From the Vaults

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Tole Puddle: Frodo (1973)

26 Feb 2024  |  1 min read

From the late Sixties and far too far into the Seventies, the world was awash with bands -- mostly British -- who were immersed in Tolkien lore. Some like Led Zeppelin and T. Rex managed to incorporate it into whatever else they did, others were so drippy hippie that it became a lifestyle where their cosmology was determined by hobbits. There were bands named for characters and animals in... > Read more

Harry Partch: And on the Seventh Day, Petals Fell in Petaluma (excerpt, date unknown, possibly Sixties)

17 Feb 2024  |  1 min read  |  1

When Tom Waits swerved left from his barroom piano ballads and into using new or found sounds on his clank'n'grind albums in the mid Eighties, he was hailed as an innovator . . . but conspiciously few followed him down that path. These days albums where musicians use unusual instruments are increasingly common and any number will name-check American composer/instrument builder and musical... > Read more

Agnetha Faltskog: Jag var sa kar (1967)

12 Feb 2024  |  <1 min read

Previously at From the Vaults we have pulled a track by Benny Andersson from his pre-Abba band the Hep Stars. That came from an album Before Abba, only available at the Abba Museum in Stockholm. Here as promised then is another from that album, the first major solo hit for Agnetha with a song she wrote herself. It was inspired by the break-up with her boyfriend when she was 17 (the... > Read more

Jacques Dutronc: Le Responsable (1969)

5 Feb 2024  |  2 min read

Because British and American pop and rock dominated the Sixties, very few artists from outside those regions – we make exceptions for Canadians like Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, The Band and Leonard Cohen – made it into the ears of anyone but their own people. Yes, Kyu Sakamoto from Japan had a big hit, as did Los Bravos from Spain (although they weren't all Spanish). But France... > Read more

Pink Martini: Splendor in the Grass (2010)

29 Jan 2024  |  <1 min read

Popular culture being what it is, a group that can enchant one week is but a faded memory within months: anyone remember Polyphonic Spree? Pink Martini out of Portland were a bit like that. They were the project of the rather wonderful Thomas Lauderdale who founded the ensemble in the late Nineties to deliver his singular vision of Hollywood orchestral music from the romantic Forties,... > Read more

The Score: Please Please Me (1966)

22 Jan 2024  |  1 min read

Manchester band the Score was short-lived, just one single released at the end of 1966 when the world of pop was moving in a more psychedelic and exploratory direction after the Beatles' Rubber Soul and Revolver, and the Beach Boys' Good Vibrations single and Pet Sounds. So the Score covering what by then was a hoary old Beatles' song which they'd left behind seems like a strange choice.... > Read more

Elvis Costello: You Hung the Moon (2010)

15 Jan 2024  |  1 min read

On his 2010 album National Ransom, Elvis Costello gave dates and places for where his songs were located. In You Hung the Moon (a saying which means you were terrific/great/wonderful) he locates the song in "a drawing room in Pimlico, London, 1919". That date puts it just after the end of World War I (1914-1918).  It starts with Costello setting the scene at a... > Read more

Bud Shank: Blue Jay Way (1968)

8 Jan 2024  |  1 min read

The great jazz flute and sax player Bud Shank -- who died in 2009, aged 82 -- had some form in turning his hand to popular songs (that's his flute on the Mamas and the Papas' California Dreaming) but he also worked with the late Ravi Shankar, notably recording the thrilling piece Fire Night for Shankar's 1962 album Improvisations. The Magical Mystery album from which this is lifted -- which... > Read more

Young John Watson: Space Guitar (1954)

1 Jan 2024  |  1 min read

It's become common to hail Fifties out-there guitarists like surf king Dick Dale, Link Wray and others . . . but the man who became the great Johnny "Guitar" Watson has been somewhat sidelined. In the mid-to-late Seventies this journeyman -- who had done the hard roads with Little Richard, the wonderful rock'n'roll/soul shouter Larry Williams, Johnny Otis and many other greats --... > Read more

Jimi Hendrix: Little Drummer Boy/Silent Night/Auld Lang Syne (1969)

25 Dec 2023  |  <1 min read  |  1

"And so this is Christmas, and what have you done?" Time for reflection amidst (hopefully) enjoying family and friends . . . and we will all do that in our own way. Jimi did it this way. This was part of some long studio jamming, the first two songs here were recorded in December '69 with drummer Buddy Miles and bassist Billy Cox in the Record Plant in New York and... > Read more

The Hollies: If I Needed Someone (1965)

18 Dec 2023  |  1 min read  |  1

As we know the Beatles were great borrowers, stealers and adapters. From old rock'n'roll (Run For Your Life, I'm Down) to current Dylan (You've Got to Hide Your Love Away, Norwegian Wood) and Northern soul (Got to Get You Into My Life) they would listen, take an influence and reshape it in their own image. When you listen to the first version of Rain it was a pure slice of Searchers jangle... > Read more

Bob Dylan: The Christmas Blues (2009)

11 Dec 2023  |  <1 min read  |  1

No one would ask why Bob Dylan does something -- shilling for Victoria's Secret comes to mind -- or can be surprised by whatever it is. That said, the Yuletide album Christmas in the Heart in 2009 did catch everyone by surprise. Dylan croaking through Here Comes Santa Claus, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Little Drummer Boy, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and other seasonal delights?... > Read more

Geeshie Wylie and Elvie Thomas: Last Kind Word Blues (1930)

4 Dec 2023  |  1 min read  |  1

The mysterious Geeshie Wylie has appeared previously pulled From the Vaults with Skinny Leg Blues, the B-side of Last Kind Word Blues. As we mentioned then she recorded just six songs (that we know of) and there are few confirmed photographs of her. Seemingly just two at best. It's believed that she was of the Gullah people in Georgia and South Carolina and it's fairly certain Geeshie... > Read more

GHP: Rapture Riders (2004)

27 Nov 2023  |  <1 min read

One of the most famous tracks by GHP (British DJ/producer and remixer Mark Vidler), this breakthrough in mash-ups was so good it was approved by both Blondie and the Doors (whose Rapture and Riders on the Storm it pulled together). It was even included on Blondie's 2005 Greatest Hits collection. GHP (Go Home Productions) has created more than 200 mash-ups using everyone from Abba,... > Read more

The Beatnix: Stairway to Heaven (date unknown)

20 Nov 2023  |  <1 min read

There are any number of bands who can convincingly replicate the look, sound and songs of Beatles (our money always goes to excellent Bootleg Beatles). But Australia's Beatnix took a different path on their It's Four You album, a compilation which came out through Glenn A Baker's Raven reissue label in 2017. They covered very early songs that Lennon and McCartney wrote but never... > Read more

Ram John Holder: Pub Crawling Blues (1969)

6 Nov 2023  |  1 min read

To be honest Ram John Holder's name and music hadn't crossed our path since the very early Seventies when my younger sister somehow ended up with an album. Ram John was obscure even then and more so these days, despite him receiving a CBE in the Queen's Birthday honours in 2021 for services to drama and music. It was the first part of that award he was being acknowledged for because he... > Read more

Jah Wobble, The Edge, Holger Czukay: Snake Charmer, reprise (1983)

28 Oct 2023  |  1 min read

Yes, it was the Eighties as you can hear from the first stuttering synths on this overwrought supersession. Bassist Jah Wobble was post-Public Image Limited, The Edge from U2 clearly at a loose end (although a decade away from letting go on Achtung Baby) and multi-instrumentlist Czukay from Can probably quite liked the idea of getting into a studio for a series of free-flowing sessions.... > Read more

Neil Colquhoun: Talking Swag (1972)

15 Oct 2023  |  1 min read

For many years in the late Seventies/early Eighties, when working at Glenfield College in Auckland, I had no idea that the slight, quietly spoken music teacher Neil Colquhoun was the same person who had compiled an important collection of New Zealand folk songs for the book Song of a Young Country, and had subsequently produced a double album of the same name for Kiwi Pacific. On that album... > Read more

Sarah Vaughan: I Want You (1981)

11 Oct 2023  |  1 min read  |  2

Because we so often think of music as existing in distinct and different periods -- the Swing Era, Fifties rock'n'roll, the Beatles period etc -- we tend to forget just how much overlap there was. Punk, disco and Gary Glitter all co-existed . . . and people like Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby were around long enough to sing songs by the Beatles. And so was Sarah Vaughan who, in 1977,... > Read more

I Want You

Missing Persons: Words (1983)

9 Oct 2023  |  1 min read  |  1

Anyone who stumbled onto this LA New Wave band on You Tube a decade or so ago couldn't help note what others were saying: Lady Gaga had ripped off the style (and some of the sound) of frontwoman Dale Bozzio's sense of big-hair and glammed-up look. Perhaps more corrrectly Lady Gaga had simply taken it as a starting point, just as scantily-clad former Playboy bunny Bozzio took a little... > Read more