From the Vaults

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Susanna and the Magical Orchestra: Love Will Tear Us Apart (2006)

19 Jan 2015  |  <1 min read

The Susanna here is Norway's Susanna Wallumrod and the Magical Orchestra is keyboard player Morten Qvenild . . . and this Joy Division classic is right in their frame of reference because her vocals often work this ethereal and moody area, usually on originals. She is quite some esthete also -- her siblings are renown musicians also -- and among her recent collaborators have been jazz... > Read more

Faster Pussycat: You're So Vain (1990)

16 Jan 2015  |  1 min read  |  1

Jac Holzman's Elektra was one of the most diverse record labels in the last half of the 20th century. He started it in 1950 and the first recording pressed (just a couple of hundred copies) was of a modern classical lieder by composer John Gruen and sung by Georgiana Bannister which Holzman -- a student at St John's College in Annapolis, Maryland -- recorded on a portable tape recorder and had... > Read more

Mose Allison: Parchman Farm (1957)

15 Jan 2015  |  1 min read

Mose Allison is a jazz and blues singer whose songs have been covered by a surprising number of rock artists . . .  surprising because when you hear Allison's originals -- as in this case, typically swinging, groove-driven by drummer Nick Stabalus and bassist Addison Farner -- it sounds a very long way from how they turned out in the hands of people like Blue Cheer or the Who in the... > Read more

Pat Boone: No More Mr Nice Guy (1997)

14 Jan 2015  |  1 min read

When the cleanest white-bread rock'n'roll singer of the late Fifties sings "no more Mr Nice Guy, no more Mr Clean" you know he's well in on the joke -- and that if you bought the album this came from (In a Metal Mood) then the joke was on you. First, they might have been hard rock songs he was covering (Smoke on the Water with Richie Blackmore on guitar, It's a Long Way to the... > Read more

Septimus; Here I Go Again (1987)

13 Jan 2015  |  1 min read

Sounding a decade too late for the disco era, Septimus were a black outfit from Seattle built around singer/guitarist and producer Herman Brown who originally recorded a version of this song in '83 with his band Ozone. Just five years too late. Seattle-born Brown had been a successful studio musician in LA until he moved back home in the early Eighties and started Ozone as an outlet for... > Read more

Sly Stone: Just Like a Baby (1970)

12 Jan 2015  |  1 min read

If we think of the great Sly Stone at all these days it's the celebratory guy leading the Family Stone at Woodstock and then great albums like Stand and There's A Riot Goin' On. But flick back to his life before the public profile and in the early Sixties he was a respected producer in San Francisco, and mostly doing white artists like Bobby Freeman (C'mon and Swim), the Beau Brummels, The... > Read more

Peter Blakeley: Quicksand (1990)

15 Dec 2014  |  2 min read  |  1

When I was in Newcastle, New South Wales recently -- a city I'd never been to previously and knew damn-all about -- I was walking along the boardwalk in the afternoon and looked over to see an old friend on Wharf Road. It was Harry's Cafe de Wheels, a famous Australian institution which has provided pie'n'peas, hot chips, burgers and the like for hungry folks -- often those 4am-to-dawn... > Read more

Leonard Cohen: Avalanche (1971)

7 Dec 2014  |  <1 min read

In the course of sometimes interesting, occasionally haywire Q&A session after the screening of the film 20,000 Days on Earth in Auckland, Nick Cave was asked if he'd ever met Leonard Cohen and what his favourite Cohen song was. He said he hadn't . . . but then offered an insightful response to the second part of the question.  “When I was growing up in Wangaratta in... > Read more

Paul McCartney: Ode to a Koala Bear (1983)

17 Nov 2014  |  <1 min read

Okay, at a time when Paul McCartney's whole recording career has been given serious consideration at Elsewhere, this seems frivolous and cruel. But fun. This odd song appeared on B-side of the single of Say Say Say -- McCartney with Michael Jackson -- and again on the 12" remixes of SSSay by Jellybean. And perhaps that's all that needs to be said about it . . . Except that... > Read more

Screaming Dizbusters: This Ain't the Summer of Love (1986)

11 Nov 2014  |  <1 min read

Elsewhere's been down this side alley before with songs from a terrific double CD compilation A Real Cool Time Revisited; Swedish Punk, Pop and Garage Rock 1982-1989. The album is only available at the Abba/Swedish Music Hall of Fame Museum in Stockholm . . . a place realy worth more time than you might thing, Aba is only half of it if you take the time to explore the fine print in the rest... > Read more

The Beatles: Love You To (1966)

29 Oct 2014  |  1 min read

After having listened through to all George Harrison's solo albums and writing about them, one conclusion is paramount. That for all that his lyrics could sometimes be sermonising, trite, worthy or schoolteacherish, Harrison also wrote some very beautiful melodies. This was an especially interesting development in his solo career because his earliest songs in the Beatles -- Don't Bother Me,... > Read more

Jack Nitzsche with Merry Clayton: Poor White Hound Dog (1970)

13 Oct 2014  |  1 min read

There's quite an implosion of Stones' references which come with this track by the great producer, arranger, composer and Phil Spector protege Jack Nitzsche. He was commissioned to write the music for the film Performance which starred Mick Jagger and Keith Richards' girlfriend Anita Pallenberg. Nitzsche knew the Stones from when they visited the States in '64 and he was also music director... > Read more

CC Adcock: Castin' My Spell (1999)

30 Sep 2014  |  1 min read

One of the greatest producers, arrangers and composers was the late Jack Nitzsche who was -- among many other things -- Phil Spector's offsider and orchestrated River Deep Mountain High. You might also know him for the soundtrack to One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, for having writen Needles and Pins with Sonny Bono for the great Jackie DeShannon, playing keyboards on some of the early... > Read more

Lewis: Like to See You Again (1983)

1 Sep 2014  |  1 min read

The story behind the obscure album L'Amour by a man known only as Lewis is as odd and out-of-sych as the cover photos. In '83 the handsome, well-groomed Lewis turned up at a rundown punk studio in LA, arriving in a white Mercedes convertible with his pretty surfer-girl girlfriend. He said he wanted to record an atmospheric album -- which he did -- and then he disappeared leaving barely... > Read more

The Beatles: Carnival of Light, perhaps (1967)

18 Aug 2014  |  1 min read

Even more than the 10 minute version of Revolution (below), the most sought-after and obscure Beatles track is the so-far unreleased Carnival of Light, a free-form instrumental which was recorded for a psychedelic event at London's Roundhouse to take place in late January '67. McCartney said he'd give the organisers a sound effects tape to play and on January 5 the Beatles hunkered down --... > Read more

Simon and Garfunkel: A Simple Desultory Philippic (1966)

11 Aug 2014  |  1 min read

When Simon and Garfunkel released their Bridge Over Troubled Waters album in 1970, many critics read the song The Boxer as an oblique attack on Bob Dylan whose career at the time was in limbo and he seemed to be abdicating music's frontline. The verse which was telling was: "In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade, and he carries a reminder of every glove that laid... > Read more

Haysi Fantayzee: Jimmy Jive Jive (1983)

8 Aug 2014  |  2 min read

It's entirely possible that this British pop duo (with the svengali figure of Paul Caplin guiding their brief career) spent more time in make-up than they did on the charts: they knocked out four singles and an album  . . . but their chief feature was their risque glam-raggamuffin look which was used to greater effect by their contemporary Boy George. But their album Battle Hymns for... > Read more

Dinah Lee: He Can't Do the Blue Beat (1965)

4 Aug 2014  |  1 min read

Answer songs or cash-ins were very common in the late Fifties and early Sixties (after success of The Twist it was time for Let's Twist Again etc) and the great and gutsy New Zealand singer Dinah Lee recorded this song -- penned and arranged by Mike Perjanick -- to keep the momentum going after her huge success with the single Do The Blue Beat in '64. That song had followed her... > Read more

Desire: Broken Heart (1985)

30 Jul 2014  |  1 min read

You probably didn't need me to add the date for this one pulled From the Vaults. The hair says it all. Hers too. Desire were singer/keyboard player Suzie Divine and guitarist/keyboard player Gary Havoc, the latter being somewhat of a fixture on the New Zealand music scene at the time. He'd been in a few bands if I recall, certainly Gary Havoc and the Hurricanes during the late Seventies... > Read more

The Beatles: Across the Universe rehearsals (1969)

28 Jul 2014  |  <1 min read

The Beatles' Across the Universe had a slightly chequered history: the Lennon song first emerged in early '68 as a result of their time in meditation in India when Lennon felt relaxed and poetic. The verses contain some of his most evocative imagery and the chorus of "Jai Guru Deva" added a veneer of spiritualism to it. But despite its origins, recording it seemed to take... > Read more