Graham Reid | | 2 min read
In the late Seventies, Golden Harvest from Morrinsville were briefly riding a wave of success. Their song I Need Your Love (see clip below) had been a huge hit and won them single of the year, and their self-titled debut album -- recorded at Stebbings by Rob Aickin with Ian Morris engineering -- delivered on their promise.
With the exception of Dylan's All Along the Watchtower delivered faithfully in the Hendrix rendition, all the songs were solid, radio-friendly originals. They were managed by Benny Levin, signed to Festival, had their own sound system, and they undertook a four month national tour (although spread it out, only playing 12 dates).
Don McLean's manager Herb Gart took a mix of the album to the States and according to Levin received a favourable reaction from people in New York.
And with Kaukau brothers -- lead guitarist Kevin, main songwriter Gavin on rhythm guitar, drummer Mervin and Eru on bass -- they were a band which could actually play. Kevin would peel off Hendrix licks with ease. Singer Karl Gordon joined them just 15 months before their debut recordings but quickly contributed to the song writing.
Live they were much heavier than the pop on their album suggested.
It was all looking so promising and Australia beckoned. And then . . .
These days Golden Harvest are known as a one-hit wonder who disappeared.
Perhaps the reason lay in some newspaper quotes by Gordon when talking about their forthcoming single Hollywood Dreams in '79. He said it sounded like the Cars but was quick to note they weren't going New Wave while adding that it was unfair to describe them as disco (as some had done after I Need Your Love) but that they played raunchy rock'n'roll as well. Mervyn Kaukau -- described in the clipping as the band's main songwriter, despite Kevin on most credits on the album -- said they were getting a new stage act together, "something along the Pink Floyd line".
And Kevin's hero was always Hendrix?
Talk about musical differences.
Some time in '79 the band broke up and Gordon released some solo singles starting the following year. Their album has not, so far, been reissued although my best informtion is that it might be coming. I've also heard a couple of the Kaukau brothers don't want to talk about it.
So Golden Harvest had their one golden moment with I Need Your Love which Rip It Up writer Ken Williams described as "one of the most original sounds to hit the airwaves in this country. Its ethereal, even fragile, drone jumped off the radio, the testing ground of the single record".
You be the judge -- and Give a Little Love here comes from the album and was their follow-up single.
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