From the Vaults

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Bob Dylan: The Christmas Blues (2009)

11 Dec 2023  |  <1 min read  |  1

No one would ask why Bob Dylan does something -- shilling for Victoria's Secret comes to mind -- or can be surprised by whatever it is. That said, the Yuletide album Christmas in the Heart in 2009 did catch everyone by surprise. Dylan croaking through Here Comes Santa Claus, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Little Drummer Boy, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and other seasonal delights?... > Read more

Geeshie Wylie and Elvie Thomas: Last Kind Word Blues (1930)

4 Dec 2023  |  1 min read  |  1

The mysterious Geeshie Wylie has appeared previously pulled From the Vaults with Skinny Leg Blues, the B-side of Last Kind Word Blues. As we mentioned then she recorded just six songs (that we know of) and there are few confirmed photographs of her. Seemingly just two at best. It's believed that she was of the Gullah people in Georgia and South Carolina and it's fairly certain Geeshie... > Read more

GHP: Rapture Riders (2004)

27 Nov 2023  |  <1 min read

One of the most famous tracks by GHP (British DJ/producer and remixer Mark Vidler), this breakthrough in mash-ups was so good it was approved by both Blondie and the Doors (whose Rapture and Riders on the Storm it pulled together). It was even included on Blondie's 2005 Greatest Hits collection. GHP (Go Home Productions) has created more than 200 mash-ups using everyone from Abba,... > Read more

The Beatnix: Stairway to Heaven (date unknown)

20 Nov 2023  |  <1 min read

There are any number of bands who can convincingly replicate the look, sound and songs of Beatles (our money always goes to excellent Bootleg Beatles). But Australia's Beatnix took a different path on their It's Four You album, a compilation which came out through Glenn A Baker's Raven reissue label in 2017. They covered very early songs that Lennon and McCartney wrote but never... > Read more

Ram John Holder: Pub Crawling Blues (1969)

6 Nov 2023  |  1 min read

To be honest Ram John Holder's name and music hadn't crossed our path since the very early Seventies when my younger sister somehow ended up with an album. Ram John was obscure even then and more so these days, despite him receiving a CBE in the Queen's Birthday honours in 2021 for services to drama and music. It was the first part of that award he was being acknowledged for because he... > Read more

Jah Wobble, The Edge, Holger Czukay: Snake Charmer, reprise (1983)

28 Oct 2023  |  1 min read

Yes, it was the Eighties as you can hear from the first stuttering synths on this overwrought supersession. Bassist Jah Wobble was post-Public Image Limited, The Edge from U2 clearly at a loose end (although a decade away from letting go on Achtung Baby) and multi-instrumentlist Czukay from Can probably quite liked the idea of getting into a studio for a series of free-flowing sessions.... > Read more

Neil Colquhoun: Talking Swag (1972)

15 Oct 2023  |  1 min read

For many years in the late Seventies/early Eighties, when working at Glenfield College in Auckland, I had no idea that the slight, quietly spoken music teacher Neil Colquhoun was the same person who had compiled an important collection of New Zealand folk songs for the book Song of a Young Country, and had subsequently produced a double album of the same name for Kiwi Pacific. On that album... > Read more

Sarah Vaughan: I Want You (1981)

11 Oct 2023  |  1 min read  |  2

Because we so often think of music as existing in distinct and different periods -- the Swing Era, Fifties rock'n'roll, the Beatles period etc -- we tend to forget just how much overlap there was. Punk, disco and Gary Glitter all co-existed . . . and people like Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby were around long enough to sing songs by the Beatles. And so was Sarah Vaughan who, in 1977,... > Read more

I Want You

Missing Persons: Words (1983)

9 Oct 2023  |  1 min read  |  1

Anyone who stumbled onto this LA New Wave band on You Tube a decade or so ago couldn't help note what others were saying: Lady Gaga had ripped off the style (and some of the sound) of frontwoman Dale Bozzio's sense of big-hair and glammed-up look. Perhaps more corrrectly Lady Gaga had simply taken it as a starting point, just as scantily-clad former Playboy bunny Bozzio took a little... > Read more

Elvis Presley: Do the Vega (1968)

1 Oct 2023  |  1 min read  |  1

Elvis Presley's catalogue of songs in the Sixties is pretty scattershot. Sessions would often be very productive (the material was hardly demanding) and so the songs would be drip-fed over a period of years with no real sense of chronology. But this was a strange one. Originally recorded for the film Viva Las Vegas, the song wasn't included on the tie-in EP (which incidentally didn't... > Read more

The Archies: Sugar Sugar (1969)

24 Sep 2023  |  2 min read  |  2

Okay, it's irritating rot-your-teeth bubblegum . . . but wait, there is more to this than you might think -- and remember it came out in the year of Altamont, Hendrix, the Manson murders and so on. The Archies weren't a proper group of course, they were actually singer Ron Dante, session musicians and the great Toni Wine (more of her shortly). At the time this song was selling millions,... > Read more

Pavlov's Dog: Julia (1975)

18 Sep 2023  |  1 min read  |  2

Sometimes there is just That Voice . . . a vocal delivery which is arresting, sublime, idiotic and otherworldly all that same time. And so it was with the vocals of David Surkamp, the singer with the prog-rock band Pavlov's Dog out of St Louis, who seemed to possess in equal parts the sound of Robert Plant's high drama, Leo Sayer on steroids and someone grabbing his balls in vice.... > Read more

Joe Boot and the Fabulous Winds: Rock and Roll Radio (1958)

11 Sep 2023  |  <1 min read

From The Ventures (Walk Don't Run) and the Kingsmen (the garageband classic Louie Louie of '63) through Jimi Hendrix, the grunge bands (Nirvana, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam etc) to the Posies, Sleater-Kinney and Modest Mouse, the Pacific Northwest has been a breeding ground for rock'n'roll. Identifying the first rock'n'roll record to come out of the region however has been rather more difficult --... > Read more

Steve Allen and Shona Laing: Brother and Sister (1974?)

21 Aug 2023  |  2 min read

Steve Allen (Alan Stephenson) is best – and perhaps only – known for his hit Join Together which was chosen as the anthem for the Commonwealth Games held in Christchurch in 1974. There's no denying its uplifting and affirming quality and it was re-recorded in an international version editing out the specific reference to Christchurch. It was a big hit but also something of a... > Read more

Prince: Soul Psychodelicide (1986)

14 Aug 2023  |  <1 min read  |  1

This previously unreleased track came to light on the massive Super Deluxe edition of Sign O' The Times and is interesting for a number of reasons, not the least being what he shouts out: "Ice cream". According to Lisa Coleman -- of Wendy and Lisa, and one of the expanded Revolution band here -- when Prince was "in a good mood or we were having a good show, he would sometimes... > Read more

Age of Consent: Fight Back Rap (1983)

13 Aug 2023  |  <1 min read

Who said the gay power movement lacked humour? Quite the opposite in fact, and humour is a powerful weapon. This one-off appeared on the Harvey Kubernick-curated double album English as a Second Language in 1983 on Freeway Records, another in his series of recordings of poets and spoken word artists from LA which included people like Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Wanda Coleman, Henry Rollins, Charles... > Read more

The Gun: Race with the Devil (1967)

7 Aug 2023  |  2 min read  |  2

In the age of Cream (mid '66 to late '68), Blue Cheer and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the power trio became an established form and this group from Buckinghamshire -- two brothers and another -- took the hard rock, guitar pyrotechnics sound to the top of the British charts with this single. And that was about it for them. That's actually not entirely true, but there is a back-story and... > Read more

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: I Should be Proud (1970)

1 Aug 2023  |  1 min read

On Anzac Day a few years ago I was invited onto National Radio to talk about songs from the era of the Vietnam conflict. And rather than going for some of the more obvious ones (Universal Soldier and so on) I picked some of the more vehemently pro-American and patriotic ones (Universal Coward by Jan Berry about draft dodgers). Then I moved from the truly creepy Letter to a Buddie and into... > Read more

Prince and Miles Davis: Can I Play With U? (1986)

21 Jul 2023  |  1 min read  |  1

Not long after Prince met Miles Davis by chance in an airport in December '85, the little purple one penned this song – mostly little more than an over-busy extended funky groove and riff – in the hope that the dark magus would get together for a collaboration. Davis, perhaps remembering he'd missed the opportunity to play with Hendrix because at the last minute he (Davis) had... > Read more

Golden Harvest: Give a Little Love (1978)

10 Jul 2023  |  2 min read  |  8

In the late Seventies, Golden Harvest from Morrinsville were briefly riding a wave of success. Their song I Need Your Love 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... > Read more