loud, fast and out of control

Content tagged as loud, fast and out of control.

GANG OF FOUR, A 100 FLOWERS BLOOM: Would you like politics with that?

GANG OF FOUR, A 100 FLOWERS BLOOM: Would you like politics with that?

The ideas and ideologies which came in the late 70s with punk, new wave and anarcho-pop threw up some extraordinary bands, not the least of which was Gang of Four, an outfit from Leeds whose 1979 debut Entertainment! brought together minimalist punk-funk bass and drums with guitarist Andy Gill's switchblade guitar and howling feedback. Oh,...

LONDON ROCK AND ROLL SHOW 1972 (Rajon DVD)

LONDON ROCK AND ROLL SHOW 1972 (Rajon DVD)

What adjectives can you apply to this 80 minute concert film? Exciting, essential, hilarious, important, historic . . .?All of those, for sure. Since its heyday, rebellious and raw rock'n'roll of the Fifites has undergone periodic revivals (around the time of Lady Madonna, the early Seventies, late Seventies again with the Stray Cats...

RADIO BIRDMAN REMEMBERED: Detroit rock'n'roll . . . . outta Sydney, Australia

RADIO BIRDMAN REMEMBERED: Detroit rock'n'roll . . . . outta Sydney, Australia

Radio Birdman were one of the great Detroit rock bands, except they came from Sydney. Inspired by the Stooges and MC5, they blasted out of Australia in the pre-punk Seventies in one of those short, fast flights that would end in legend or obscurity. They managed to achieve both. Most people have never heard of them let alone their sonic...

PET ROCKS AND PUNK ROCK: Have A Nice Decade; The '70s Pop Culture Box considered

PET ROCKS AND PUNK ROCK: Have A Nice Decade; The '70s Pop Culture Box considered

It might have been famously "the decade that taste forgot", but the Seventies has spawned an interesting nostalgia for smiley faces (on e-mails!), terrific films such as Dazed and Confused . . . and this extraordinary box set of seven CDs which unflinchingly collects up the great (James Brown's The Payback, Freda Payne's Band of Gold...

SINISTER SONS AND DANGEROUS DAUGHTERS (Rocket/Triton DVD)

SINISTER SONS AND DANGEROUS DAUGHTERS (Rocket/Triton DVD)

Souped up and modified cars, teens running wild in the streets striking fear into the hearts of citizens, booze'n'dope, loud music their parents hate . . .  It could only be the Fifties, right? Anyone who thinks low-riders or boy racers smoking weed and playing pounding hip-hop on their car stereos are a new phenomenon need only look...

HOOKED: ANTI-DRUG FILMS FROM THE 30'S TO THE 70'S (Rocket/Triton DVD): Marijuana to murder in 15 minutes

HOOKED: ANTI-DRUG FILMS FROM THE 30'S TO THE 70'S (Rocket/Triton DVD): Marijuana to murder in 15 minutes

Every generation thinks it invents the same two things: swearing and sex. Equally, in the Western world at least, for the past century or so every generation gets the soundtrack it needs. And the drugs. Drug education is a fraught area (more so than movies about junkies or drugs) and the tendency has been to go for scare scenarios. No one in...

LOVE IS THE SONG WE SING; SAN FRANCISCO NUGGETS 1965-1970 (Rhino): Flowers and freak outs

LOVE IS THE SONG WE SING; SAN FRANCISCO NUGGETS 1965-1970 (Rhino): Flowers and freak outs

Any box set or collection which tries to mop up an era, genre or decade is probably doomed to failure, not from lack of genuine effort but because some artists (the big ones) don't want to be included. So you can get a multiple disc, very inclusive set of the Eighties for example and it doesn't have anything by Madonna, Prince, Springsteen and...

Larry Wallis: Police Car (1977)

Larry Wallis: Police Car (1977)

The punk era tossed up -- threw up? -- some real oddities, few more unexpected than Wallis who was no spring chicken in the world of short haired rock'n'roll for angry 18-year olds. He'd been in the music game for over a decade and in the Sixties had been in such household names as The Entire Sioux Nation and Shagrat. To be fair, Shagrat...

Various Artists: Come Fly With Me; Great New Zealand Rock’n’Roll 1964-72 (Sony)

Various Artists: Come Fly With Me; Great New Zealand Rock’n’Roll 1964-72 (Sony)

A decade ago it wasn’t easy to find collections of local rock’n’roll but today we’re tripping over them: John Baker’s excellent compilations of 60s garage band rock like Pie Cart Rock’n’Roll and Get A Haircut (the latter coming up to the D4 and Datsuns); the Johnny Devlin collection; EMI’s Day in...

Frank Zappa: I'm the Slime (1973)

Frank Zappa: I'm the Slime (1973)

The life, times, opinions and music of Frank Zappa are too huge and diverse to come to terms with easily. What is beyond question (and some of his music and opinions were questionable) is that the man had a rare and impressive musical reach -- from doo-wop to orchestral music and all points between and beyond -- and when he was in satirical mode...

Nick Curran and the Lowlifes: Reform School Girl (Eclecto Grooves/Southbound)

Nick Curran and the Lowlifes: Reform School Girl (Eclecto Grooves/Southbound)

I'm sure the heavily tattooed Curran from Austin, Texas wouldn't make any claims of great originality (although he does pen more than half this album, his song titles include Reel Rock Party, Psycho, Lusty L'il Lucy, Filthy and so on). But he simply slices off large and rowdily enjoyable slabs of Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Little Richard, Gene...

The Fall: Your Future Our Clutter (Domino)

The Fall: Your Future Our Clutter (Domino)

Mark E Smith of Britain's marathon-running post-punk agit-prop outfit The Fall, is nothing if not consistent: He's still annoyed at the world and putting his anger and observations into a brittle, confrontation garage-noise, electro-distorted musical context. His vocals on Bury Parts 1 and 3 here come from the bottom of some sulphur...

ROTTEN: NO IRISH, NO BLACKS, NO DOGS by JOHN LYDON: Reviewed 1994

ROTTEN: NO IRISH, NO BLACKS, NO DOGS by JOHN LYDON: Reviewed 1994

“With the Sex Pistols we were hated, absolutely despised. There was no audience there at all to any great extent. We sold a few records in a small banana republic called Britain.” – John Lydon John Lydon -- better known as the sneering Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten -- enjoys lying. He says as much in his...

Larry Williams: Slow Down (1959)

Larry Williams: Slow Down (1959)

R'n'b/rock'n'roll singer-songwriter Williams didn't have a particularly long time in the spotlight -- he appeared in '57 and was effectively gone from the charts within three years -- but his small catalogue influenced a generation of British singers, among them John Lennon who was a huge fan. In fact the Beatles covered three Williams'...

WANDA JACKSON INTERVIEWED (2010): The 72-year old teenager

WANDA JACKSON INTERVIEWED (2010): The 72-year old teenager

As a teenager barely out of school, Wanda Jackson – “the sweet girl with the nasty voice” as she became known – toured with and dated Elvis Presley; scored minor hits with Mean Mean Man, Fujiyama Mama (big in Japan in '58) and her signature song, the larynx-tearing invitation Let's Have a Party in 1960....

Hotlegs: Neanderthal Man (1970)

Hotlegs: Neanderthal Man (1970)

It's not unusual for studio experiments to end up on records, less common that they become the record itself -- as was the case with this single. To backtrack a bit. The successful British songwriter Graham Gouldman who had penned hits for Herman's Hermits (No Milk Today), the Yardbirds (For Your Love, Heart Full of Soul, Evil Hearted You)...

Johnny Devlin: Matador Baby (1958)

Johnny Devlin: Matador Baby (1958)

It's widely known that Johnny Devlin was New Zealand's own Elvis Presley -- but unlike Elvis, Devlin wrote his own material. Certainly he covered the hits of the day -- Hand Jive, Wild One, Bony Maronie and so on. But he also wrote some creditable originals like Hard to Get, High Heeled Shoes, Nervous Wreck and so on -- which all were firmly...

Kay Starr: The Rock and Roll Waltz (1955)

Kay Starr: The Rock and Roll Waltz (1955)

Cheap Trick scored a lot of favourable press for their Surrender (see clip below) in which the kid wakes up to find mum and dad rocking and rolling (rolling numbers) and having his Kiss records out. If that song had a forefather it was perhaps this gimmicky and safer song by Kay Starr whose chart career had taken a bit of fall until she...

THE JOE STRUMMER STORY, a documentary by MIKE PARKINSON (DV1 DVD/Southbound)

THE JOE STRUMMER STORY, a documentary by MIKE PARKINSON (DV1 DVD/Southbound)

With each passing year the myth and power of Joe Strummer seems to grow as his story has its contradictions and inconveniences ironed out. His wilderness years after the Clash are all but ignored and increasingly it seems as if Strummer moved seamlessly from agit-prop rocker to senior statesman who took his message of tolerance and commitment to...

Carl Perkins: Dixie Fried (1956)

Carl Perkins: Dixie Fried (1956)

Known mostly these days as the writer of Blue Suede Shoes (he sang it before Elvis' chart-topping cover), Carl Perkins was the man who was the most hillbilly cat of them all in the early rock'n'roll era. Looking like a cadaver with his sunken cheeks, and a heroic drinker, the married Carl was the Hank Williams of rockabilly . . . and Sam...

Joe Boot and the Fabulous Winds: Rock and Roll Radio (1958)

Joe Boot and the Fabulous Winds: Rock and Roll Radio (1958)

From The Ventures (Walk Don't Run) and the Kingsmen (the garageband classic Louie Louie of '63, see clip) through Jimi Hendrix, the grunge bands (Nirvana, Mudhoiney, Pearl Jam etc) to the Posies, Sleater-Kinney and Modest Mouse, the Pacific Northwest has been a breeding ground for rock'n'roll. It's fitting that it should be the home the EMP...

COMIC BOOK CONFIDENTIAL, a documentary by RON MANN (DV1/Southbound)

COMIC BOOK CONFIDENTIAL, a documentary by RON MANN (DV1/Southbound)

This 90 minute doco may look dated now -- and it is rather superficial in some respects -- but it offers a useful comicshistory.001 overview of the US major players from just before the Second World War (given scant attention) and into the more interesting, diverse and controversial period of the Fifties and mid-Sixties. Looked at from this...

The Flys: Love and a Molotov Cocktail (1978)

The Flys: Love and a Molotov Cocktail (1978)

1977 was a confusing year in Britain: pub-rockers Dr Feelgood were at an all-time peak, the Sex Pistols, the Clash and others advanced the punk agenda, and off on the margins were power-pop bands which hadn't quite seen the changes coming. The four-piece Flys out of Coventry -- a little distant from the London scene -- were in the latter...

EDGEPLAY; A FILM ABOUT THE RUNAWAYS by Victory Tischler-Blue (Shock DVD, 2004)

EDGEPLAY; A FILM ABOUT THE RUNAWAYS by Victory Tischler-Blue (Shock DVD, 2004)

Clearly timed to ride the coattails of the film The Runaways about this seminal all-girl band of the the Seventies which launched the careers of Joan Jett and Lita Ford and (based on the memoir Neon Angel by lead singer Cherie Currie), the re-presentation of a doco made by the band's former bassist Vicky Blue should be an object lesson in...

Jerry Lee Lewis: The Return of Jerry Lee (1958)

Jerry Lee Lewis: The Return of Jerry Lee (1958)

When Jerry Lee Lewis arrived in Britain in May 1958 the rock'n'roll crown was his for the taking. He was the wildman at the piano with crazy stacked-up hair, had delivered seminal, sweat-inducing hits with Whole Lotta Shakin' and Great Balls of Fire, and he was repressed sex personified and unleashed. He may have been a country boy at heart...

Various Artists: Teach Me to Monkey (Vampisoul/Southbound)

Various Artists: Teach Me to Monkey (Vampisoul/Southbound)

Chris Kenner wasn't kidding when he wrote Land of 1000 Dances in '62 – which became a minor hit for Cannibal and the Headhunters, then the wicked Wilson Pickett and dozens of others. In the early 60s it seemed like America was kicking up a new dance craze – the Monkey, the Pony, the Jerk, the Mashed Potato, the Watusi...

Various Artists: All We Wanna do is Rock (Bear Family/Yellow Eye)

Various Artists: All We Wanna do is Rock (Bear Family/Yellow Eye)

The great thing about Fifties rock'n'roll songs is they give you more bang for your buck -- this single disc from the German reissue label Bear Family (sort of Ryko-and-Rhino out of Hambergen) delivers 36 -- yep, count 'em, 36 -- tracks "carefully selected for moondogs and hepcats". There are many familiar names here for sure and a...

Various Artists: The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle (EMI)

Various Artists: The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle (EMI)

Although very different, Brian Eno and Malcolm McLaren had one trait in common: after the event both would attribute philosophical and/or political meaning to something they had done. In the case of the late McLaren, the prime mover behind the Sex Pistols -- Johnny Rotten/John Lydon denies he was ever their "manager" -- would have...

Brave Combo: My Girl Lollipop (1982)

Brave Combo: My Girl Lollipop (1982)

It was a brave combo indeed that took piano accordion polka-rock to the good people of Denton, Texas -- but in the early Eighties this four-piece pulled together ska, Tex-Mex, rock, waltzes, rumba, zydeco and tango (with polka) and delivered their own versions of Hendrix's Purple Haze, Iron Butterfly's Inna Gadda Da Vida and The Twist, Perfidia...

Various Artists: Head Over High Heels; Strong and Female 1927-59 (Trikont/Yellow Eye)

Various Artists: Head Over High Heels; Strong and Female 1927-59 (Trikont/Yellow Eye)

Much as some might like to think strong females arrived with Madonna (or maybe in the late Sixties with feminism), there were always those independent, tough-minded and free-spirited women out there -- especially in the world of jazz and blues. This collection which opens with Pearl Bailey and You Can be Replaced (from her album Pearl Bailey...

Roy Hall: Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On (1955)

Roy Hall: Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On (1955)

The origins of some songs are lost, but often a definitive version will stand out. So it is with Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On which exists in the minds of most as the Jerry Lee Lewis hit in '57. Most would even think that Lewis wrote it. He didn't, although his whipped-up version is almost a different song than the one which existed...

Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood: Down from Dover (1972)

Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood: Down from Dover (1972)

Interest lies perhaps not in this dark song but what is written in ballpoint on the cover of the album I have. A thick line is drawn through the title on the back cover and in block capitals beside it is written "DON'T PLAY". There is even a scratchy ballpoint scribble through the title on the record itself. The other telling...

Various artists: The Cramps' Jukebox (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

Various artists: The Cramps' Jukebox (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

The Cramps' passion for old rock'n'roll is well known: they are archivists for music styles, bands and old singles which might have otherwise been forgotten or lost. This double disc (with a useful backgrounder booklet) pulls together 30 obscure songs on one disc and on the other Lux Interior and Poison Ivy speak about their passions through...

Jerry Lee Lewis: Mean Old Man (Verve Forecast)

Jerry Lee Lewis: Mean Old Man (Verve Forecast)

In a You Tube comment someone said Jerry Lee looked a little rough for someone only 74 years old. In his defense -- he's actually 75 now -- they were pretty full years, especially in the late Fifties, and he wasn't called the Killer for nothing, the man gave it all on the night. And of course there were the tragic (and slightly mysterious,...

Del Shannon: Keep Searchin' (1964)

Del Shannon: Keep Searchin' (1964)

Del Shannon -- who died in 1990 age 55 -- is best and perhaps only remembered for the great chart-topping single Runaway of '61, even now a thrilling slice of energetic pop. But far from a one-hit wonder as classic hits radio would have you believe, he also did top 10 business with Hats off to Larry and Little Town Flirt -- and he was smart...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Jim Jones Revue: Burning Your House Down (Liberator)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Jim Jones Revue: Burning Your House Down (Liberator)

You really gotta love the JJ Revue who deliver hotrod rock'n'roll which draws from the Fifties (Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis) as filtered through the most wild and dissolute of Rod Stewart/Faces (or the Quireboys with more rocking honky-tonk blues in their soul) with the kind of trash energy of Grinderman. Produced by Jim Sclavunos (who...

Various Artists: Murder; Songs from the Dark Side of the Soul (Trikont/Yellow Eye)

Various Artists: Murder; Songs from the Dark Side of the Soul (Trikont/Yellow Eye)

The seemingly endless CSI and such like on television, movies about killers and cops, as well as news reports of real life murders suggests that what began with Cain and Abel still fascinates us -- and we didn't need Nick Cave to tell us that murder songs were kind of interesting. This 23 song r'n'b, blues and country collection brings...

Honeyboy: Bloodstains on the Wall (1953)

Honeyboy: Bloodstains on the Wall (1953)

Not much is known about Honeyboy (Frank Patt) other than he was born in 1928 in Fostoria, Alabama -- and that this song, considered his finest outing on the Speciality label in the Fifties, sold around 50,000 copies. You can see why: Jimmy Liggins plays tense and moody guitar, Gus Jenkins offers similar low key piano . . . and the lyric...

Pat Boone: No More Mr Nice Guy (1997)

Pat Boone: No More Mr Nice Guy (1997)

When the cleanest white-bread rock'n'roll singer of the late Fifties sings "no more Mr Nice Guy, no more Mr Clean" you know he's well in on the joke -- and that if you bought the album this came from (In a Metal Mood) then the joke was on you. First, they might have been hard rock songs he was covering (Smoke on the Water with...

PAT BOONE INTERVIEWED (1995): Still the same Mr Nice Guy

PAT BOONE INTERVIEWED (1995): Still the same Mr Nice Guy

If conventional wisdom and the rock'n'roll history books are to be believed, Pat Boone was one of the villains - simply because he was so nice. He was the square when his contemporaries were the sneering, hip-swinging Elvis, the outrageous Little Richard and the adult, knowing Chuck Berry. Boone – who turned down a film role...

Public Image Limited; Death Disco (1979)

Public Image Limited; Death Disco (1979)

Described by Peter Shapiro in Turn the Beat Around; The Secret History of Disco as "perhaps the most uncompromising record ever to make the Top 20 chart [in Britain]" this extraordinary piece is not just musically demanding but is also John Lydon dealing with the death of his mother -- in a warped dance/disco song. Curiously this...

Elton Motello: Jet Boy Jet Girl (1978)

Elton Motello: Jet Boy Jet Girl (1978)

Most people have heard Belgian faux-punk Plastic Bertrand's one-off single Ca Plane pour moi of '77 (see clip). Fewer will have heard this bastard half-sister version by the UK rock'n'roll punk band Elton Motello (also the adopted name of singer Alan Ward) out of South London around the same period. But the backstory is a little...

Various Artists: The Rarest Rockabilly Album in the World Ever! (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

Various Artists: The Rarest Rockabilly Album in the World Ever! (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

As with the blues, rockabilly is always out there, but only occasionally gets its time in the spotlight when artists such as the revivalist Stray Cats or -- more recently -- the great original Wanda Jackson get some serious attention. Expect then for rockabilly -- the up-tempo white country-based music which was a precursor to rock'n'roll in...

Jimmie John: Solid Rock (1959)

Jimmie John: Solid Rock (1959)

Rockabilly is a genre that seems to enjoy the fact that it doesn't change or grow, develop or move too far from a simple template of a backbeat and the invitation to dance. It is shamelessly self-referential (in truth it just borrows or steals from itself) and back in the early Fifties when it emerged it didn't take it too long to establish...

Elvis Wade: Professional Lovemaker (1977)

Elvis Wade: Professional Lovemaker (1977)

In an alternate lifetime, singer Wade Cummings could have been Elvis Presley, the man he resembled and came to impersonate. He was born into a poor but musical family in rural Tennessee (his dad a moonshiner) and he was the youngest of nine children. That's the kind of almost mythical backstory we like in our rock stars. As a kid he saw...

Various Artists: Kris Needs Presents Dirty Water; The Birth of Punk Attitude (Future Police/Southbound)

Various Artists: Kris Needs Presents Dirty Water; The Birth of Punk Attitude (Future Police/Southbound)

This excellent, wayward and musically diverse double disc is like a mix tape/vanity project from a friend who just wants to get down his/her favourite raw rock'n'roll/mad attitude songs in the one place for you, the stuff that has been inspirational and still stands up. Here UK rock journalist (Zigzag) and sometimes band frontman Needs takes...

The Remains: Don't Look Back (1966)

The Remains: Don't Look Back (1966)

Pub quiz time: Which four-piece Sixties group quickly became adept at wrting their own material, built a local following, eventually appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, hung out with the Byrds in Hollywood, listened to Indian music . . . and played their final concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on August 29, 1966 before a crowd of...

? and the Mysterians: Can't Get Enough of You Baby (1967)

? and the Mysterians: Can't Get Enough of You Baby (1967)

It's a common enough sentiment, but in the fast-changing world of pop "If it ain't broke, why try to fix it?" just doesn't work. That idea would have kept the Beatles singing variants of She Loves You and I Want To Hold Your Hand for a few years and in all likelihood they would have become one of those rapidly redundant pop...

Dale Hawkins: Oh! Suzy-Q; The Definitive and Remastered Edition (Hoodoo)

Dale Hawkins: Oh! Suzy-Q; The Definitive and Remastered Edition (Hoodoo)

If he'd done nothing else other than his tough-edged swamp-rockabilly hit Suzy-Q, Dale Hawkins out of Louisiana would still have made the rock'n'roll history books: Suzy-Q was co-written with guitarist James Burton who plays the stinging and memorable solo, and it took Hawkins to the Apollo in Harlem where he was the first white...

WANDA JACKSON INTERVIEWED (2011): Still ready to have a party

WANDA JACKSON INTERVIEWED (2011): Still ready to have a party

Wanda Jackson – at 73 – has had a number of careers: in the Fifties she was a rockabilly star and touring with (and dating) Elvis Presley while delivering belters like Fujiyama Mama and the classic throat-tearer Let's Have a Party; in the Sixties she went back to her country roots as rock'n'roll faded; by the Seventies she had...

Wanda Jackson: The Party Ain't Over (Third Man)

Wanda Jackson: The Party Ain't Over (Third Man)

The first Jack White-produced single from this album -- a shuddering Shakin' All Over and a discreetly revised version of Amy Winehouse's You Know I'm No Good -- were hints that White wasn't going to simply reheat the career of this 73-year old rockabilly star with some rock'n'roll nostalgia. In an interview with Elsewhere for this album...

Gang of Four: Content (Growland)

Gang of Four: Content (Growland)

There's enjoyable nostalgia -- for example the Hollies who, against expectation delivered a fine show some weeks ago -- and then there are old bands who still sound relevant, like Children's Hour who delivered a deafening but impressively irritable set at the Auckland Laneway's Festival just days before the Hollies served up their classic...

THE CRAMPS LIVE (ABC/Triton DVD)

THE CRAMPS LIVE (ABC/Triton DVD)

Anyone coming to this 50 minute DVD hoping to get a whiff of the Cramps' psychobilly rock'n'roll black magic is bound to be disappointed. The intensity of their performances was at its best on small stages in crowded (cramped?) rooms but here they are stranded on a huge stage at the 2006 Lokerese Festival in Belgium. So try as he might,...

Roy Loney and the Phantom Movers: Born to be Your Fool (1979)

Roy Loney and the Phantom Movers: Born to be Your Fool (1979)

Some songs hook you in with a great opening line or couplet, something which just makes you want to hear more. There are plenty of them about and it's a fine rock'n'roll parlour game after a few drinks to start ticking them off. Feel free to add to these. "When you get out of the hospital, let me back into your life . . ." (Modern...

Bill Haley and His Comets: Oriental Rock (1958)

Bill Haley and His Comets: Oriental Rock (1958)

There are a few views of rock'n'roll pioneer Bill Haley whose Rock Around the Clock provided the revolutionary soundtrack to the '55 Glenn Ford movie Blackboard Jungle: that he was the rebel voice of a post-war generation . . . or that he was the accidental John the Baptist to Elvis' rock'n'roll Jesus. There is the view that Haley -- who...

Twinkle: Terry (1964)

Twinkle: Terry (1964)

There's quite a tradition of death ballads in rock -- Pearl Jam tapped into it when they covered Last Kiss which had been recorded to no great public interest by Wayne Cochran in '61. Perhaps the greatest of them all was Leader of the Pack ("look out look out look out!") by the Shangri-Las in '64. Coincidentally at exactly the same...

The Scavengers; The Scavengers (2003 vinyl issue of '78 sessions)

The Scavengers; The Scavengers (2003 vinyl issue of '78 sessions)

We all have musical moments written into our autobiographies. The emblems afterwards -- the album, concert ticket or scar beneath the eye -- are inadequate to convey the emotion you experienced, whether it was when Tina Turner belted out your favourite-ever song to you personally (and 35,000 others), or when you got nailed at Zwines in...

LaVern Baker: Voodoo Voodoo (1961)

LaVern Baker: Voodoo Voodoo (1961)

The sudden revival of Wanda Jackson's career - courtesy of Jack White and the album The Party Ain't Over in early 2011 -- has singled her out as a great female rock'n'roller at a time (the late Fifties) when she was out there on her own amongst all the boys. Not exactly true. There was also -- albeit briefly -- Janis Martin (whose...

Peter Lewis and the Trisonic: Four City Rock (1960)

Peter Lewis and the Trisonic: Four City Rock (1960)

Outside of folk songs (eg this droll one), New Zealand has had no great history of name-checking local places in rock music. But back in 1959 Jack Urlwin of the Christchurch label Peak scribbled down some words and handed them to young singer Peter Lewis and his guitarist Pat Nihonihoni. The scribble didn't have a title but they were words...

JUSTIN BIEBER: TEEN IDOL, a doco by MAUREEN GOLDTHORPE

JUSTIN BIEBER: TEEN IDOL, a doco by MAUREEN GOLDTHORPE

When Justin Bieber seemingly appeared out of nowhere to the soundtrack of cute r'n'b pop and screaming girls, people who should have known better -- especially those media commentators who had been there for Beatlemania in their own youth -- just seemed idiotic in their damning and condescending comments. They came off as more silly than...

BIEBERMANIA!, a film by THOMAS GIBSON

BIEBERMANIA!, a film by THOMAS GIBSON

In a cover which looks about as far from exciting as that exclamation mark wants us to believe this is, comes yet another unauthorised biography -- this from a director of E! Hollywood True Story -- about a young man for whom no hyperbole is too understated. Here again we are told of his remarkable rise from Stratford in Ontario -- "a...

Kitty, Daisy and Lewis: Smoking in Heaven (Sunday Best)

Kitty, Daisy and Lewis: Smoking in Heaven (Sunday Best)

While some have be quite taken by KD&Lewis' retro look and sound -- which is undeniably entertaining on the surface and live -- I have remained immune and indifferent to their charms. And nothing on this album of all originals can persuade me to be otherwise. These songs sound lame when they aren't just plain dull, or working out...

The Pictones: Hashish (1962)

The Pictones: Hashish (1962)

Not a lot is known about New Zealand's Pictones out of Levin, an instrumental group who delivered a nice line in country'n'western rock'n'roll on their 1961 single Pistol Packin' Mama which opened with galloping hooves, a whip cracking and a whinny. (The flipside of which was My Bonnie, recorded around the same time as the Beatles did it in...

Jimmy Patton: Okies in the Pokey (1959)

Jimmy Patton: Okies in the Pokey (1959)

Jimmy Patton (1931-89) was never really a rockabilly singer although this, his biggest hit, was certainly a rave-up in that style. But Patton's heart had always been in hillbilly country, right up until Elvis came along. Like so many others he grabbed a backbeat and made the shift sideways into rock'n'roll, and specifically the rockabilly...

1950s RADIO IN COLOUR; THE LOST PHOTOGRAPHS OF DEEJAY TOMMY EDWARDS by CHRISTOPHER KENNEDY

1950s RADIO IN COLOUR; THE LOST PHOTOGRAPHS OF DEEJAY TOMMY EDWARDS by CHRISTOPHER KENNEDY

Cleveland, Ohio has a formidable reputation as a rock'n'roll city -- today it is the home of the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame and Museum -- but you'd have to guess there was more to it than just that old adage about "something in the water". Back in the Fifties there, as everywhere, the emerging musical culture was fed by radio,...

Chubby Checker: Mexican Hat Twist (1962)

Chubby Checker: Mexican Hat Twist (1962)

It's entirely possible Chubby Chcker knew his time was up when Parkway released his album Twist with Chubby Checker. On the back cover he looks alarmed. Maybe he'd seen the inner sleeve where five other of his Twist albums were advertised -- Your Twist Party with the King of Twist Chubby Checker, Don't Knock the Twist, Let's Twist Again, For...

JERRY LEE LEWIS, THE LEAN YEARS 1965-69; The singer not the song

JERRY LEE LEWIS, THE LEAN YEARS 1965-69; The singer not the song

Given the amount of death and damnation which has attended Jerry Lee Lewis' life, it seems remarkable that in 2012 -- at age 76 -- he is still with us. He has seen off wives, children, cousins, friends, the FBI, prison sentences, more liquor and amphetamines than we can imagine, honkytonk nights, rivals like Elvis . . . And he's still here....

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