From the Vaults

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The Savage: Gimme Some Lovin' (1966?)

18 Jul 2012  |  <1 min read

No, this is not the Spencer Davis Group sped up but a Japanese group (person?) which appeared on the '91 album Slitherama; Psychedelic Tokyo 1966-1969, the third volume of Japanese garage bands on the Planet X label. And other than my copy came on white vinyl there is nothing more I can tell you about the album or the artists (who also included The Outcast, the Spiders, the Mops, the Jaguars... > Read more

The Church: The Unguarded Moment (2004)

17 Jul 2012  |  <1 min read

Most people know the Church's 1981 Unguarded Moment as a classic slice of paisley pop full of guitar jangle and a world-weary drone-meets-melody delivery (see the clip below). But the Liberation label offered "heritage acts" the chance to do acoustic treatments of their great songs on their Liberation Blue imprint, and there were any number of Austraian and New Zealand artists... > Read more

Graeme Gash: Watching Television (1981)

16 Jul 2012  |  1 min read  |  6

Posting a From the Vaults song off the Waves album of 1975 (here) was almost more trouble than it was worth. There was so much off-line (ie. e-mail) traffic along the lines of, "Loved that album, why isn't it on CD?") that I even formulated a standard reply. It went along the lines of "Thanks for your interest, but I don't know why it isn't. It should be". Someone... > Read more

Brix E. Smith and Nigel Kennedy: Hurdy Gurdy Man (1991)

13 Jul 2012  |  1 min read  |  2

Tribute albums can be dodgy: some are fun, and the more obscure the artists the better they get. But you are wise to avoid the Joy Division tribute A Means to an End which features those household names Honeymoon Stitch, Girls Against Boys, Starchildren and godheadSILO. Or any of those to Tom Waits. But how can you resist an album of Donovan songs sung by the likes of bands with names... > Read more

Vera Lynn: Everybody's Talkin' (1970)

12 Jul 2012  |  <1 min read

Although knows as "the Forces' Sweeheart" for her songs during the Second World War, the great Vera Lynn subsequently had a successful career with hits in the Fifties and Sixties (although her Rock'n'Roll Party Hits album might not have been the strongest of ideas). In 1970 she released the album Hits of the 60's: My Way and although you might have expected she'd cover the... > Read more

Mr Lee Grant: Tabatha Twitchit (1968)

11 Jul 2012  |  1 min read

New Zealand's Mr Lee Grant enjoyed a short but high profile career in the late Sixties on the back of his big voice (and distinctive hairstyle which was very Mary Quant). But Grant's voice wasn't big and rounded like his peers Tom Jones, PJ Proby, Englebert Humperdink etc, and nor did he have an emotional range like Scott Walker or Roy Orbison. Because he came up through the television... > Read more

Luv: You're The Greatest Lover (1978)

10 Jul 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

Next month -- August 2012 -- marks a sad day in global pop. On August 12 the off-and-on group Luv will play their final ever performance. If that means little to you it is perhaps because you weren't tuned in to bland, efficiently produced Abba-style dance pop in the late Seventies and early Eighties when this trio were at their peak. Perhaps more photogenic than musical, Luv were one... > Read more

Bob Dylan: George Jackson (1971)

9 Jul 2012  |  2 min read  |  1

Even before he plugged in an electric guitar and changed the landscape of rock possibilties in the mid Sixties, Bob Dylan had left behind overtly political music and his "protest" period. As the reluctant "spokesman for a generation" however many people's eyes still turned to him for inspiration and, worse, guidance. Even friends like Joan Baez urged him to make some... > Read more

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