From the Vaults

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Wattie Watson and Friends: Ye Cannae Shove Yur Grannie Aff a Bus (date unknown)

25 Mar 2015

When I was a little boy growing up in Edinburgh I was doubtless surrounded by Scottish songs (I certainly heard the pipes) but it wasn't until I came to New Zealand that I can clearly remember particular songs (like The Cherry Rhyme which was played on the childrens' session on 1ZB on Sunday mornings). I also had comics like The Broons and Oor Wullie, and a couple of years ago when back in... > Read more

Elvis Costello: Wave a White Flag (demo 1976)

23 Mar 2015

When Elvis Costello was an aspiring singer-songwriter, desperate to get a foothold and using the name DP Costello, he was fronting the pub-rock band Flip City. But he was also recording his own songs at home and passing these demos to (the now late) Charlie Gillett who hosted the Honky Tonk radio show. This song was the first of those that Gillett played and it's intersting for two... > Read more

Lou Christie: Lightnin' Strikes (1966)

11 Mar 2015    3

Few people can say they celebrated their 23rd birthday in quite the same way as Lou Christie, this single was number one the US -- and just starting to go global. It was quite a comeback for Lugee Alfredo Giovanni Sacco from rural Glenwillard near Pittsburg: he'd had some skirmishes with the charts and been on Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars traveling revue (he was seated next to Diana Ross... > Read more

Steve Reich: It's Gonna Rain (1965)

10 Mar 2015

Sampling, found sound, loops and tape manipulation are commonplace these days -- but back in '65 this piece by minimalist Steve Reich (interviewed here) anticipated a whole style of experimental music. And as with John Lennon -- who allegedly put the tape of the Beatles' b-side Rain backwards into his home player and loved the strange sound which emerged -- Reich came upon this purely by... > Read more

It's Gonna Rain (extract only)

The Box Tops: I Met Her in Church (1968)

9 Mar 2015    3

In later years Alex Chilton -- who died in March 2010 -- was mostly known for the legendary but short-lived Seventies power-pop band Big Star which was hugely influential across the generations and was paid tribute to by the Replacements in a song named after him. But before the pop of Big Star, Chilton out of Memphis was the singer in the Box Tops which scored big with The Letter in '67... > Read more

Al Jolson: Are You Lonesome Tonight? (1950)

26 Feb 2015

It's widely accepted that after he came out of the army in Germany, Elvis Presley's career quickly went on the skids with lousy movies and soft songs. Well, not quite. His first album when he came back to the States -- entitled somewhat obviously Elvis is Back! -- was an interesting collection, at a pinch you might even call it his Rubber Soul (although there would be no... > Read more

King Kurlee feat. Blackmore Jr: Smoke on the Water (1991)

25 Feb 2015

The merging of hip-hop and rock (via Run DMC with Aerosmith, Anthrax with Public Enemy, and others) lead to nu-metal and its many unfortunate bands such as Limp Bizkit. But, as with the early days of hip-hop when there was an innocent and enjoyable experimentation, some of nu-metal's predecessors were more interesting than their offspring. This single out of Germany by the litle known... > Read more

National Lampoon: I'm A Woman (1975)

24 Feb 2015

Before they got into movies like Animal House and the Vacation series (with Chevy Chase), National Lampoon was a satirical magazine which also delivered a very funny sideline in records such as Lemmings (which skewered Woodstock). One of their funniest albums, but hard to find unfortunately as it doesn't appear to be on CD reissue anywhere, was Goodbye Pop from 1975 which featured among... > Read more

Moving Sidewalks: 99th Floor (1967)

23 Feb 2015

This psychedelic garagerock single -- inspired by fellow Texans the 13th Floor Elevators -- was written by Billy Gibbons in his maths class when he was about 16. And yes, that's the same Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, which this band over time morphed into. Gibbons (the clean shaven kid third from the left in the photo) grew up in a musical envireonment -- his dad was a keyboard player and... > Read more

Deana Carter: Did I Shave My Legs for This? (1995)

20 Feb 2015

Country music most often tells character stories, and Deana Carter -- named for Dean Martin -- nailed it with this title track from her debut album. And when success came it had been hard won: She's tried her hand in music without much success, tended bar and cleaned urinals, and graduated from university in Tennessee as a rehab therapist. But her demos caught the attention of Willie... > Read more

Gary Wilson: You Keep On Looking (1977)

19 Feb 2015

When Beck name-checked Gary Wilson in his '96 song Where It's At, the reference understandably went right past most people: Wilson hadn't recorded an album since '77 and that one, You Think You Really Know Me, had way fewer than 1000 copies pressed on release. Wilson was a cult figure like few others. Equally influenced by lounge music (his father was a jazz bassist and played in lounge... > Read more

Jackie De Shannon: She Don't Understand Him Like I Do (1964)

18 Feb 2015    1

Jackie De Shannon (born Sharon Lee Myers) had great hits and an even better life: As a teenager in Illinois she recorded and wrote a few songs; Eddie Cochran heard a couple of her country tunes and got her to California where she teamed up with Sharon Sheeley to write (notably Dum Dum for Brenda Lee and The Great Impostor for the Fleetwoods); and then at 16 she was signed to Liberty Records.... > Read more

The Cambodian Space Project: Whiskey Cambodia (2014)

17 Feb 2015

No, and thanks for pointing it out: We didn't go too deeply into the vaults for this one. It came out on the album of the same name last year by this group which sometimes covers classic rock songs (Creedence's Proud Mary, House of the Rising Sun etc) in its own idiosyncratic style with Srey Thy singing in her native language. That's the gimmicky end of this group which was founded by... > Read more

Bing Crosby: Blue Hawaii (1937)

16 Feb 2015

Because his 1961 film Blue Hawaii was so successful, most people forgivably assume the title song which Elvis Presley sang was specifically written for it. However the song was almost 25 years old by that time and had originally been in another Hawaii-based musical, Waikiki Wedding. That film starred crooner Bing Crosby, a singer whose style -- like that of Frank Sinatra when he was in... > Read more

Paul McCartney: My Valentine (2012)

14 Feb 2015

For the past few years on this day (February 14), it has been Elsewhere's habit to post the lovely Valentine by Nils Lofgren (with help from Bruce Springsteen) but this time . . . Paul McCartney's 2012 album Kisses on the Bottom was a classy, beautifully produced album of (mostly) covers from the Great American Songbook and beyond. Yes, it was slightly patchy . . . but for songs like Bye... > Read more

Hank Wilson: She Thinks I Still Care (1973)

13 Feb 2015

Back in '99, the country singer Garth Brooks adopted an alternate persona as the Australian-born pop singer "Chris Gaines" and released an album under that name. The idea was that Gaines was a real characterand Brooks would be playing him in a bio-pic to be called The Lamb. The line between fact and fiction was to be so blurred that people would think Gaines was real. The... > Read more

Moving Sidewalks: I Want to Hold Your Hand (1968)

12 Feb 2015

Elsewhere always enjoys finding odd versions of Beatles songs (we've had them barked by dogs and bellowed by tuneless Russian sailors) but this one isn't so much strange as . . . unusually unexpected, in a good way. Moving Sidewalks were the Texas band in which the young Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top found his feet and buzzing guitar style, which so impressed Eric Clapton at this time he went... > Read more

The Savage Rose: A Girl I Knew (1968)

11 Feb 2015

Since Richie Unterberger wrote Unknown Legends of Rock'n'Roll: Psychedelic Unknowns, Mad Genuises, Punk Pioneers, Lo-Fi Mavericks and More in 1998, many of the artists he unearthed (Wanda Jackson, the Chocolate Watch Band, Roky Erickson, Can etc) have enjoyed some considerable cult -- and sometimes even mainstream, success. Jeez, Sandy Denny whom he singled out even had a 19 CD set (yes,... > Read more

Joe Tex: Buying a Book (1969)

10 Feb 2015

The great Joe Tex has appeared at From the Vaults previously (with his wonderful soul screamer'n'stomper I Gotcha from '72) but this -- his 21st single (out of 33 US r'n'b chart hits between '65 and '78) -- deserves special mention. A narrative that is part (im)morality tale, philosophy-cum-humour and a bit of street-soul in the chorus, Buying A Book came out of Muscle Shoals and -- while a... > Read more

Doris Duke: To the Other Woman, I'm the Other Woman (1970)

9 Feb 2015

After Doris Duke - born Doris Curry then later singing as Doris Willingham -- recorded her album I'm a Loser at Capricorn Studios in Macon, Georgia in '69 with Jerry Williams Jnr they found it a hard sell and her solo career -- after years of session work and as a back-up vocalist -- looked finished just as it had begun. "I damn near lost everything with that one," said Williams... > Read more