Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Music: Play Versions

It is the price of a tidy kitchen that my family will sometimes have to put up with me playing my latest jam repeatedly while I dance around doing the tidying and stacking. It might be a new tune, or it might just be one I've discovered and fallen in love with.

This week's jam is the latter. I'm not sure how I didn't know sooner about Dusty Springfield's 'Who gets Your Love', the lead track on her 1973 album Cameo, a commercial flop which, in the words of its Wikipedia entry, "has since been re-evaluated by both fans and music critics alike and is now often cited as one of the highlights of Springfield's recording career".

It's a sad breakup song that bursts into a storming soul chorus orchestrated by her writer-producers, Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter, who wrote a string of minor hits and also-rans through the 60s and 70s (including for New Zealand crooners Craig Scott and Dean Waretini) and produced Glen Campbell's 'Rhinestone Cowboy'. I'm not sure they did anything better than this:

If I didn't know Dusty's original, I had been playing another version, by Jamaican singer Ken Boothe, since I rediscovered it on a Trojan Records compilation LP I bought in the 1980s. Boothe's version is tense and haunting:

The third version of any note is the one by Margie Joseph, which was sampled/remixed last year by dance producers Vanilla. I haven't embedded those because they don't come near the versions that fall in the respective sweet spots of the two legendary singers above.

Hey, you know what? I don't have any great meditations on the state of music this week, so maybe we can just share some favourite versions. If you want to play, just find your jam on YouTube and paste in the URL (just the URL, not any embed code) into the comments window below. It'll auto-embed when you save your comment.

I'll start with another tune I've played out a few times: the unlikely and gorgeous cover of James Blake's 'The Wilhelm Scream' recorded by Australian outfit The Bamboos. It really does work:


I've mentioned before that I am a member of the Digital Media Trust, which oversees Audioculture and the long-running screen heritage site NZ On Screen. And almost since the whole project began seven years ago, I have been politely asking after the music video for Sharon O'Neill's 'Asian Paradise'.

It has been a long and difficult road, because Sharon's former record company long ago lost the video master and no one else seemed to have one. It eventually transpired that the ABC in Australia had a copy and earlier this year NZ On Screen paid a transfer fee to get a copy back for New Zealand.

And this week, the video was posted. I am sure that all of you who were male teenagers in 1980 will share my ... feelings about this:

Also fresh on NZ On Screen this week: a long-forgotten (by me, anyway) Radio With Pictures recording of John Cale's brilliant 1983 show at The Gluepot, with Tall Dwarfs in support. A bootleg tape from the mixing desk of this show has been traded amongst Cale fans for years (I had one and pretty much wore it out), so to have the video available after all this time is a very special thing.

On Audioculture: how the music came back to New Plymouth (includes Peter Jefferies and Amanda Palmer) and Andrew Schmidt's profile of the most influential musical figure to emerge from the Hutt Valley, Chris Parry – who played on The Fourymula's before stepping away from the drumkit to sign The Jam, Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Cure, and, later, to launch the game-changing London music station Xfm.


I went down to the launch of Randa's new video for 'Lifeguard' on K Road this week. It's the latest in a series of collaborations with with Candlelit Pictures, directed this time by Thunderlips. And I think I am on safe ground in saying that the response of the crowd was "Wow, that was amazing! And a little bit creepy ... "

Also new this week, Princess Chelsea's 'We Were Meant 2 B', which uses clips from the 1980s coming-of-age film Against the Odds, on whose soundtrack it features. As someone points out in the comments, it has the odd, but not unpleasant, feel of watching a late 80s video:


Elsewhere, Godfrey de Grut analyses UMO's 'Multi-Love' in NZ Musician magazine.

Russell Baillie chats to Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne in light of the exciting new that the Lips, Disclosure, Kurt Vile and a bunch of others will be playing the inaugural McLaren Valley Music and Arts Festival next January. I'm going.

If you missed Julia Parnell's excellent Dragon documentary, it's on Sky Go.

New at Te Ara, Ewan Lincoln's A History of Aotearoa in seven musical instruments.

And more good video from the Radio NZ Music team: at home with Fazerdaze:



Currently sitting pretty at the top f the 95bFM Alternative Top 10, Soccer Practise's sleek 'Windfall':

I have a lot of time for Lizzie Marvelly as a person, but I think that like many who've done it, she has struggled to make the move from a light classical career to cool pop music. I think she might have got there now, with this smoochy P Money-produced R&B tune from the soundtrack of Stan Walker's forthcoming film Born to Dance:

Thanks to Disasteradio for the heads-up on the new album of chiptuney electronic fun from Mark McGuire as The Road Chief, previewed here by The Hype Machine:

There aren't many tracks that are as safe a bet on the dancefloor as 'No Diggity'. And this housey remix is quite the banger. Free download:

And finally, RocknRolla Soundsystem are back with a new mixtape. I need hardly explain to you what a good time this dirty grab bag of funk, soul and breaks represents. Free download:


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