30 May 2011

1992- "I am not paid to listen to this drivel"

The World Cinema Showcase screened in Dunedin (and elsewhere around New Zealand) a few weeks ago. The only film I managed to get to was William S. Burroughs: A Man Within, which I saw with Bill (not Burroughs- that would be weird). Glad I did, and think it is time to read some Burroughs.

Bill (not Burroughs etc . . .)and I used to host a show on Radio 1 in 1992/93, and this excellent track was play-listed there for a bit at that time. The music is by The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy.

William S. Burroughs- Words of Advice for Young People


The 3D’s are perhaps my favourite band of all time. I remember first seeing them play to about 40 or 50 people on  a Friday night at the university in 1989, in what must have been one of their first performances as a 4-piece. Their recorded stuff is fantastic- their live sets were legendary, if occasionally seemingly life-threatening. (Feeling as if my hair would singe as an onstage fire-eater blew flame along the low ceiling in the Crown Hotel during one memorable gig with another great band, Cyclops; and feeling the floor move beneath my feet as 2 or 300 of us leapt with reckless abandonment at the Hellzapoppin’ release gig up two levels in an old warehouse.) That album was only released on CD, not vinyl, which lead me to buying my first cd player in 1992.
Brilliantly, they played some gigs last year, and we (me, Rae, and thrillingly- for him and for us-Isaac) got to see them at Sammy’s.
Flying Nun have just released (May 30) the two first e.ps and other early recordings on a CD “The Early Recordings.”
Their albums are available ridiculously cheaply on the Flying Nun website.
I have struggled to find the perfect track to post- and have gone with this one, even though there is no video.

The 3D's- Sunken Treasure

Bruce Blucher (formerly of The Alpaca Brothers; and also Cyclops) fronted this great band, with Robbie Yeats on drums, and Paul Cahill and Andre Richardson completing the line-up. Noisy, droning and brilliant. This is from their first album, 1992's  Gritt and Butts . It also appeared on the wonderful Xpressway Compilation Killing Capitalism With Kindness. (Check out the excellent "Nunblog" by Xpressway founder Bruce Russell.)

Trash- Telecom South

This week we have a Vol.9 shocker- a true video nasty.

It was my sister Jo’s birthday last week. She is 16 months older than me, so must have been 8 at the time of 20 Solid Gold Hits Vol.9. Clearly she was a true fan of at least one half of this duo- if the occasional hand drawn poster advertising “This Way to Donny’s House” was to be believed. (Any retort that a couple of pictures of Marie- her hair, so shiny; her teeth, so white- appeared on my wall are untrue, even if they were the only pictures left in whatever teen magazine had already been hacked by elder siblings. And I was only 7.)

If you can bear it, the song kicks in a few minutes into the video- the scarily tanned (and generally scary) Andy Williams, clearly a comic genius, introduces them (after showing a clip of a very young Donny when he first appeared on the show.) In 1974, when this screened, Donny was 16, and Marie 14. Wacky.

Donny and Marie Osmond- I'm leaving it all up to you

Hands up if you stayed . . . 

22 May 2011


An inadvertent theme emerged this week- 3 songs are movie-related, and one is, brilliantly, performed on a children's television programme. I struggled to find a New Zealand song with a clip from 1972- any suggestions?

The first track is from a Jamaican movie from 1972 (billed on one promotional poster as "more intelligent than Last Tango in Paris. ") A couple of years ago Radio One had a series of films played at that the Academy Cinema- (now the Church), and  think it was there that I saw this (although it may have been at a Film Festival screening). Regardless, loved the film, and the title track- sung by Jimmy Cliff who stars in the movie- is great. Far, far better than  this pretty awful 1983 track.

Jimmy Cliff- The Harder They Come

Diana Ross was nominated for an Academy Award for her starring role in the 1972 movie Lady Sings the Blues. I was 15 or 16 before I had even heard of Billie Holiday, when a friend really got into her stuff.
This track is from a 1957 television performance- gorgeous.Look out for the Roy Eldridge trumpet solo about 5 minutes in- especially at 5:41- genius!)

Billie Holiday- Fine and Mellow

I have a "Motown 50" triple cd, and amongst quite a few gems (and a few not so much), the Stevie Wonder stuff stands out. Watching this next one just shows that there was a time when children's television was not all saccharine  and patronising. Just watch the kid on the balcony- he totally gets it. Go Sesame Street!

Stevie Wonder- Superstition

Time for the ubiquitous "Vol. 9" song. I am not even quite sure why this was on Vol. 9- the movie from which it came was released in 1970; the omnipresent tv series started in 1972 (We got a tv in 1974, the series finished in 1983 and seemed to be on constant repeat for years). Apparently the lyrics were written by the movie directors 14 year old son- very bleak!- who, it is said, got more for the song royalties than his father did for directing. (On 20 Solid gold Hits Vol.9 there is not credit for the vocals- it is just listed as "MASH- the Theme From M*A*S*H- apparently it was "just" session musicians performing it)

MASH- The Theme From M*A*S*H

15 May 2011

1999- Channelling Prince

It is late, I am tired. Which may explain the very laid back selection this week.

Maybe it was just the time; maybe it was that Molly was born in 1999, and raucous music was less present in the house. I love each of these tracks, and know they will  be in my head for the week. For me, this is a good thing.

I know I posted a Shayne Carter last week- perhaps I am still getting over that being in Dunedin we did not get to see his "Last Train to Brockville" gigs in Wellington and Auckland recently. Whatever the reason- great band; great song; great video. 

Dimmer- Evolution

It was mentioned today that we have a lot of Beck albums. Midnite Vultures is a favourite, and channels Prince, and even Mick Jagger. Cool white-boy soul; and pretty damn funny too.

Another musical genius.

Beck- Debra

Music awards are notoriously fickle, but it seems that sometimes they get it right. I did not know (or remember) that this was the "Single of the year" at the New Zealand Music Awards in 1999. Some of the other finalists (and winners) from that year are quite frightening- but hey, each to their own. There is something about the Chinese notes/ rhythm/ string-plucking thing that really gets me in this song. (I know that ain't a proper description of music, but that's why I am a fan not a musician).

Che Fu- Scene III

(There is a great documentary  From Street To Sky about his father, Tigilau Ness, which screened on Maori TV a couple of years ago, that is worth checking out if you can get it. He is also a musician in Unity Pacific)

Time to hark back to this blogs namesake, Vol. 9. It seems carnal thoughts aplenty were occurring in movie theatres around New Zealand in 1974- if it wasn't the Drifters snogging in the back row, it was our own Bunny Walters "stealing kisses when the lights were low." At least when he left the theatre, he was, the song assures us, happy only holding hands. Very wholesome.

Unfortunately no video, but with a quality song like this, who needs the visual distraction?

Bunny Walters- The nearest thing to heaven

7 May 2011

1984- "If you want to know the meaning of meaningless . . ."

This is a long post- 5 songs and plenty of ranting. I think I will have to revisit 1984 again- I could have immersed myself in the Flying Nun pool and never returned, there was so much stuff that I loved realeased that year. But 1984 was not all black jerseys and winkle-pickers . . .

A comment from the Supercoach to last weeks post led me straight to 1984. He tells us that in 1974, Elton John realeased his first “Best of” album, and wondered who might hold the record for the most “best of” albums through the years. I don’t know the answer to that, but can say it appears that the very same Reginald Kenneth Dwight himself has at least 7 or 8. Including the execrable 1986 album “Live in Australia with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.” Terrible singing; worse arrangements and god-awful wigs.

But . . . in  February 1984, I travelled to Christchurch from Dunedin to see Elton play at Addington Showgrounds. He had started working with Bernie Taupin again; and for the first time in years had most of his early 70’s band with him. The 25000 stong audience, (including me and the pierced, mohawked, leathered punk standing and singing at the top of his voice next to me) loved it.

(Unfortunately could not embed this clip, but it is worth following) From the brilliant 1975 movie, “Dog Day Afternoon” (directed by Sydney Lumet and starring Al Pacino)- this is the opening sequence, with Elton John singing “Amoreena”

I am sure it is not that often that an Elton John track is followed by the Tall Dwarfs. This fantastic Chris Knox video was watched over and over at Liam’s house in 1984 (Liam was my best friend; had great taste in music; and was the first person I know who had a video recorder. It was another few years before he and I got to see them live- described in the comments section at the bottom of this review)

Tall Dwarfs- Phils Disease (Day 1)

I have been in meetings where people have suggested meeting on the 7th of May. I always want to say only if they want to know the meaning of meaningless.

Brilliantly, I got to see the DoubleHappys play in 1984 at an “underage” venue in Dunedin. 27 years on, whether with Dimmer, “The Adults” or on his own, Shayne Carter is still a genius.

DoubleHappys- The Other’s Way

(Shayne Carter was only 20 when this was released. Look at this live clip of them- truly rock gods even then) 

Alastair Galbraith fronted the Rip, one of my favourites of this time. Two wonderful E.P’s, a myriad of superb performances- including a gig at Chingford Park (at which another band, EOE- who, despite only having 3 or 4 songs written- arrived in a stretch limo driven by the guy who chauffeured the Beatles when they visited Dunedin- total class)  Alastair Galbraith is worth checking out nowadays too- an “experimental” musician of international repute; a total artist.

The Rip- Holy Room

1984 wasn’t all Elton John and Flying Nun though. The Smiths released this, their second single, in 1ate 1983, but was also a bit of a summer anthem for us in 1984. This clip is a “fan video”, because I first heard and loved the “London” version of the song- and the official video is “Manchester.” Lovely.

The Smiths- This Charming Man