From the Vaults

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Buddy Holly: Blue Days Black Nights (1956)

14 Jan 2019  |  1 min read

In the year before he became famous with the hit That'll Be the Day in mid '57, Buddy Holly – who was killed in that plane crash 60 years ago in February – unsuccessfully recorded a number of songs in Nashville. Signed to record deal he and his ring-in band went to that hub of conservative country to try to record music which was part-country but influenced by the rise of Elvis... > Read more

Nina Simone: Backlash Blues (1967)

17 Dec 2018  |  <1 min read

Nina Simone was a rare one: she was classically trained, a political activist, furiously intolerant and increasingly strange and self-serving as her life rolled on. And that's just the broad strokes. She was also something of a genius when it came to marrying blues, politics, soul, gospel and jazz. It is hard to think of anyone who has followed in her footsteps. This song from the late... > Read more

Jack Scott: The Way I Walk (1959)

3 Dec 2018  |  1 min read

With his sullen and sneering good looks -- he might have been a truck driver in Memphis like the pre-fame Elvis or a member of the Clash -- Jack Scott was briefly a big star, and at the time in the late Fifties one of the biggest to come out of Detroit where he grew up (after being born in Canada). Scott clocked up hit after hit in the late Fifties (half of the 12 songs on his debut album... > Read more

Ronnie Spector: Girl from the Ghetto (2006)

19 Nov 2018  |  1 min read  |  1

Revenge is a dish best served cold -- and with a pointed, fuckin' still-angry-at-you-bastardfucker lyric. And Ronnie got her chance when her former husband Phil Spector was facing a murder charge. Ronnie Spector, the voice of the classic girl group the Ronettes of the Sixties which Phil produced, married the mad boss and spent years as a virtual prisoner in his mansion. She escaped and told... > Read more

Ronnie Spector: Girl from the Ghetto (2006)

ZZ Hill: Someone to Love Me (1965)

11 Nov 2018  |  1 min read

Although he came to greater attention in the Eighties before his early death in '84, the great soul-blues singer Arzell Hill delivered some achingly beautiful songs right through the Sixties before his career started to slide in the Seventies. He came out of the gospel tradition in Texas but – like his role model Sam Cooke – he shifted to secular music while bringing that... > Read more

Yoko Ono: Imagine (2018)

5 Nov 2018  |  <1 min read

Let it be said straight off, there is a lot of Yoko Ono that Elsewhere plays (in private of course) and actually enjoys. Her Plastic Ono Band album is an Essential Elsewhere album and quite a number of her most demanding albums are very rewarding. But her very recent Warzone -- where she revisits some of her past -- ends with this treatment of a song which she now enjoys a co-write credit... > Read more

John Lennon: Gimme Some Truth, take 4, raw mix (1971)

23 Oct 2018  |  <1 min read

One of the outtakes on the expansive Imagine box set, this may have a couple of bum notes from the period (“son of Tricky Dicky”, a reference to Nixon) but there are plenty of people around right now in these post-truth days – where lies and not denied but doubled-down on – for whom this will strike a chord. With the slide guitar overdubbed by George Harrison, this... > Read more

El Hula: When the Devil Arrives At My Door (2003)

17 Sep 2018  |  <1 min read

Expat Kiwi Blair Jollands has just released a new album under his own name, 7 Blood. It is musically diverse and because he has been in London for so long that his name is barely known back here in his homeland. It's a struggle to get people to listen to an album by an unfamiliar name, let alone one where the tracks are so very different, and it is even harder if he isn't around to promote... > Read more

Bonnie Jo Mason: Ringo, I Love You (1964)

16 Sep 2018  |  1 min read

When the Beatles conquered the US in '64, there were literally scores of tribute songs, parodies and satirical pieces -- from the lament of The Beatles Barber to You Can't Go Far Without a Guitar (Unless You're Ringo Starr) and My Boyfriend's Got a Beatle Haircut. But few have gathered as much attention as this one. Not because it's any good (it isn't) but because of who sang it.... > Read more

Bob Dylan: All American Boy (1967)

7 Sep 2018  |  1 min read  |  1

American country-rocker Bobby Bare scored an unlikely hit with All American Boy back in '58 when his demo of the song for a friend Bill Parsons was chosen by the record company over Parson's version. Bare wrote it but Parsons got the credit, however what is of interest is how it was a kind of early run at songs which were cynical about success and fame. Bare's song – see the clip... > Read more

Nico: I'll Keep It With Mine (1967)

3 Sep 2018  |  1 min read  |  1

When the statuesque Nico was introduced into Velvet Underground by Andy Warhol, she was fresh from a relationship with Bob Dylan and was keen to record this song he had written. However she fell between the egos of Lou Reed and John Cale who were advancing a very different agenda, and it didn't include covers . . . even a good one written by Dylan. As Clinton Heylin notes in his... > Read more

Jimi Hendrix: Drifter's Escape (possibly 1970)

27 Aug 2018  |  <1 min read

Not only can we not tell you the date on this Jimi Hendrix cover of a Dylan song off his John Wesley Harding album but have no idea of any other details on it. It is known Hendrix recorded Drifter's Escape (maybe this version, maybe not) in May 1970 around the time he was working through Dolly Dagger, Freedom and others songs (including his own ballad Drifting which appeared on the... > Read more

Bob Dylan: Why Try to Change Me Now (2015)

13 Aug 2018  |  1 min read  |  2

We didn't go too far back into the Vaults for this one by Bob Dylan, it is from his excellent Shadows in the Night covers album, but of course the song goes way, way back. It was written by Cy Coleman (music) and Joseph McCarthy (lyrics) in 1952 and was recorded by Frank Sinatra later that same year, apparently among his last songs for Colombia before departing for Capitol. What Sinatra... > Read more

Jose M Bandera and Mario Montoya: Jumping' Jack Flash (2008)

10 Aug 2018  |  <1 min read

This being the 50thanniversary of the Rolling Stones' single Jumpin' Jack Flash which took them back to their tough r'n'b roots (along with nudges to county and folk on the subsequent Beggar's Banquet album) we go here – without making any claims – to a version of JJFlash. It was recorded for the project Stones World by saxophonist Tim Reis who pulled in artists from across the... > Read more

Gabor Szabo: Breezin' (1969)

9 Aug 2018  |  <1 min read

The Hungarian guitarist Gabor Szabo -- often described as a gypsy musician -- was a sophisticated player and composer, as witnessed by those who had success covering his material, not the least Carlos Santana who picked up Szabo's Gypsy Queen. Szabo studied at Berklee in Boston, played at Newport and in the early Sixties was in Chico Hamilton's group. He was named best new guitarist by Down... > Read more

Dayward Penny: Come Back Baby (1968)

29 Jul 2018  |  2 min read

Someone very astute once observed that every musical style that ever existed is being played somewhere, even now. Certainly the most arcane folk music from the backroads of Mississippi and Obscuristan seems to be out there in reissues. Okay, maybe ancient Egyptian music might be underrepresented out there . . . but you get the drift. The remarkable things also is that when a... > Read more

Phil Garland: Banks of the Waikato (recorded 1972)

23 Jul 2018  |  1 min read

Some years ago we posted a song From the Vaults by the great New Zealand folklorist and singer Neil Colquhoun, a modest, quiet and slight man I had the pleasure of knowing when he taught music at Glenfield College on Auckland's North Shore. At the time of that posting I noted that for some while I didn't click that the softly-spoken Neil Colquhoun was THE Neil Colquhoun who had one of the... > Read more

The Beatles: It's All Too Much (1969)

19 Jul 2018  |  1 min read

Recorded at the tail-end of the Sgt Pepper sessions in 1967 but not released until early in '69, this George Harrison-penned song has often been dismissed, perhaps largely because it appeared on the soundtrack to Yellow Submarine – a movie the Beatles had little to do with – and was there alongside Harrison's lemon-lipped and cynical swipe at their Northern Songs publishing company,... > Read more

Wee Willie Walker: There Goes My Used to Be (1967)

28 Jun 2018  |  1 min read

By the time Wee Willie Walker – who stands not too far over five foot in his bare feet – recorded this soul classic for the Goldwax label in Memphis the days of the great soul singers was almost at an end. Sure Al Green, Curtis Mayfield and Marvin and so on were still right there, and Otis lived on in the memory, but the world was changing and black music was heading in new... > Read more

Damien Rice: Cannonball (2002)

18 Jun 2018  |  1 min read

Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice is perhaps the one we should thank – or blame – for Ed Sheeran, as this song was the young Sheeran's epiphany. Sheeran was 11 when, by his own account, he saw the clip for Cannonball “at about four o'clock in the morning, just this dude's mouth singing, and it turned out to be Cannonball.” Although very young Sheehan was... > Read more