Various Artists: Ten Guitars, the New Zealand Heartland Soundtrack (Universal)

 |   |  1 min read

Patea Maori: Poi E
Various Artists: Ten Guitars, the New Zealand Heartland Soundtrack (Universal)

Walking in to a CD/DVD store recently I heard the most unexpected song playing, it was Amigo by Black Slate, a British reggae band which had a brief fliration with the charts at the dawn of the Eighties with this pop-reggae crossover single.

They came to Auckland and played a Town Hall gig with Herbs and my recollection, seared in my memory actually, was of going to the gig and being one the very, very few Pakeha in the crowd.

A massive dreadlocked Mongrel Mob member stood at the centre of the lobby and, with a fist raised, shouted out, "This is our night, brothers".

And it was. Back then reggae, and especially that by Herbs, was a political music.

I don't think I have heard Black Slate's Amigo -- or even heard of the band -- since that night.

So why might they have been playing it on the shop's soundsystem? Because of this canny collection.

Whoever put this together knew that songs like Amigo, Eddy Grant's I Don't Wanna Dance, Freddy Fender's Before the Next Teardrop Falls and Wasted Days and Wasted Nights, Toots and the Maytall's Beautiful Woman, and Musical Youth's Pass the Dutchie actually mean something to New Zealanders. Some of those songs were hits in this country and few other places.

Then of course there are locals: Netherworld Dancing Toys (For Today), the Yandall Sisters (Sweet Inspiration), Ardijah (Watching You), Herbs (Sensitive to a Smile), Annie Whittle (Tequila Sunrise), Southside of Bombay (What's the Time Mr Wolf?), Patea Maori Club (Poi E) and others.

Yes, there are some dodgy inclusions (Pussycat's Mississippi? And Ben E King's Stand By Me comes from an earlier era) but overall this is a no-brain-required collection for a slightly sentimental bbq or party over summer.

And it lets Black Slate's Amigo get another airing after almost three decades. Who would have thunk it.

Share It

Your Comments

Vicky - Oct 29, 2012

This album actually does a good job at picking up some of the gaps in the Nature's Best collection, especially songs that were huge hits but ostensibly didn't make the cut in the APRA voting given they were covers (Sweet Lovers, anyone?) or just not 'cool' enough (Mark Williams, Jon Stevens etc).

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Various Artists: Late Night Tales; Django Django (Late Night Tales/Southbound)

Various Artists: Late Night Tales; Django Django (Late Night Tales/Southbound)

The pleasure in the on-going Late Night Tales series which started in 2001 is in just what obscurities the artists chosen to collate the compilation pull out. As aldums they often hang together... > Read more

The Impending Adorations: Further (bandcamp)

The Impending Adorations: Further (bandcamp)

The proposed quartet of beguiling download-only albums by Auckland's Paul McLaney under the name The Impending Adorations continues with this third installment, which -- given the quiet and almost... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Various People: A crowd at the futbol in Buenos Aires

Various People: A crowd at the futbol in Buenos Aires

Okay, this is from the "Maybe you had to be there part" shelf in the Elsewhere vaults but . . . In Buenos Aires we went to a huge soccer ("futbol") match at Rio del... > Read more

Somerset, Far North Queensland, Australia: Didn't build it, they didn't come

Somerset, Far North Queensland, Australia: Didn't build it, they didn't come

So this was to be the site of a city to rival Singapore, this short crescent of white sand fringed by palms and mangroves, and looking onto a deep channel towards a nearby island? On a quiet... > Read more