Pixie Williams: Maori Land (1949)

 |   |  1 min read

Pixie Williams: Maori Land (1949)

If Pixie Williams had done nothing else, she would still be in the history books for what happened on October 3, 1948 when she turned up at a makeshift recording studio in Wellington, New Zealand, still wearing her hockey uniform.

On that day she sang with the Ruru Karaitiana Quintette on Ruru's Blue Smoke, the first song to be written, recorded and pressed on a local record label (TANZA) in New Zealand.

She was 17.

It was a huge hit (and was covered by the likes of Dean Martin) and it would have seemed Williams -- then living in a hostel and working in a battery factory -- would have a wonderful career.

It was, however, brief.

She recorded a number of songs with various musicians after Blue Smoke but, always shy, she moved south in 1951, sang a little, married and quietly faded from sight.

But that small number of recordings in two years has been collated as For the Record: The Pixie Williams Collection 1949-1951 and includes a number of very lovely songs , a few with a "Maori" theme like this one by the prolific songwriter Sam Freedman (1911-2008).

It was the first of Freedman's many songs (he wrote more than 300) to be recorded and extols the beauties of New Zealand/Aotearoa, aka Maori Land.

Hard to imagine a more appropriate singer on it than Pikiteora Maude Emily Gertrude Edith Williams.

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory use the RSS feed for daily updates, and check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

Linda Hubbard - Jul 25, 2011

I prefer Pixie singing Maori Land, to Blue Smoke. Blue smoke is so sad.

Linda

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Art Pepper: Smack Up (1960)

Art Pepper: Smack Up (1960)

Art Pepper hardly hid his dependency, so he must have been amusingly drawn to the title of this piece by Harold Land. Pepper had already served time for heroin possesion but after the sessions... > Read more

The Jiants: Tornado (1959)

The Jiants: Tornado (1959)

When the rock'n'roll wave hit Marion, Indiana in the late Fifties what else was a poor boy to do but play in a rock'n'roll band . . . The short-lived Jiants (1959-61) were an enthusiastic... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Bapi Das Baul: Sufi Baul; Madness and Happiness (Arc)

Bapi Das Baul: Sufi Baul; Madness and Happiness (Arc)

Perhaps the only Sufi musician many are familiar with is the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, but his uplifting, sky-scaling vocals and the joyous spiritual elevation of his music might recommend this... > Read more

John Martyn: Solid Air (1973)

John Martyn: Solid Air (1973)

When the great British singer-songwriter John Martyn died in January 2009 there was initially very little media coverage -- and then people realised the significance of this innovative and creative... > Read more