America had Peter, Paul and Mary, Australia had The Seekers and South Africa had Four Jacks and a Jill; after several hits in their home country, this folk rock outfit enjoyed brief international success with their breakout hit “Master Jack.” They cracked the US charts again in 1968 with “Mister Nico” and “Hey Mister,” but soon faded from the international spotlight.
They continued to work and record in South Africa well into the 1980s. “Master Jack” is one of those 60s hits that kind of gets forgotten now. If it were on a playlist, it would be on an Apple Music “60s Music: Next Steps” list.
Critics at the time thought that the song was a condemnation of the Apartheid government in South Africa, and that “Master Jack” was fingering Prime Minster "John" Vorster. Lead Singer Glenys Mynott refuted this interpretation, saying, "In certain mines the foreman is called 'Master Jack', and the song tells the story of a labourer who works diligently for this master for years and years and then decides to go out on his own and exercise his desires and aspirations as an individual to be something other than a labourer." Either way, the song encapsulates the 60s theme of rebelling against authority and leaving “to see the world through my own eyes."
Favorite Cuts: “Mister Nico,” “Sunny Side of Somewhere,” and “Master Jack.”
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