Graham Reid | | 4 min read
Auckland DJ and dapper man about town Alan Perrott has long had a love for the classy end of kirsch, MOR, easy listening and soul-funk music. He's a record collector of the nicest kind (he shares the love when appearing as his nom-de-turntables House of Bamboo) and is also behind the new compilation of rare New Zealand soul-funk and disco songs Heed the Call.
With John Baker, Perrott has pulled together rarities, classics, seldom if ever heard slivers of dancefloor tracks from the late Seventies and they are all presented in a limited edition, gatefold sleeve double vinyl (with photos, liner notes etc) released today.
Just 1000 copies of this impressive package (although for them what doesn't have a turntable there is also the lesser CD edition).
It is a labour of genuine love and so we thought it important to spotlight it (it is reviewed here) and also to drop some attention on Alan Perrott with our newly conceived Famous Elsewhere Compiler's Questionnaire . . .
The first compilation album you remember buying was . . ?
The first record I was given (cheers Aunty Irene) was a Beach Boys comp that we played to death, sparking my enduring dislike of Barbara Ann (sorry cousin Barbara Ann). The first one I bought myself would have been That Summer! just the best musical awakening for a young fulla raised on ZB.
What prompted this current compilation?
We started off in quite a different, more eclectic direction, looking at the likes of Claude Papesch and deep cut Quincy Conserve -- Matthew Crawley was involved -- but as it went on we got hooked more and more on fair dinkum local grooves, especially songs that sounded like they could only be from here. Then, once we settled on the Mark Williams tracks, he pretty much became the centre pole for the whole thing.
What one great compilation would you take to a desert island?
Argh, I’m the last person for these questions, my attention span rarely allows any record to last beyond two tracks -- one of the perks of having decks at home -- but I reckon I’d probably have to plumb for my battered old That Summer! record. It’s as much a mental photo album now.
Any track you either couldn't get, or reluctantly had to drop, for the current compilation?
I really dig Mark Williams Love the One You’re With, but three was a bit much. I was really keen to include more groovy tracks from MOR television singers -- Derek Metzger would have been fantastic -- but if they exist, they’re really well hidden.
Which period in pop music history desperately needs more compilation attention?
New Zealand-wise, I’d say non-Flying Nun indie music of the mid-80s.
Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home?
Way back when, I was jamming Neck of the Woods with some mates and we just couldn't make out some of the words. So I wrote to David Kilgour who kindly sent me back a lovely, brief letter -- he can’t have got to much mail from Mangere -- I should frame it really.
Finish this sentence any way you like: The best compilation albums . . .
should always include a few tracks you can't stand; boundaries need to be explored.
If you could get to compile another album around a theme, what might that theme be?
I have an easy listening fetish, so a local collection would be a barrel of monkeys. I’d also love to hear more of our earliest jazz bands, the notion of playing a style you only know from reading about it is bizarre.
The three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .
Gads, dunno…let’s go with Quadrophenia, Buster Keaton’s The General and The Abominable Dr Phibes (Sunday Horrors innit).
The last current CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)
Ooo, now there’s a story. I was digging in the Wairarapa and clocked a church op shop. The sign in the window said closed, but there was a mobility scooter parked outside so I popped my head around the corner … they were closing in five minutes. Just inside was a set of shelves with five records leaning against some kids toys. Peters and Lee was on top, they didn’t look promising. But hey, I’d walked 20m to get here, so I flicked through and third one down was a mint copy of The Cleves Australian album on Infinity -- an absolute Kiwi grail.
They wanted a dollar, but I gave them two (I’m not cheap) and ran for my life. Damn that was a buzz.
One old song from any era you wished you had written is . . .
Can’t Take My Eyes Off You -- this one’s for the ladies.
The compilation cover you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .
The Elvis comp The Clash ripped off for London Calling.
Three non-compilation for a desert island would be . . ?
Another Girl Another Planet, The Only Ones. I Saw Her Standing There, The Beatles. I Am the Resurrection, Stone Roses.
The artist or group you would most like to do a compilation for would be . . ?
Bert Kaempfert, for real. I really enjoy how he used horns as percussive instruments and, when he got it really right, the restraint of his grooves. James Last wishes.
And finally, is there a track on your most recent compilation you would love people to hear. And, if so, why that one?
Sonia and Skee’s The River, it’s completely different to everything else and is essentially unknown, but contains everything I wanted the album to capture and Skee sings the shit out it. Cheers to Jeremy Toy for the recommendation.