Our Mother of all Playlists


Our Mother of all Playlists

KERNEELS BREYTENBACH pulls out all the stops with a load of music for every taste.


LET me tell you about my first playlist. In the days before decent car radios, my father piled the Breytenbachs into his Borgward and we set off for Margate from Alberton. It was as boring as hell.

But Neelsie had a plan. I had already bought my first LPs and knew them from front to back. I would sit in the car, play the music on the turntable in my head and sing the songs one by one. With my inner voice, of course.

LPs were rarely longer than 35 minutes of music. By the time we arrived in Margate, I had already listened to Rubber Soul, Help!, Beatles for Sale, Out of Our Heads, December’s Children, Aftermath, Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!), The Beach Boys Today! and All Summer Long. Beatles, Stones and Beach Boys. 

That was my big groove.

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Fast forward to 2005. John Sandford published the 16th Lucas Davenport novel, Broken Prey, and at the back he put a playlist that Davenport apparently listened during road trips in his Porsche. 

My friend Zuitie (ex-Chippendale), whom I first met drinking in the Bar Beyond in Pringle Bay in 2006, called a few weeks ago to find out if I have the Davenport playlist for him. The playlist we argued about that memorable night in the Bar Beyond. He wants to drive his new Merc-AMG GLE 53 from Polokwane to Cape Town and he is looking for music.

So, thank Zuitie for this week's bumper edition of Vrye Weekblad playlists. After this you must never complain to me again that you don't have enough music in your life.

We start with the playlist from Broken Prey. Pure adrenaline, mostly, as it starts with ZZ Top's Sharp Dressed Man. I left out a few songs, just to annoy Zuitie:

Spotify playlist — Broken Prey

Apple playlist Broken Prey

Next is the best music of 2023. The British music magazines Uncut and Mojo compile their lists every year. I checked them on the basis of Metacritic's score lists and scaled them down a bit. There are some types of music you simply cannot listen to in a fast-moving car, and others where you know in advance that a fight is going to break out if there is more than one soul in the vehicle:

Spotify playlist Best of 2023

Apple playlist Best of 2023 

The thing with music is this: the “classic" albums from the 1970s and 1980s are dusted off, remixed by some sound maestro and reissued. Here, then, a “second time around" list of 2023's best reissues:

Spotify playlist Second Time Around

Apple playlist Second Time Around

I realise not everyone has a taste for the blues, jazz and other interesting alternative genres. But there are people who share my enthusiasm and this “odds and sods” playlist is for you:

Spotify playlist Odds and Sods from 2023

Apple playlist Odds and Sods from 2023

Surely I'm not the only person who's sick to death of Stairway to Heaven and similar musical treasures because I've heard them 80,000 times. But I'm obsessed with good new renditions. This is an attempt to assemble a large number of them. The covers of Beatles and Leonard Cohen songs were recommended to me by Pieter Swart, the South African who died earlier this year just before he could reach the peak of Everest. I honour his memory:

Spotify playlist Covers Deluxe

Apple playlist Covers Deluxe 

I would be neglecting my duty if I didn't also give you something that will make Christmas easier, musically speaking. Two playlists — one international, one Afrikaans. I am not including the more devotional songs from this genre. The playlists are mostly of a secular nature (because they were created purely to make money), and if I supplemented them with devotional songs I feel it would be disrespectful to the latter. Call me old-fashioned, I can take it:

Spotify playlist Krismis op Note

Apple playlist Krismis op Note

Spotify playlist Afrikaanse Kersliedere

Apple playlist Afrikaanse Kersliedere 

There will also be those among you who not only want to listen to music in the car but also want to liven up the holiday braais. I'm not even going to try to think of dancing, but you will be able to. I'm just one of those people who think you shouldn't confuse a good braai with matters of the flesh. Here are five playlists, one for each of the decades between the 1950s and 1990s:


Spotify playlist

Apple playlist


Spotify playlist

Apple playlist 


Spotify playlist

Apple playlist


Spotify playlist

Apple playlist


Spotify playlist

Apple playlist

Now, music does peculiar things to different people. So, imagine the following: you and your loved ones are dodging all the potholes between Polokwane and Cape Town with your new wheels (they become fewer beyond Laingsburg) and suddenly the passengers start singing along. What can you do? You just participate. Blame the Red Bull, but you will sing:

Spotify playlist Sing Along Fun

Apple playlist Sing Along Fun

You sit and watch TV or hear something on the radio. Grab your phone, quickly Shazam the song and add it to your playlist. The list is still growing, but here are the past three years' yields:

Spotify playlist Never heard

Apple playlist  Never heard

Then sometimes you arrive at a place where there is a hot tub on the stoep and you sit in the  water up to your shoulders with a glass of MCC in your hand and stare out over the plains. You just want good music. You don't want to know anything about the rest of the world. Here is my personal choice:

Spotify playlist Breytie Ah-hmm

Apple playlist Breytie Ah-hmm

Finally, a list I put together because I know someone is going to ask why there are so few Afrikaans songs on my lists. Here is an Afrikaans playlist. Lots of old music, lots of new music. From Chris Blignaut and the Briels to Bles Bridges and David Kramer:

Spotify playlist Afrikaans van Toeka tot Nou

Apple playlist Afrikaans van Toeka tot Nou

May 2024 be blessed and full of pleasant surprises!

♦ VWB ♦

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