When South Africa was still suffering under the apartheid system in the 1980s, Johnny Clegg & Savuka was the last thing apartheid supporters wanted in a pop group. Their lyrics were often vehemently anti-apartheid, and apartheid supporters hated the fact that a half-black, half-white outfit out of South Africa was integrated and proud of it. Released in the U.S. at the end of the 1980s, Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World is among the many rewarding albums the band has recorded. Sting and the Police are a definite influence on Clegg & Savuka, who have absorbed everything from various African pop styles to Western pop, funk, rock, and reggae. The lyrics are consistently substantial and frequently sociopolitical – "Bombs Away" addresses the violence of the apartheid regime, while "Warsaw 1943" reflects on the horrors Eastern Europe experienced at the hands of both communists and fascists during World War II. Clegg and company enjoyed a passionate following at the time, and this fine CD proves that it was well deserved.
In this engaging costume melodrama of skulduggery on the low seas set back in the 18th-century, the Royal Crown suspects a bit of smuggling is going on in this locale, and they send Captain Collier and his crew to check it out. As the Captain gets into his investigation, mysterious swamp phantoms cloud up the real issue which seems plain enough to see. Captain Collier suspects that the odd village vicar might be hiding something, and what better way to do that than by fortuitous ghosts to scare away the curious, or by posing as someone he is not?