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CUBA GOODING SNR, one of music's most enduring personalities, returns to the South African concert stage after 32 years and he can't wait to show us some new tricks.
The charismatic singer, who is the father of Oscar award-winning actor Cuba Jnr and TV star Omar, is one of the top attractions at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz festival from August 27 to August 29 in Newtown, where he will perform with his group, The Main Ingredient.
This fast-talking, charismatic lead singer told me he can't wait to be back on South African soil.
He raved about his last trip here in 1977 when his group headlined at the old Colosseum Theatre in downtown Joburg with Dobie Gray.
He said fans can expect to hear all their hits over a career spanning more than 40 years, plus a lot of new material.
"We are going to sing every hit record we ever had, a chain of Main Ingredient music. It will begin with the song Black Feet Keep On Growing, which was on the last album the original lead singer, Donald McPherson, made before he died."
Gooding, now 64, took over from McPherson, and said what makes them unique, compared to other singing groups, is that "we don't put a lot of time into dancing", adding that most American groups today tended to push the melody and lyrics aside in favour of music to which people can dance.
"Both directions are great but I believe that to have longevity in the entertainment industry the music has got to be soothing to the ear.
"We need to make a statement that makes sense, like my new single does, Never Give Up, and my new album of the same name."
Everybody Plays the Fool proved a mega hit for them, but Gooding does not fool around and is mighty serious when it comes to the business of making music.
He is also a dedicated father and his first born, Thomas, who gave him 13 grandchildren, will be serving as musical director for the SA trip. "I am so proud of him, he just looks like me but with dreadlocks."
"We have a show that will inspire you. It's not a religious inspiration, it's a never give-up, you can do anything you want to do."
Asked how he felt about being such a proud Dad, he replied: "I pinch myself in the shower every morning at my good fortune. I am blessed. I am in good health and I'm going back to Africa and this is a big deal for me."