From the Vaults

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John and Jackie: Little Girl (1958)

5 Jan 2012  |  <1 min read  |  2

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 Love You Baby (1975) through Yoko Ono's moan-groan-screaming in the late Sixties/early Seventies (you wouldn't want to live next door let alone be in the next room) and the steamy Serge Gainsbourg's Je... > Read more

Little Esther Phillips: Hound Dog (1953)

12 Dec 2011  |  1 min read

Although Big Mama Thornton was the first out of the block with Leiber and Stoller's Hound Dog -- subsequently a hit for Elvis Presley -- Thornton wasn't the only one to hear its bluesy potential. Esther Phillips -- later to find fame in the disco era with her cover of Dinah Washington's What a Diff'rence A Day Makes (see here) -- almost got it to the charts before her. Little Esther as... > Read more

Lee Dorsey, Yes We Can (1969)

8 Dec 2011  |  <1 min read  |  2

From regional hits then through increasing international success on the back of songs like Ya-Ya, Ride Your Pony and Working in a Coal Mine, Lee Dorsey -- a childhood friend of Fats Domino -- exported the sound of New Orleans. He was produced by Allen Toussaint, had the Meters back him on albums and singles in the late Sixties (they are on this cut), and had a natural gift for putting the... > Read more

Kurt Vonnegut, Simon Heselev: Tock Tick (1973/2003)

6 Dec 2011  |  1 min read

Kurt Vonnegut seems an unlikely collaborator with a jazz bassist from Melbourne -- but that is what happened in 2003 when the famous author allowed Australian musician and studio engineer Heselev to put music to his '73 reading of a section from his famous book Slaughterhouse Five. Heselev takes up the story about how, after graduating from Berklee in Boston and doing studio work in LA with... > Read more

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

5 Dec 2011  |  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

Steve Hillage: Hurdy Gurdy Man (1979)

29 Nov 2011  |  1 min read  |  1

True story of my first experience with this track off Steve Hillage's double live album Live Herald which appeared at the peak of punk/New Wave era when men with long hair, beards, bell bottoms and guitar solos were incredibly unfashionable. It was late one evening and in the privacy of my own home I quietly self-medicated and slapped on this for some deep immersion. Hillage was that... > Read more

Roger Daltrey: Giving It All Away (1973)

28 Nov 2011  |  1 min read

When the Who's Roger Daltrey went to make his first solo album in '73 he certainly made some interesting choices of collaborators, not the least being calling on Adam Faith as co-producer with Dave Courtney. Faith had been one of those artists swept aside when the Beatles arrived, but he had always had great credibility because he wrote his own songs. When the hits stopped coming he moved... > Read more

Eartha Kitt: The Heel (1955)

24 Nov 2011  |  <1 min read

She might not have been the best Catwoman* because she was a little past her best, but the great Eartha Kitt straddled sultry pop, blues-noir and cabaret. She was also in a Faust film by Orson Welles (playing Helen of Troy), her suggestive Santa Baby became a classic (and was covered by Madonna) and in this dramatic track she imagines white powder in his drink as she, a jealous woman, prepares... > Read more

Bob Dylan: If Dogs Run Free (1970)

23 Nov 2011  |  1 min read  |  1

Given that Bob Dylan has long been considered the greatest poet in rock, it seems a little surprising he never published a volume of verse or recorded some poems. But as he noted in his autobiography Chronicles, "For sure, my lyrics had struck nerves that had never been struck before, but if my songs were just about words, then what was Duane Eddy, the great rock'n'roll guitarist doing... > Read more

George Harrison: When We Was Fab (1987)

22 Nov 2011  |  1 min read

Among the many seeming ironies of George Harrison's long career was that, despite being the Beatle who most wanted out of people's expectations and what that meant, he would frequently draw on that period for inspiration or make overt references back which were unmissable. His solo career songs This Guitar Can't Keep From Crying and Here Comes the Moon refer to While This Guitar Gently... > Read more

Lakshmi Shankar: I Am Missing You (1974)

21 Nov 2011  |  <1 min read

When George Harrison established his own Dark Horse record label it allowed him to release projects that were close to his spiritual heart, if not exactly commercial propositions. That said, both the Shankar Family and Friends (1974) and Ravi Shankar's Music Festival from India ('76) albums were absolute delights of immacuately produced, beautifully played Indian music which gently roamed... > Read more

The Chequers: Ask for Reggae (1973)

17 Nov 2011  |  <1 min read

The Chequers were a fairly minor league reggae outfit who quite quickly moved away from the template and into what some have called on-line "dodgy disco" (which is a little unfair, it was more Philly soul) and then they evolved into a soul-funk band. But certainly their star never rose very high although their version of Rudy's In Love (with Philly soul-strings) showed how smooth... > Read more

The Jiants: Tornado (1959)

15 Nov 2011  |  <1 min read

When the rock'n'roll wave hit Marion, Indiana in the late Fifties what else was a poor boy to do but play in a rock'n'roll band . . . The short-lived Jiants (1959-61) were an enthusiastic five-piece but their star was guitarist Jerry Hedges who on this, their local hit, worked a throbbing and twanging style which was such an aural fingerprint for many of the best acts of the era. And you... > Read more

Sagittarius: My World Fell Down (1966)

14 Nov 2011  |  1 min read

Elsewhere doesn't go much for conspiracy theories -- although I've been to the Texas Book Depository in Dallas and, hmmm. But here's one that might be of interest. LA musician/producer Gary Usher was working on the single My World Fell Down with a bunch of session musicians at the same time as Brian Wilson was meticulously crafting Good Vibrations for the Beach Boys. Usher and Wilson... > Read more

Bunny Walters: To be Free with Labour (year unknown)

9 Nov 2011  |  1 min read

Right now in New Zealand it is the run-up to the election and -- unlike in what some of like to call "the old days" -- none of the main parties seem to have a high-profile election song. There was always something pleasing about those sentimental, patriotic and reductive songs of yesteryear which played while the party leader posed alongside Kiwi cliches -- snow-capped mountains,... > Read more

The Beatles: I'm Down (1965)

7 Nov 2011  |  1 min read

When the Beatles played that historic concert at Shea Stadium, New York in August '65 before 55,000 screamers -- the biggest audience for a rock concert at that time -- John Lennon clearly enjoyed himself, no more so than during McCartney's rocker I'm Down where he played keyboards with his elbow and set Harrison and McCartney into fits of laughter. I'm Down -- another classic Beatles... > Read more

Lou Reed: Metal Machine Music (1975)

3 Nov 2011  |  1 min read  |  1

Metal Machine Music is the Lou Reed album that even many Lou fans haven't heard -- or did hear and said, "Never again". Many who bought this double album at the time (which now fetches absurd prices on-line) returned it because not only does Reed not sing on it, but it has no songs (there are four pieces, each around 16 minutes long) and is a little over an hour of guitar feedback... > Read more

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Screaming Lord Sutch: Til the Following Night (1961)

28 Oct 2011  |  1 min read  |  1

In later years Screaming Lord Sutch was better known for being the founder of the Official Monster Raving Looney Party in Britain and standing in various electorates (from '63) in weird outfits. He's in the opening scenes of The New Statesman standing against Alan B'stard (Rik Mayall). In the Stones' Get Off Of My Cloud, Sutch was the "guy all dressed up like Union Jack". But back... > Read more

Glen Campbell, Freddy Fender, Michelle Shocked: Witchita Lineman (1997)

27 Oct 2011  |  <1 min read

With the release of his excellent, dignified final album Ghost on the Canvas, there has been attention understandably turned to his great period as a hit-maker with Jimmy Webb songs in the late Sixties. But here's a rare one, Campbell re-doing the Webb classic Witchita Lineman with Michelle Shocked on backing vocals and Freddy Fender sharing the lead. The band, the Texas Tornados,... > Read more

Koko Taylor: Wang Dang Doodle (1960)

25 Oct 2011  |  1 min read

Although you never need an excuse to play this strutting Willie Dixon-penned classic from Chess Records' studio with the great Koko Taylor growling her way through it, it does seem timely on this very day as Tom Waits' new album Bad As Me has a terrific track inspired in part by its raw spirit. Waits' Satisfied might nod to the Rolling Stones' Satisfaction in its lyrics when it names... > Read more