The Swamp Funk Quartet
Deep-Fried Greasy Chicken Funk
The Swamp Funk Quartet is a Cape Town-based band that inhabits the special space where musical styles overlap. The SFQ sound is a combination of blues, R&B, funk, soul, jazz – even country. SFQ’s influences include JJ Cale, Ry Cooder, John Scofield, Little Feat, The Meters, and other, mainly American, bands and artists who dress kinda sloppy but play great music. It’s a big plus if they come from Nawlins. Or N’orlins. Or even New Orleans, the home of swamp funk.
The members of SFQ have played a variety of styles in their careers. One thing all of us share is an appreciation for the finer – and bluer – points of funk. Funk isn’t just big-haired, slap-bass booty-bustin’ music (although that’s cool too.) It’s also a state of mind that tells you that when it feels good, it looks like it smells bad. And what feels better than fried chicken? Or smells worse than deep-fried grease? Thus the essentials of funk: chicken-scratchin’ guitars, phat riffs, and a groove that feels like you’re gonna slip off if you don’t hold on tight. But most of all, the Swamp Funk style is based on the classic instruments: drum, bass, guitar, organ, horns. It’s amazing what you can do with the simple stuff!
Unlike many groups that want to break into the big time via recording contracts, etc., SFQ is a performing band, with an emphasis on pleasing a live audience. Some say the art of live rock n’ roll is dying, but we’re keeping it alive anywhere we appear.
Unfortunately not much is happening with SFQ at the moment. Our bassist Malcolm has emigrated to Bloemfontein, our drummer Paul is busy with Flat Stanley, and there’s not much going gig-wise in Cape Town. But stay tuned – we’ll be back.
You can contact SFQ for bookings, CDs, or just to get to know us better by emailing us here. Alternatively, call us on +27 21-788-2311 or 082-602-4330. For an MSWord version of this web page suitable for press blurbs, click here.
SFQ grew out of a long-term association between guitarist Ted Baumann, drummer Paul Tizzard, and bassist Yoyo Buys. The three first met and played together in the early 90s, during the first wave of post-apartheid musical euphoria. For much of the 90s, Tizzard and Buys formed the rhythm section of the popular SA band The Usual, but found time to form blues-boogie outfit Lonesharks with Baumann and harmonica player Dave Ferguson. When The Usual disbanded in 2000, Bauman, Tizzard and Buys invited guitarist Tom Fox, of Bright Blue and The Usual fame, to join them, and the Swamp Funk Quartet was born.
SFQ recorded an album in 2001, Go Funk Yourself, from which several tracks made it to the top of the www.SAMP3.com download lists. Their acidic, New Orleans-inspired cover of ‘Mannish Boy’ was on the charts for weeks and made it to Number One. The self-produced CD sold out quickly.
In 2002, bassist Buys emigrated to the UK, but continued to visit South Africa regularly, giving SFQ an opportunity to play several times a year. In 2003, Tom Fox left for New Zealand, leaving Baumann and Tizzard with the choice of closing shop or finding new members. Fortunately, they had long known bassist Malcolm Aberdein, whose funky style fit in nicely.
Despite the name, SFQ is actually a trio – the permanent members are Baumann, Tizzard, and Aberdien. To complete the quartet, other stankin’ musos join in the fun. On any given night you might find a keyboard player, saxophonist, or another guitarist (we’ve had lots of fun with Robin Auld). Our current fourth man is Agent Orange, keyboardist extraordinaire and veteran of the Blues Broers, Frosted Orange, and the Valiant Swart Band.
You can download samples of SFQ music by clicking on these links: Come On In My Chicken · One Way Out · I’m a Man · Mainline Florida · Caldonia. Also on the CD: Pretty Thing · Causin’ Of It All · Hand Jive · Get Ready. To purchase a copy of the CD, click , or visit .
Ted Baumann: Guitar and Vocals
A self-taught guitarist who’s been playing since he was a swamp rat growing up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, USA, Ted immigrated to SA in 1984. After a lifestyle break to study economics at the University of Cape Town, he started gigging again in 1991. Since then he’s fronted several popular bands, including the Lonesharks, the Hoodlums, the Groove Kings, and the Infidels. He was a member of chart-topping original band Woodshed from 1996-2001. During a working visit to the USA in 1993/4, he was guitarist and principal vocalist for the Ward Gaines Blues Band, a semi-finalist in the US National Blues Competition. Back in SA, at the 1996 and 1997 Grahamstown Festivals, the Lonesharks was the driving force behind the best-drawing music venue at the Festival, and broadcast live to radio by the SABC. The Groove Kings won the KFM Battle of the Bands in 1995 and recorded some of Ted’s original songs for radio play. Ted lives in Muizenberg, runs a little business, and lets out his rehearsal studio to the good musos.
Amps and effects:
Line 6 Distortion Modeller
Roland FC-200 Midi patch board
Paul is from a great South African musical family (his trombonist/bassist dad Bob was part of the 1960s Johannesburg jazz scene). Paul is an accomplished drummer who incorporates jazz and trance/house/hip-hop grooves into all his music. He is best known as drummer for The Usual, but has played with Ted Baumann off an on for many years. Paul plays Pearl drums.
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