy you a white dress with lace and pretty things
I’ll walk with you back to where you come from
To ask you to wear my ring

Come on, take me on your roller-coaster ride
Any way that you want, babe
Anywhere, I don’t mind

Chorus


Diamonds and Dirt

This is a small round world we’re living in
With everybody trying to own everything
Ain’t got a wife, no home, or family
Just got these hands and no-one to stop me

Diamonds and dirt
Blood on my face, and on my shirt
Diamonds and dirt
Ever since I was born life hurt
Diamonds and dust
See the blood turn to rust
Diamonds and dust
Feel the love turn to lust

Got all these bills and no money to pay
The landlord’s going to put me away
Was gonna leave this town anyhow
Well, I might as well leave this world now

CHORUS

I was born down and that’s how I’ll die
Got nothing to show and nothing to hide
Don’t know where to start
Don’t know where to stop
A few more hours is all I got

Don’t wanna be rich, don’t wanna be poor
I don’t want to be anything anymore
Want to take a woman in my arms
And die tasting her charms

CHORUS

You got a match for me, I’ll light the fires
A gallon of gas and a few used tyres
I can hear sirens and I can hear drums
I can see heaven, and here I come

CHORUS


Shine On

Set loose wide-eyed and innocent
In these streets with no name
Learn to grow up fast
Learn the rules of the game
Learn that everything that’s given can be taken away
Don’t store up treasure, that’s what the wise men say

But when I’m with you this whole world just fades away
The sun shines on, everlasting sun

Why do we all wanna be heroes
And do things so that the whole world knows
Got my girl, a car, and a few guitars
When you turn out the lights baby
Then I see the stars

When I’m with you this whole world fades away
The sun shines on, everlasting sun
The sun shines on, my everlasting sun

If I ever get money, I’ll hang diamonds from your ears
Always keep you safe, always dry your tears
I got you, baby, you know that you got me
And that’s the only thing we’ll ever need

Oh, turn out the lights, let’s see those stars shine
Shine on, everlasting sun
Shine on, everlasting sun

I always heard that the Lord moves in strange ways
What He gives with the one hand, He can always take away
When I lie with you at night, babe, and I feel your heartbeat
Never want to leave you babe and be back on the streets

When I’m with you, this whole world fades away
And the sun shines on, my everlasting sun
And the sun shines on, my everlasting sun

Shine on, my everlasting sun
Shine on, my everlasting sun


Slow Dancing

Always slow dancing
With your body close to mine
We’re dancing in circles
On the wings of time

Like a bird outside calling
I always want you to be free
Like the warm wind blowing across the land
Bringing you closer, closer to me

Always slow dancing
I can feel your heartbeat
Slow dancing together
Feel warm in your body heat

Like a bad moon that keeps shining
Shining down on the sea
You cast your spell upon me
’Til we were dancing, slow dancing cheek to cheek

Always slow dancing
With your body warm next to mine
Slow dancing together
We’re frozen in time

Like a river that keeps flowing
Bringing water to the sea
We were always moving closer
’Til we were dancing, dancing cheek to cheek

Like a bird outside calling
I always want you to be free
Like the warm wind blowing across the land
Bringing you closer, closer to me

Always slow dancing, always slow dancing

Like a bad moon that keeps shining
Shining down on the sea
You cast your spell upon me
“Til we were dancing, slow dancing cheek to cheek

Like a river that keeps flowing
Bringing water to the sea
We were always moving closer
Now we’re dancing, you’re dancing with me

Always slow dancing, always slow dancing
Always slow dancing, on the winds of time


Home To Stay

Every time that I saw you
With those bloodshot eyes so blue
I swore I could love you
And that you would love me too

But you never ever noticed
You didn’t seem to care
So, I gave you my Zippo
And a heart that you could wear

Now the years have gone by
And some friends have disappeared
I found you in a bar last night
And I wiped away your tears

You asked me what took you so long
Where’ve you been all these years?
Then you showed me my old lighter
Took out the heart that you still wear

Strange how things happen
I would’ve put money on this turning out another way
Now there’s a ring on your finger
And I’m back home to stay

There’s a house down on Main Street
It’s got a dog in the yard
A leather jacket on the bedpost
Red roses in a vase

It’s strange how things happen
I would’ve put money on it turning out another way
Now there’s a ring on your finger
And I’m back home to stay
There’s a ring on your finger
And I’m back home to stay

9 thoughts on “Waiting For The Dawn

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