Various Artists: The Kiwi Music Scene 1969 (Frenzy)

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Hayride, by Dedikation
Various Artists: The Kiwi Music Scene 1969 (Frenzy)
By the end of the Sixties – a decade which began with a musical whimper – New Zealand pop and rock was recognised as a business and cultural force.

The APRA Silver Scroll awards launched in 1965 acknowledged local writing talent, there were music and entertainer awards, Radio Hauraki was playing local music, a thriving live scene and local pop stars were all over television, the new medium which made stars of them.

Some of those stars had short careers, others got a foothold on the public consciousness and are still celebrated today.

Grant Gillanders' compilations of the 50thanniversary years hits a peak with this double set of 57 songs which cover everything from the whimsical (Simple Images' seemingly endless Michael and the Slipper Tree) to proto-rock (Larry's Rebels' Mo'reen), pure pop (Revival's inescapable Viva Bobby Joe), slightlydelic songs (Hi Revving Tongues' Escalator) and huge hits: Hi Revving Tongues' Rain and Tears, Shane's Saint Paul (about McCartney but oddly referencing Lennon songs), Fourmyula's Nature among them.

There were any number of covers of international songs, but what always surprises is how local artists often improved on the original or at least delivered something very worthwhile: Tom Thumb's Hey Bulldog and a valiant Witchi Tai To; Larry Morris' Bad Moon Rising; Dizzy Limits' Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight; Shane's Cuddly Toy; Allison Durban's Games People Play; Dedikation's unusual big ballad treatment of Ruby Tuesday . . .

In this company however Fourmyula stand out for only recording originals.

For people of A Certain Age, many of these songs will be familiar . . . but at a guess even that demographic will be surprised by many inclusions they either never heard or haven't in the five decades since.

If there's any take-away from this, as they say, it's that even if local artists relied on covers, their musicianship, arrangements and the production on the songs were frequently impressive if not impeccable.

Very enjoyable and useful widescreen collection of pop at the end of the decade.

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