Howard Morrison: Howie the Maori/Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town (1982)

 |   |  1 min read

Howard Morrison: Howie the Maori/Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town (1982)

The late Sir Howard Morrison was a complex character. He was a master of self-placement in the public domain (at Michael Jackson's side when the singer visited) and although some skewered him for snuggling up to politicians and dignitaries, he was also a populist and popular figure, and someone who throughout his life quietly -- and sometimes overtly -- advanced various Maori causes.

He often used his fame for others as much as himself. 

The famous Howard Morrison Quartet in the Fifties and Sixties released many songs in te reo -- many more than some might care to acknowledge -- and he wasn't above political jibes in his solo career either, as in this piece.

Those who know the background would note that Mori the Hori had been a Quartet song but here Howard rejigs it to suit his own purposes. But during the course of the medley he takes pokes at politicians (see here also, from two decades previous) and the All Blacks' weak pronunciation in the haka.

I interviewed Morrison only a couple of times (on the phone) and he had a rare ability to simultaneously sound condescending and familiar, arrogant but personable, authoritative and cautious, puffed-up and humble. I liked him. He was Uncle Howie and Sir Howard at the same time.

On his death there was a reconsideration of his broad legacy as an entertainer who brought cultures together while never resiling from his Maori heritage. His role as a socio-political figure is yet to be analysed.

Meantime though, here -- from a concert in Founders Theatre in Hamilton in mid '82 -- is Howard being another version of himself. And entertaining.

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

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

John and Jackie: Little Girl (1958)

John and Jackie: Little Girl (1958)

Simulated female orgasm on records isn't overly common, but there are certainly a few high profile examples. Counting back from Vanessa Daou's Zipless album (1994) and Donna Summer's Love to... > Read more

The Music Convention: Bellyboard Beat (1968)

The Music Convention: Bellyboard Beat (1968)

Some years ago while researching and writing the liner notes to a series of New Zealand psychedelic collections put together by Grant Gillanders, I came upon this track . . . and just kept playing... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

John Niland: Barnett Lane (Eelman/Jayrem)

John Niland: Barnett Lane (Eelman/Jayrem)

Here's a surprise: I hadn't heard of pianist Niland since his Inside album of the mid Eighties which he recorded with drummer Ross Burge and bassist Rob Mahoney in Wellington's Marmalade Studios.... > Read more

Elvis Costello and the Imposters: Momofuku (Lost Highway)

Elvis Costello and the Imposters: Momofuku (Lost Highway)

Elvis Costello has been at it so long now -- his debut was more than three decades ago (see Absolute Elsewhere) -- he's reached that McCartney/Clapton platform where he could do his best work in... > Read more