Waves: Arrow (1975)

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Waves: Arrow (1975)

Of the many New Zealand albums long overdue for a reissue, the sole album by the acoustic quartet Waves is among the most worthy.

The band of Michael Matthew, Kevin Wildman, Graeme Gash and David Marshall were straight out of the post-Crosby Stills and Nash school of close harmony singing, acoustic guitars and some pointed electric playing when the moment demanded it.

Their debut album -- produced by Peter Dawkins and engineered by Phil Yule -- was recorded in four days at Stebbing Studios in Auckland with a little help from the likes of Mike Chunn on bass (of Split Enz/Citizen Band fame), keyboard player Mike Harvey, Murray Grindlay of the Underdogs etc, here on harmonica), Mike Caen (of Streetalk) and others.

It appeared on the short-lived but worthy Direction Records out of Auckland.

Given the period -- Hello Sailor, Dragon etc -- the quiet and considered music of Waves seemed at odds with the prevailing wind, but perhaps that is why they are so fondly remembered by those who quite liked to sit and nod at home rather than tough it out in boozy bars.

Their musicianship was impeccable and songs like Gash's Wornout Rocker and Dolphin Song, and Wildman's Arrow, etched themselves into the memory of many.

Apparently they recorded a second album which was never released because Direction floundered, but Gash went on to release at least one solo album. I think.

My recollection is there was a one-off re-formation at some time in the Nineties (my flawed memory says a gig at the Mercury Theatre?) but that was it.

In the absence of a reissue, here then is a track lifted off scratchy old vinyl from one of the great lost New Zealand albums. And a clip of their memorable Dolphin Song.

Someone must have the masters . . . and the will for a reissue before the memory fades further and that Alzheimer thing claims the rest. 


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Jamie Macphail - Feb 16, 2012

This was an absolute favourite of mine! I had it on cassette and vinyl, both of which are long dead, so it is a treat to be able to hear these two tracks again!

I do still have the Graham Gash album After The carnival, which was just as good as this, too.

What gems lurk back there in the past!

Graham Clark - Mar 1, 2012

I remember this album very well - man what a classic and brilliant album - this is one of those albums I have searched to get hold of for years without any luck. It sure is overdue for re release. Thank you so much for posting this.

Mike Ashby - Mar 1, 2012

I saw these comments and went straight upstairs to dig out my copy. Fortunately we bought our 15 year old muso son a turntable for Christmas, so we were able to play our vinyl for the first time in 20 years. I had forgotten the album, but as soon as I saw the cover I could remember my favourite tracks - Arrow, Eloise, The Dolphin Song. my son was mystifed as to why we couldn't get it on iTunes or CD. But he was pretty stoked to have such a cool and rare album: he was quickly texting his guitarist to boast.

Lost treasures indeed - really classy musicians, and some great songs. Anywhere else in the world, theirs would have been a different story...

Simon Grigg - May 14, 2012

I understand the reason it's not been reissued is that Graeme doesn't want it out again. A shame...

Derek Tutton - Jun 14, 2012

What a blast from the past. My vinyl copy from 1975 traveled the world with me until I lost it somewhere in Denmark. I really loved that album. It opened my ears to kiwi music as a force. A REISSUE WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED

Nigel Horrocks - Jul 16, 2012

It is a wonderful album. I still play it even now and then and like you wish it was on CD so it could get a wider audience

Greg Cotmore - Oct 4, 2012

Like earlier commentators, I am grateful to be reminded of this jewel. I won a copy on Wellington's 2ZM back in 1975, and pretty much wore it out by 1977, especially "The Dolphin Song". Dug out ye olde vinyl and enjoying it once again - despite the crackles. Utterly deserves a CD reissue.

Alana - Oct 27, 2012

I inherited this album in a plain black record sleeve with Dolphin handwritten on one side and Arrow on the other. My guess is my father acquired it from his flatmate who worked in the music industry.
I've loved the album for years but I never knew anything more than the name of the band. Thanks so much for shedding a bit of light on the mystery!

Richard Beddek - Dec 28, 2012

I've just come across this site. Every few months I google "Waves" and Graham Gash to see if I can find out any more about this artist and great album. It is the only LP I have in my possession now, everything else is digital. For an introspective 16yr old back in 1975, this album was an awakening... listening to "The Dolphin Song" again is a delight!

Graeme Gash - Feb 15, 2013

I'm humbled by your comments. Sadly there are no masters to be found, but it's amazing what you can do these days with a vinyl that has never been played. Expect a reissue of WAVES on both vinyl and CD in the first half of 2013, along with a number of previously unreleased tracks. GRAHAM REPLIES: Judging by the laudatory comments on my posting and the many made to me personally(and the affection in which Waves is held), this is VERY good news indeed, Graeme. You found unplayed vinyl? Most people thrashed their copy!

Graeme Gash - Feb 24, 2013

I kept a small number of unplayed copies under the bed for the last 38 years. Now I know why.

natalie cox - Feb 25, 2013

I have spent years trying to replace my "Waves" LP after it was stolen. Thankyou Graeme for reissuing this beautiful album. How will we know when its available and how to get it? GRAHAM REPLIES: I am guessing when the good Mr Gash reissues the album Elsewhere will get a copy and will let you know!

David Marshall - Mar 9, 2013

Further to Graeme`s post here...the Waves album will sound great..regardless of no masters..also please check out the 2nd album songs which will be included with the re-issue...also hope and plan
to record some current songs...Kevin Wildman is writing some brilliant new material as is Graeme,Michael Mason and myself...many thanks for the comments and memories re: Waves LP - David Marshall

Mike Zander - Mar 11, 2013

Like so many that have commented I too was truely inspired by this album.I have a compact cassette that I use as a master and take copies for every day use.Should get someone to put it on CD if possible.Have heard Dolphin Song on the National program several times over the years,so they must have a copy.

Ian Tollemache - Mar 14, 2013

I was lucky enough to see Waves at the Town Hall when they opened for Split Enz in 75. at the time I thought that Enz would have to be good to beat that (they were) but I immediately bought the Waves album on vinyl (still have it) and later the Graeme Gash album After the Carnival - and I still love them both. Can't wait for the reissue, and hope we get some new music too...

Andrew Miller - Mar 26, 2013

Good news on the reissue. I even have the Waves badge and both 45s on Direction. Have had the privilege of working with David Marshall . I anticipate the new songs eagerly.

Chris Pike - Apr 8, 2013

Loved this album from first hearing in 1975. Wornout Rocker, Elouise, Dolphin Song, Arrow, Castle Gates... all great stuff. I remember Barry Jenkins in the 1970s saying on Hauraki that a second album was in the can. Have been impatiently awaiting its release ever since! I enjoyed compiling the Dolphin Song video clip linked here. Will be travelling to Ak to see Waves play at Real Groovy on 20 April. Fantastic.

Lindsay Fraser - Apr 16, 2013

Yay...'Waves' re-issue...THANKYOU, my dream come true!! How about making millions of Graeme Gash fans even happier still with a re-issue of 'After The Carnival' as well......please?

chris williams - Apr 16, 2013

Thank God your bed never collapsed Graeme, i'll be buying a copy this weekend you can be assured, but i'd still like to know who's got my copy of the single?...although by the time it was flogged it was on it's last legs...beautiful.

Mike Ashby - Apr 16, 2013

Me and my (now 16yo) son will be at Real Groovy. This is way cool. Special thanks to the great Graham Reid - this wouldn't have happened without the wonderfully strong and persistent voice from elsewhere. Power to your arm.

Rob Fagan - Apr 19, 2013

Great sound and story, so what have you boys been doing these past 38 years??

Penny - Apr 20, 2013

has always been my favorite album,I replaced a worn out tape with the record i found second hand from real groovy many years ago.My teenage daughters think Im mad,but I notice they all know the words.

Penny - Apr 20, 2013

has always been my favorite album,I replaced a worn out tape with the record i found second hand from real groovy many years ago.My teenage daughters think Im mad,but I notice they all know the words.

Mike Ashby - Apr 20, 2013

Went to the show, along with a couple of hundred others. Moving, in a very understated, modest and very kiwi way. And the sheer joy of four old masters playing great songs to a group of enthusiastic supporters of all ages - timeless. Fabulous, and looking forward to the next installment.

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