From the Vaults

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The King: Come As You Are (1998)

6 Jul 2012  |  1 min read

Although there aren't Elvis sighting in gas stations and supermarkets any more -- Presley would be in his late 70s -- there is still no shortage of lookalikes and impersonators around. While there seems no great call for Kurt Cobain and Mama Cass impersonators, those who swish their hair back and sneer a little seem to be always out there. One week I interviewed two of them and within... > Read more

Donovan: Season of the Witch (1966)

5 Jul 2012  |  1 min read

When the world was getting very mellow in the mid Sixties, Donovan -- who would subsequently sing Mellow Yellow and had already embarked on a folkadelic path --recorded the dark side of the changing world in this prescient single which seemed, in retrospect, to anticipate Charles Manson and Neil Young's Revolution Blues. It would be a year before George Harrison went to San Francisco and... > Read more

Unknown Artist: Celebrate Dayton (1990)

4 Jul 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

These days when cities want to "put themselves on the map" they tend to get behind big spectacle events (which almost invariably run over budget, don't make the promised returns and gouge rate payers for decades afterwards). However in 1990, Dayton in the Miami Valley had another idea. Put out an album in which the city's history and achievements were enumerated and have the story... > Read more

Dion: Lonely Teenager (1960)

3 Jul 2012  |  1 min read

Marketing unhappiness to teenagers isn't exactly hard or innovative. Just obvious really. And so way before grunge angst and the miserablism of Morrissey there were songs which aimed straight at a teenager's heart . . . and wallet. Dion -- who is still recording today, but as a very different artist -- must be one of the luckiest men in show business. With his band the Belmonts back in the... > Read more

Chris Clark: I Want To Go Back There Again (1967)

2 Jul 2012  |  2 min read  |  1

Of the few white acts on Berry Gordy's Motown label, Chris Clark -- with platinum blonde hair, pale skin and a kind of Marilyn Munroe appeal -- was undoubtedly the whitest. "Getting my singles played on radio was difficult," she said later. "Once [DJs] found out I was white they thought Motown had tried to trick them. "I always hesitate to say any of that, or that... > Read more

The Wailers: And I Love Her (1965)

27 Jun 2012  |  <1 min read

Although Bob Marley came to prominence in, and dominated, the Seventies, we often forget he was an exact contemporary of the Beatles in the Sixties. When they were in Abbey Road recording Can't Buy Me Love, the Waliers were in Studio One in Kingston asking the rude boys and razor gangs running wild in the streets to Simmer Down. Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingstone were also... > Read more

Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Big Ones Get Away (1992)

26 Jun 2012  |  1 min read

There are three distinct but overlapping public faces of Native American singer/songwriter Sainte-Marie: the woman who wrote and sang Universal Soldier and the theme to the film Soldier Blue in the Sixties; the permanent cast member of Sesame Street between '76 and '81; and a lifelong activist in the Native American movement. But there was always much more to her: she is a much exhibited... > Read more

Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Big Ones Get Away

Little Eva: The Trouble With Boys (1963)

25 Jun 2012  |  1 min read

When Little Eva died in 2003, most obituaries got in the story that she had been Gerry Goffin and Carole King's babysitter and, inspired by her odd dancing style, they penned The Locomotion for her, which was a massive hit in 1962. Little Eva -- born Eva Narcissus Boyd -- was 16 at the time.  That story seems unlikely or exaggerated, but it is true that Goffin-King also wrote... > Read more

Howard Morrison: Howie the Maori/Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town (1982)

21 Jun 2012  |  1 min read

The late Sir Howard Morrison was a complex character. He was a master of self-placement in the public domain (at Michael Jackson's side when the singer visited) and although some skewered him for snuggling up to politicians and dignitaries, he was also a populist and popular figure, and someone who throughout his life quietly -- and sometimes overtly -- advanced various Maori causes. He... > Read more

Unknown soprano: The Goodness of Chairman Mao is Deeper Than the Sea (1967)

20 Jun 2012  |  <1 min read

While there is doubtless some historic or artistic merit in many of tracks posted at From the Vaults, sometimes we pick them just because we can. There may well be artistic merit of some kind in this song and there is certainly historic significance. Whether that's enough to make anyone want to listen is another matter. Yes, the old record is scratchy and yes, Chinese sopranos can be an... > Read more

Coast: Why; A Peace Medley (1970)

18 Jun 2012  |  1 min read

The war in Vietnam threw up hundreds of songs -- taking about every political position imaginable -- but this track is interesting as an early example of a musical montage.  Not a "song" as such but a medley of vocal samples (including one from American Vice President Spiro Agnew), sound effects and hooks from anti-war songs by Neil Young and the Plastic Ono Band, this piece... > Read more

The Nu Page: When the Brothers Come Marching Home (1973)

15 Jun 2012  |  1 min read

The Nu Page were a one-single group signed to the Motown subsidiary label MoWest which released songs by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Thelma Houston and Tom Clay (whose version of Abraham Martin and John/What the World Needs Now is Love gave them a top 10 hit). Of Nu Page very little is known but this song -- celebrating the closing overs of American involvment in Vietnam -- had some... > Read more

Bob Dylan:Belle Isle (1970)

14 Jun 2012  |  1 min read

Because of the length and breadth of his catalogue, it is hardly surprising Bob Dylan should have appeared at From the Vaults from time to time (see here), not always with great, lost songs either. A few are real duds.  His myth-destroying Self Portrait double album of 1970 is one of those oddities you can return to and find the oddball rubbing shoulders with the truly awful and... > Read more

The Buckinghams: Foreign Policy (1969)

12 Jun 2012  |  <1 min read

Very few today would even remember the MOR group the Buckinghams from the late Sixties. Their big hit was Kind of Drag ("when your baby don't love you") -- although Hey Baby ("they're playing our song") got a little radio mileage. The Chicago-based Buckinghams (and think about that location in the late Sixties) were a close-harmony group like the the Ivy League out of... > Read more

Bike: Save My Life (1996)

11 Jun 2012  |  1 min read  |  2

Unless you actually know Andrew Brough, he is one of the great lost figures in recent New Zealand rock. One of the songwriters in Straitjacket Fits alongside Shayne Carter, he jumped/was pushed in 1992 after their second album Melt and briefly re-emerged in the mid Nineties when he seemed to get the wind behind him with Bike which became a vehicle for his distinctive, melodic songwriting.... > Read more

Ariel: Yellow Submarine (1997)

8 Jun 2012  |  <1 min read

Another track from the often hilarious and sometimes worrying Plastic Soul Vol 4 album which is a compilation of mad Beatles covers, many from Russia. Ariel weigh in with two entries, A Little Help From My Friends and this tempo-challenging stab at Yellow Submarine which ends up waltzing down the Danube. The band – which these days seems to consist of five staid middle-aged... > Read more

John Giorno: Suicide Sutra (1973)

7 Jun 2012  |  1 min read

An important warning before you listen: Do not push play if you are suicidal, off your medication or are having a really hard time of it right now. Especially don't push play if you have access to a firearm. This disturbing piece was written by New York poet John Giorno (born 1936) and appeared as a piece on his Dial-A-Poem phoneline which he founded in the late Sixties. People could ring... > Read more

The Inhalers: Nico on a Bike (1990)

6 Jun 2012  |  3 min read  |  1

When Nigel Beckford of Wellington got in touch two years ago about the album by the band Sven Olsen's Brutal Canadian Love Saga, he opened a door into a very strange and wonderful world. That album Songs From the Bottom of a Hilltop went into our Best of Elsewhere 2010 list and has, as expected, become a collector's item. There were only 400 pressed and it was an elaborate package of two... > Read more

Golden Harvest: Give a Little Love (1978)

5 Jun 2012  |  2 min read  |  7

In the late Seventies, Golden Harvest from Morrinsville were briefly riding a wave of success. Their song I Need Your Love (see clip below) had been a huge hit and won them single of the year, and their self-titled debut album -- recorded at Stebbings by Rob Aickin with Ian Morris engineering -- delivered on their promise. With the exception of Dylan's All Along the Watchtower delivered... > Read more

Screamin' Jay Hawkins: Monkberry Moon Delight (1972)

4 Jun 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

With Paul and Linda McCartney's Ram album being given the reissue treatment -- and album critically derided on release in '71 but a longtime Essential Elsewhere album and now picking up highly favourable reviews -- it is timely to post this track by the great Screamin' Jay Hawkins (who is interviewed here). Throughout his career McCartney to that point had drawn on interesting source... > Read more