Various Artists: Waiata; Maori Showbands, Balladeers and Pop Stars (EMI)

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Rim D Paul and the Quin Tikis: Poi Poi Twist
Various Artists: Waiata; Maori Showbands, Balladeers and Pop Stars (EMI)

After the interest in -- and award-winning success -- of Chris Bourke's marvellous every-home-should-have-one book Blue Smoke, this double disc collection seems almost mandatory.

It scoops up a swag of showbands (the Maori Troubadours, the Quin Tikis, Dalvanius and the Fascinations, the Maori Volcanics) and many mainstream performers (Jay Epae, John Rowles as Ja-Ar and also with with his huge international hit If I Only Had Time as well Tania, Eddie Low, Bunny Walters etc). Here too are the Howard Morrison Quartet (also Gerry Mertito and Howard on solo material) and much more.

Here, to fill gaps in archives, are Johnny Cooper (the Maori Cowboy) with his somewhat lame version of Rock Around the Clock (the first local rock'n'roll song but with Ken Avery and his jazz players grappling with a backbeat) and Rim D Paul and the Quin Tikis with Poi Poi Twist.

So there is early rock'n'roll, jazzy doo-wop (Ricky May with Bob Paris and the Peppermints) alongside Frankie Stevens, Billy TK and Powerhouse, Mark Williams (Yesterday Was Just the Beginning of My Life) and Billy T James.

This is a wide swathe of popular music and comes with typically useful liner notes in the booklet which are the hallmark of these compilations pulled together by historian/enthusiast Grant Gillanders.

Essential in any understand of Kiwi/Maori culture. Fun too. 

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