From the Vaults

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Jerry Butler: Mr Dee Jay, I Got A Heartache (1968)

25 Aug 2011  |  1 min read

Jerry Butler, one of the greatest soul singers to emerge out of Chicago, came up through the usual route: gospel in church, inspired by Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers, formed a group (the Impressions) and recorded for Vee-Jay down on what was known as Record Row. "Record Row was the scene," he said. "It went from just south of the Loop all the way down to 23rd St where Chess... > Read more

Maxine Brown: Funny (1961)

24 Aug 2011  |  1 min read  |  1

There's something very satisfying about don't-care-anymore songs. The world is awash with the luvvy stuff but every now and again a song comes along which says, "Yep, but I'm over you". An Elsewhere favourite is Solomon King's exceptional Happy Again which really put that grand passion into perspective. Yeah, I loved and I lost and am hurt. But jeez, life goes on . . .... > Read more

Shoes: Tomorrow Night (1978)

23 Aug 2011  |  2 min read

In that great alphabet of power pop kicked off by the Beatles and which includes Badfinger, Big Star, Cheap Trick and so on, the Shoes out of Zion, Illinois are perhaps the least known today. That doesn't mean they are forgotten or won't be rediscovered however: the Elektra bio which came with their major label debut Present Tense noted that when their earlier, independently produced debut... > Read more

Joe Jones: You Talk Too Much (1960)

22 Aug 2011  |  1 min read

Sometimes there is an eloquence and directness in simplicity: "Wild thing, you make my heart sing . . ." Hard to improve on that. Or this blunt sentiment by Joe Jones, a rhythm and blues singer from New Orleans who once had the gall to claim he wrote the classic Iko Iko for the Dixie Cups whom he managed. Wasn't the first time Joe had been dragged into court for claiming he'd... > Read more

Green Jelly: Three Little Pigs (1993)

19 Aug 2011  |  1 min read

There just aren't enough fairy tales at From the Vaults. Only the clip of Sam the Sham and the Pharoah's Little Red Riding Hood as far as I can recall. Time then to resurrect this from the grunge era, the delightful Green Jelly (an umlat over the Y meant it was pronounced "Green Jello") with their update of the old story of the pigs and the big bad wolf. Green Jelly played... > Read more

The Supremes: Floy Joy (1972)

17 Aug 2011  |  <1 min read

In the mid Sixties when people were earnestly looking to Bob Dylan for answers, someone asked him who his favourite poet was. "Smokey Robinson," he replied. Fair call. Smokey's songs like Got a Job had wit and Tracks of My Tears had heart. You can't add or subtract a word from My Guy or You Really Got a Hold On Me. But even poets have their off days and you'd have to think... > Read more

Hotlegs: Neanderthal Man (1970)

16 Aug 2011  |  1 min read

It's not unusual for studio experiments to end up on records, less common that they become the record itself -- as was the case with this single. To backtrack a bit. The successful British songwriter Graham Gouldman who had penned hits for Herman's Hermits (No Milk Today), the Yardbirds (For Your Love, Heart Full of Soul, Evil Hearted You) and others hit a dry spell in the late Sixties. So... > Read more

(Warning, from vinyl so has enjoyable surface noise)

The Funky Kings: Singing in the Streets (1976)

15 Aug 2011  |  1 min read

So just how pervasive was Bruce Springsteen's influence? One listen to this track by the short-lived Funky Kings from LA would suggest that even by his second album he'd managed to infiltrate the consciousness of these guys. Well, maybe. But the Funky Kings, who only lasted one album, were a supergroup in reverse. Just about all of them went on to other things, or had come from some... > Read more

Chubby Checker: Mexican Hat Twist (1962)

12 Aug 2011  |  1 min read

It's entirely possible Chubby Checker knew his time was up when Parkway released his album Twist with Chubby Checker. On the back cover he looks alarmed. Maybe he'd seen the inner sleeve where five other of his Twist albums were advertised -- Your Twist Party with the King of Twist Chubby Checker, Don't Knock the Twist, Let's Twist Again, For Teen Twisters Only ("Adults Twist at Your... > Read more

Lenny and Squiggy: Foreign Legion of Love (1979)

8 Aug 2011  |  1 min read

You don't dig into From the Vaults looking for good taste or class, but you do find oddities like this which resonates on many levels throughout rock culture. Lenny and Squiggy were the dumbcluck characters in the television show Laverne and Shirley and had very little to recommend them as on-screen characters. They were hammy klutzes who were given terrible lines to deliver. So far, so... > Read more

Waylon Jennings: Are You Sure Hank Done it This Way (1975)

5 Aug 2011  |  1 min read

Just from the repeated electric strum here, Waylon Jennings was announcing a different kind of country music: and its minimal sound threw even greater attention on his lyrics which questioned the whole country music establishment as epitomised by the smooth Nashville Sound, the Grand Ole Opry and the Music Row writers cranking out generic songs. Long hairs and post-hippies had started to... > Read more

Robert Plant: If It's Really Got to be This Way (1994)

4 Aug 2011  |  1 min read

When the unexpected, Grammy-grabbing album Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss arrived, it reminded many of what a great interpretive singer Plant could be outside of his throat-abusing belting in Led Zeppelin. Even within the mighty Zepp however he offered some exceptional interpretations (Gallows Pole stands out). Well before Raising Sand however, he appeared on a tribute to... > Read more

The Ugly's: Wake Up My Mind (1965)

3 Aug 2011  |  1 min read

Among the many unusual things about the story of the Ugly's is why a band (with an unnecessary apostrophe?) from Birmingham should have enjoyed a huge hit in Australia and New Zealand with this song, and not made a ripple back home. The Ugly's had emerged from the Dominettes which had been caught up in the skiffle boom of the late Fifties. But as they embraced r'n'b and had new members... > Read more

The Royal Punkharmonic Orchestra: Germ Free Adolescents (1995)

2 Aug 2011  |  1 min read

The recent death of Poly Styrene threw attention back onto her short career in the often interesting band X-Ray Specs where she was more adept at social comment than many of her phlegmatic punk peers. That was a trait she explored on her final if somewhat indifferent album also, Generation Indigo. One of X-Ray Specs' most memorable songs was the monotone Germ Free Adolescents and it is... > Read more

Jimmy Patton: Okies in the Pokey (1959)

1 Aug 2011  |  <1 min read

Jimmy Patton (1931-89) was never really a rockabilly singer although this, his biggest hit, was certainly a rave-up in that style. But Patton's heart had always been in hillbilly country, right up until Elvis came along. Like so many others he grabbed a backbeat and made the shift sideways into rock'n'roll, and specifically the rockabilly end of it. For Okies in the Pokey he had help... > Read more

Superman is Dead: Kuta Rock City (2003)

29 Jul 2011  |  <1 min read

Those who head to Bali for some r'n'r and an escape from stress (as I did, see here) will probably come back with the memory of quiet ambient gamelan music which drifted from speakers in the restaurant or by the pool. Lovely. There is however a whole lot of other music in Bali, not the least of it coming from this long-running post-punk trio whose rock credentials probably aren't... > Read more

Sunidhi Chauhan and Vishal: Naa Puchho (2007)

28 Jul 2011  |  <1 min read

More scenes from the global village? While walking through Kuala Lumpur's Little India I heard this track rocking out of the speakers in a small record shop. I was transfixed: urban, English language in place, Hindi in others, samples from car horns, block rockin' beats, rock guitars, hip-hop in the house . . . As it turned out this was from the soundtrack to a Bollywood blockbuster... > Read more

Sunidhi Chauhan and Vishal: Naa Puchho

Riot 111: 1981! (1981)

26 Jul 2011  |  1 min read  |  1

New Zealand has no great popular history of topical, political songs -- and the few that there are tend toward the humorous (My Old Man's An All Black with its reference to no Maori being allowed into South Africa in our representative rugby team during the apartheid era, or Click Go The Toll Gates about tolls on the newly constructed Auckland Harbour Bridge). Perhaps it is because folk... > Read more

Cilla McQueen: Crikey (2006)

22 Jul 2011  |  <1 min read

Today -- Friday July 22, 2011 -- being New Zeaand National Poetry Day it seems only right we should acknowledge it. It would be easy to go to the collection Contemporary New Zealand Poets in Performance for some Very Serious Poetics or link back to our particular favourite Selina Tusitala Marsh, but this being Elsewhere -- the place where music is important -- this one by Cilla McQueen... > Read more

The Archies: Sugar Sugar (1969)

20 Jul 2011  |  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