From the Vaults

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

El Hula: When the Devil Arrives At My Door (2003)

17 Sep 2018  |  <1 min read

Expat Kiwi Blair Jollands has just released a new album under his own name, 7 Blood. It is musically diverse and because he has been in London for so long that his name is barely known back here in his homeland. It's a struggle to get people to listen to an album by an unfamiliar name, let alone one where the tracks are so very different, and it is even harder if he isn't around to promote... > Read more

Bonnie Jo Mason: Ringo, I Love You (1964)

16 Sep 2018  |  1 min read

When the Beatles conquered the US in '64, there were literally scores of tribute songs, parodies and satirical pieces -- from the lament of The Beatles Barber to You Can't Go Far Without a Guitar (Unless You're Ringo Starr) and My Boyfriend's Got a Beatle Haircut. But few have gathered as much attention as this one. Not because it's any good (it isn't) but because of who sang it.... > Read more

Bob Dylan: All American Boy (1967)

7 Sep 2018  |  1 min read

American country-rocker Bobby Bare scored an unlikely hit with All American Boy back in '58 when his demo of the song for a friend Bill Parsons was chosen by the record company over Parson's version. Bare wrote it but Parsons got the credit, however what is of interest is how it was a kind of early run at songs which were cynical about success and fame. Bare's song – see the clip... > Read more

Nico: I'll Keep It With Mine (1967)

3 Sep 2018  |  1 min read

When the statuesque Nico was introduced into Velvet Underground by Andy Warhol, she was fresh from a relationship with Bob Dylan and was keen to record this song he had written. However she fell between the egos of Lou Reed and John Cale who were advancing a very different agenda, and it didn't include covers . . . even a good one written by Dylan. As Clinton Heylin notes in his... > Read more

Jimi Hendrix: Drifter's Escape (possibly 1970)

27 Aug 2018  |  <1 min read

Not only can we not tell you the date on this Jimi Hendrix cover of a Dylan song off his John Wesley Harding album but have no idea of any other details on it. It is known Hendrix recorded Drifter's Escape (maybe this version, maybe not) in May 1970 around the time he was working through Dolly Dagger, Freedom and others songs (including his own ballad Drifting which appeared on the... > Read more

Bob Dylan: Why Try to Change Me Now (2015)

13 Aug 2018  |  1 min read  |  1

We didn't go too far back into the Vaults for this one by Bob Dylan, it is from his excellent Shadows in the Night covers album, but of course the song goes way, way back. It was written by Cy Coleman (music) and Joseph McCarthy (lyrics) in 1952 and was recorded by Frank Sinatra later that same year, apparently among his last songs for Colombia before departing for Capitol. What Sinatra... > Read more

Jose M Bandera and Mario Montoya: Jumping' Jack Flash (2008)

10 Aug 2018  |  <1 min read

This being the 50thanniversary of the Rolling Stones' single Jumpin' Jack Flash which took them back to their tough r'n'b roots (along with nudges to county and folk on the subsequent Beggar's Banquet album) we go here – without making any claims – to a version of JJFlash. It was recorded for the project Stones World by saxophonist Tim Reis who pulled in artists from across the... > Read more

Gabor Szabo: Breezin' (1969)

9 Aug 2018  |  <1 min read

The Hungarian guitarist Gabor Szabo -- often described as a gypsy musician -- was a sophisticated player and composer, as witnessed by those who had success covering his material, not the least Carlos Santana who picked up Szabo's Gypsy Queen. Szabo studied at Berklee in Boston, played at Newport and in the early Sixties was in Chico Hamilton's group. He was named best new guitarist by Down... > Read more

Dayward Penny: Come Back Baby (1968)

29 Jul 2018  |  2 min read

Someone very astute once observed that every musical style that ever existed is being played somewhere, even now. Certainly the most arcane folk music from the backroads of Mississippi and Obscuristan seems to be out there in reissues. Okay, maybe ancient Egyptian music might be underrepresented out there . . . but you get the drift. The remarkable things also is that when a... > Read more

Phil Garland: Banks of the Waikato (recorded 1972)

23 Jul 2018  |  1 min read

Some years ago we posted a song From the Vaults by the great New Zealand folklorist and singer Neil Colquhoun, a modest, quiet and slight man I had the pleasure of knowing when he taught music at Glenfield College on Auckland's North Shore. At the time of that posting I noted that for some while I didn't click that the softly-spoken Neil Colquhoun was THE Neil Colquhoun who had one of the... > Read more

The Beatles: It's All Too Much (1969)

19 Jul 2018  |  1 min read

Recorded at the tail-end of the Sgt Pepper sessions in 1967 but not released until early in '69, this George Harrison-penned song has often been dismissed, perhaps largely because it appeared on the soundtrack to Yellow Submarine – a movie the Beatles had little to do with – and was there alongside Harrison's lemon-lipped and cynical swipe at their Northern Songs publishing company,... > Read more

Wee Willie Walker: There Goes My Used to Be (1967)

28 Jun 2018  |  1 min read

By the time Wee Willie Walker – who stands not too far over five foot in his bare feet – recorded this soul classic for the Goldwax label in Memphis the days of the great soul singers was almost at an end. Sure Al Green, Curtis Mayfield and Marvin and so on were still right there, and Otis lived on in the memory, but the world was changing and black music was heading in new... > Read more

Johnny Devlin: Matador Baby (1958)

25 Jun 2018  |  <1 min read

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 within the genre of Fifties rock'n'roll as we... > Read more

Damien Rice: Cannonball (2002)

18 Jun 2018  |  1 min read

Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice is perhaps the one we should thank – or blame – for Ed Sheeran, as this song was the young Sheeran's epiphany. Sheeran was 11 when, by his own account, he saw the clip for Cannonball “at about four o'clock in the morning, just this dude's mouth singing, and it turned out to be Cannonball.” Although very young Sheehan was... > Read more

James Carr: Dark End of the Street (1967)

15 Jun 2018  |  1 min read

One of the greatest, most pain-filled soul songs, Dark End of the Street was written by producer Chips Moman (Elvis, Aretha, Waylon and many more) and Dan Penn (whose writing credits are so legion as to be too long to list). And, for what it doesn't say, it is one of the most ambiguous lyrics too. Although they wrote it as a cheating song. That is certainly in there –... > Read more

Matthew Sweet: Scooby-Doo Where Are You? (1995)

4 Jun 2018  |  <1 min read

The recent release of his album Tomorrow's Daughter by one of Elsewhere's favourite power pop artists, Matthew Sweet, reminded us of this oddity which appeared on the compilation album Saturday Morning; Cartoons' Greatest Hits in the mid Nineties. The curator of that album Ralph Sall remembered how the bright colours of cartoons, crazy dissonant sounds and sonic effects, and very corny... > Read more

Yoko Ono: Nobody Sees Me like You Do (1981)

28 May 2018  |  <1 min read

Marlon Williams has sometimes picked up unusual songs to cover – not the least being Billy Fury's I'm Lost Without You – but to hear him do Yoko Ono's Nobody Sees Me Like You Do in concert recently was a real surprise. The original appeared on Ono's Season of Glass album, her first solo album after her husband John Lennon's murder in late '80. It was one of her many songs of... > Read more

Gene Pitney: A Town Without Pity (1961)

14 May 2018  |  1 min read  |  2

Because many of us used to read album covers with something approaching an obsession when we were first buying records, we got to know the names of songwriters (Charles and Inez Foxx always sounded so mysterious when I found them on the first Downliners Sect album) and even producers. So imagine my confusion when I saw the name "Gene Pitney" credited with playing piano on Little... > Read more

Bob Dylan: Up to Me (1974)

7 May 2018  |  1 min read  |  1

Never throw anything away, huh? And Bob Dylan's career, with the massive and on-going Bootleg Series, just keeps presenting outtakes, live material, different versions and sometimes many complete songs which went unreleased.   But even before the Bootleg Series was launched with the three volume collection in 1991, Dylan had already released the 53-song, five record set Biograph in... > Read more

Gary US Bonds: From a Buick 6 (1981)

30 Apr 2018  |  1 min read

Because he was just a great rock'n'soul, one-off belter in that dead air between Elvis-in-the-army and the Beatles-on-Ed Sullivan, there was no reason to think Gary Bonds would have had any second life in rock'n'roll. He was, for many, just a space-filler in history with minor hits like the exceptional Quarter to Three in '61 and . . . . Well, that was it, really. But like so many... > Read more