Sam was on June 21, 1901, was born in East London. He comes from a very musical family. Five brothers were all musicians and two sisters were both organists!
At the age of 7 Sam acquainted with the concertina and guitar. It was soon clear that he was very musical, because he mastered quickly these instruments.
Sam's son, Jack, was very kind to me to be helpful with information about his father and also borrowed the photo, what he took for this album. We thank him for friendly cooperation.
Sam is married to Ann and seven children were born of the marriage.
He told Sam all in 1925 in East London so had a good band that he was invited to a reception, which was organized for the Duke of Windsor, to act. His band's name was then The Red Hungarians. Jack did not know where they came to the special name.
Sam, an upholsterer by trade, moved in 1934 to Johannesburg. He still made music and became one of Henry Susan's first concertina players in 1938. He was obviously a versatile player who could play the following instruments: accordion, guitar, organ, piano, double bass, saxophone, stage organ, harmonica and banjo. During the early years at Henry Susan was the money but barely. Sam told much to Jack that they sometimes had to make plans to get money for fuel in the hands. So they were for example obliged to pledge the less important tools to be able to play in Standerton. With their return to the city, the instruments are again from the pawnshop! Sometimes they traveled by train to rural villages and often made music for the other passengers. It must have been a very cheerful and sociable train for other travelers! The older readers will know how popular these men were in those years.
Sam started his own band in 1943 and they were an immediate hit. He made a lot 78-speed records and also composed many. The following well-known players were at some stage members of his famous orchestra:
Charles du Toit
Arnout van der Merwe
Jan van Rensburg
Pat took the name of Flip Lourens so people should think he was African. There were many others, but Jack says he can not recall all the names. Barry Jarman played the concertina established in the band and later the famous "Bats" group. Sam was familiar with all the great musicians of those days, namely Hendrik Susan, Michael de Kock, Hansel and Hennie van Loggerenberg, taffy Kikillus Nico Carstens, Anton de Waal, Freddy Fischer, Chris Lessing, Bill Liebenberg and many others.
Jack tells with relish Sam one night played for a school dance. A young girl asked him to play some of her requests that he naturally did gladly. This girl later became Jack's wife, and was dead surprised when she learned that her father-popular band leader who played her requests during the school dance so beautifully! Needless to say that Sam has grown a huge fan and beautiful daughter.
It's also interesting to know that the evergreen Heidelied for the first time in public at a school concert sung by Sam's two daughters and a friend. (As I write, I have a radio report heard that the composer of this song and many other popular hits, Olaf Andresen, today, December 20, 1985, passed away! Strange coincidence?)
Sam made the following LP:
|Come sing along||Sam Petzer salute|
|Come again, sing again and dance again||Hendrik Susan|
|The Great Peasant Dance||From bygone|
Here is a list of his most famous compositions:
Blue eyes mazurka
at the dance tonight (Sam Gerber)
Ow, my shoes pinch
I dream of you
Gamat the hawk
Thoughts of you
I dream of you
I fell in love with a dimpled
in the marsh
Johnny with his old violin (R. Browne)
Mom Dad let alone
make fire in the forest
dung floor mazurka
bottom of the marsh
Brother's violin (H. Susan)
Tip tip toe
from the Bay (S. Gerber)
Widow waltz (Sam Gerber)
Yellow woods seties
All his compositions were written in the idiom of our traditional style and it proves that he never ashamed of his own was. I had the privilege of hearing him a few times in person.A memorable day I could only number danced with the famous Sam Petzer! It was the beginning of the fifties at a party at the Magistrate of Johannesburg. After the first little number broke down my concertina and I could not continue playing! This man was naturally friendly and nice and always had a word of encouragement for the young musicians.
Sam died on 21 September 1969 and our traditional boeremusiek lost one of its great sons. Fortunately, our rich inherited to good, authentic cultural material that he left us.