KALAHARI SURFERS: Bigger Than Jesus (1989)

Bigger Than Jesus: The title was inspired by the John Lennon comment that saw the Beatles being banned by fundamentalist Christians across America. The comment that burst the Beatles’ bubble some say. Censorship had become an issue through out the 80’s for Shifty Records and particularly the silencing of peoples poet Mzwakhe Mbuli by internment. The Publications Control Board, set up in 1963 by Dr Verwoerd  to ban films and books and anything that threatened public morals or security. This was the most controversial of the Surfers albums : it was banned (deemed undesirable) by the South African publications control board. Court case documents and extensive lyrics and liner notes are part of album download. So too are the tracks which were taken off for the UK release. By purchasing the album you get these tracks as free inclusions.  It published lists every month of banned items. Bigger than Jesus was banned for distribution and immediately Shifty Records lodged an appeal which saw a  panel of experts from the board deeply studying the record to find proper reasons for their descision. (they hadn’t actually listened to the album it seemed) The track “Gutted With the Glory” was singled out as the offending piece. A William Burroughs inspired cut up between the raid on Lesotho ( by SADF forces in which a friend of ours was killed) and the Lords Prayer. The lawyers argued that this was not anti-Christian but anti -war. The case was resolved by us agreeing to putting a sticker over the title and changig the name of the album: hence “Beachbomb”. An interesting aspect to the banning is that during this time nothing was deemed “Desireable” . The album was found to be “Undesireable” and was banned and then found “Not Undersireable”after the court case. The album download includes  the legal papers ,which are quite amusing and both covers and various scans from the inner sleeve lyrics record centre etc.

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