Various Artists: Ten Guitars, the New Zealand Heartland Soundtrack (Universal)

 |   |  1 min read

Patea Maori: Poi E
Various Artists: Ten Guitars, the New Zealand Heartland Soundtrack (Universal)

Walking in to a CD/DVD store recently I heard the most unexpected song playing, it was Amigo by Black Slate, a British reggae band which had a brief fliration with the charts at the dawn of the Eighties with this pop-reggae crossover single.

They came to Auckland and played a Town Hall gig with Herbs and my recollection, seared in my memory actually, was of going to the gig and being one the very, very few Pakeha in the crowd.

A massive dreadlocked Mongrel Mob member stood at the centre of the lobby and, with a fist raised, shouted out, "This is our night, brothers".

And it was. Back then reggae, and especially that by Herbs, was a political music.

I don't think I have heard Black Slate's Amigo -- or even heard of the band -- since that night.

So why might they have been playing it on the shop's soundsystem? Because of this canny collection.

Whoever put this together knew that songs like Amigo, Eddy Grant's I Don't Wanna Dance, Freddy Fender's Before the Next Teardrop Falls and Wasted Days and Wasted Nights, Toots and the Maytall's Beautiful Woman, and Musical Youth's Pass the Dutchie actually mean something to New Zealanders. Some of those songs were hits in this country and few other places.

Then of course there are locals: Netherworld Dancing Toys (For Today), the Yandall Sisters (Sweet Inspiration), Ardijah (Watching You), Herbs (Sensitive to a Smile), Annie Whittle (Tequila Sunrise), Southside of Bombay (What's the Time Mr Wolf?), Patea Maori Club (Poi E) and others.

Yes, there are some dodgy inclusions (Pussycat's Mississippi? And Ben E King's Stand By Me comes from an earlier era) but overall this is a no-brain-required collection for a slightly sentimental bbq or party over summer.

And it lets Black Slate's Amigo get another airing after almost three decades. Who would have thunk it.

Share It

Your Comments

Vicky - Oct 29, 2012

This album actually does a good job at picking up some of the gaps in the Nature's Best collection, especially songs that were huge hits but ostensibly didn't make the cut in the APRA voting given they were covers (Sweet Lovers, anyone?) or just not 'cool' enough (Mark Williams, Jon Stevens etc).

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

The Eversons: “Stuck in New Zealand” (Lil Chief)

The Eversons: “Stuck in New Zealand” (Lil Chief)

Some wit in Creem in the Seventies nailed it perfectly when he wrote, “Heavy metal is for young men without a war of their own”. To which we might add, the Eversons are for young... > Read more

Neil Young and Promise of the Real: The Visitor (Warners)

Neil Young and Promise of the Real: The Visitor (Warners)

You have to go a long way back to find a truly great and new – not just a “pretty good” – Neil Young studio album. As Elsewhere has noted, much of his best stuff has been... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Marcin Wasilewski Trio: January (ECM)

Marcin Wasilewski Trio: January (ECM)

If you go to the Thomas Stanko essay/review under Absolute Elsewhere (see tag) you may read at the end my cheap witticism about the names of these guys. That said, it works for me -- I took one... > Read more

LOST IN MUSIC, by GILES SMITH

LOST IN MUSIC, by GILES SMITH

Pop obsession can be tragic stuff: those long days in record shops searching for an obscure Flock of Seagulls 12-inch; the nights spent putting all your albums into alphabetical order (do solo... > Read more