Thursday, May 23, 2024

Peter Nelson and Renaissance - 70s kiwi funk uncovered

Crate diggers and fans of locally connected history funk and soul, take note. This never before released 1971 TV special soundtrack from Christchurch lad Peter Nelson and his Hong Kong-based Renaissance band features original compositions alongside jams from Buddy Miles, Booker T, and the classic Proud Mary, and is set to write a crucial new chapter in our funky history books. With a band made up of Kiwi, Sydney, and British ex-pats to tour in and around Hong Kong, Peter Nelson left the Castaways to dominate the Asian nightclub touring circuit, and did exactly that- Flying Out.

"It’s late 1968 and Peter Nelson, ex vocalist with the popular Christchurch and Sydney based soul/ r&b group ‘Peter Nelson & The Castaways is now performing in Hong Kong where he is offered a contract to join Brian Epstein’s NEMS Organisation in London via Cilla Black’s husband Bobby Willis. Peter turns down the offer and instead forms a new group Renaissance for the lucrative Hong Kong club scene. 

Peter recruits the cream of available musicians that were around at the time and lured Billy Kristian (bass), Wally Scott (guitar, sax & flute both ex Ray Columbus & The Invaders) from Sydney, who joined Hong Kong drummer Steve Tebbitt along with English studio musician Brian Robertshaw (brass) who played on numerous sessions for John Barry’s James Bond soundtrack music and seasoned keyboardist John Gordon who had been a working musician in the UK in everything from late fifties rock ‘n’ roll bands to the Black & White minstrel show. 

With so much experience behind them the group quickly jelled into the hottest soul/ funk band in the Pacific and South East Asian circuit. These recordings are the unreleased soundtrack from their TBS Network (Hong Kong) tv special in 1971 and features four original compositions along with punchy versions of Buddy Miles funk soul classics ‘Them Changes’ and ‘Runaway Child’ alongside their versions of ‘Vehicle’, Green Onions’, ‘Proud Mary’ and more."

Pre-order Peter Nelson and the Renaissance on orange vinyl LP from Flying Out, out June 14.

The whole album is already on YouTube if you want to talk a listen, added below....

Also out June 14 from Frenzy Music, 'The Peter Nelson Collection' on CD. Compiling his work with Peter Nelson and the Castaways, Renaissance, and some solo tunes.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Dubs From The Neighbourhood by christoph el' truento, out June 3

New dub vibes incoming from Christoph El Truento, out June 3 on vinyl/digital. If you enjoyed his last dub effort Peacemaker Dub (2019, vinyl reissue 2023), then. you will dig this. 

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Bad Brains reissue I Against I LP

Bad Brains LP - I against I reissue 2024

"I Against I is the third studio album from Bad Brains, originally released in 1986 on SST Records. It remains influential to this day, inspiring countless punk, ska, reggae, and hardcore bands with its innovative sound and uncompromising attitude.

"This reissue marks the eighth release in the remaster campaign, re-launching the Bad Brains Records label imprint. In coordination with the band, Org Music has overseen the restoration and remastering of the iconic Bad Brains’ recordings. The audio was mastered by Dave Gardner and pressed at Furnace Record Pressing. Available July 26, 2024. (Buy CD, LP,  Cassette, Digital)

From Daryl Jenifer, original and long-standing Bad Brains bassist:

“Hey what’s up Bad Brains family - Darryl Jenifer here. I’m proud to announce to you the blessings and return of all Bad Brains master rights / recordings to Bad Brains and out of Babylonian captivity. These rights and other items include master reels, recently discovered photos, and etc. 

Thanks to JAH and all involved in this glorious feat. Stay tuned for the “re-everything” involved in all of our NINE studio albums and more. Big UP to Org Music for their faith, hard work, and dedication to BAD BRAINS RECORDS WE GOT THAT PMA 2020 and beyond.”

Friday, May 10, 2024

Shogun Orchestra are ancient relics (kidding)

Lucien Johnson led the Wellington outfit Shogun Orchestra in the early 2010, releasing two albums. The first self-titled album came out 2010, followed by Black Lotus in 2013. The sound was inspired by time he spent living in Haiti. Both albums are available on Bandcamp.

This clips is from a live show playing a tune off Black Lotus, with the talented Jennifer Zea on vocals. I remember seeing Shogun Orchestra when they toured for the album in November 2013, they did a great show at Ponsonby Social Club. The band arrived not long before showtime - I think they had some car troubles on the drive up from Welli. They managed to rally themselves and got a groove on. 

These days Lucien Johnson has been releasing some great jazz albums under his own name, the latest came out in April this year - Ancient Relics (listen below). 

I heard an interview with him recently where he said he's had people, say to him 'I don't like jazz, but this is really great' to describe the album, so go give it a listen. For jazz fans and non jazz fans alike.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Rough Opinion (KOS 163 & R.I..Q.) interview, 1992

Rough Opinion (KOS 163 & R.I..Q.) interview, 1992, by Scope Magazine.

Nowadays they’re the upfront duo in rap band Rough Opinion, but first they were street artists, from the old school. Kos 163 and R.I.Q (Rhymes in Quest) were into bombing in the mid-80s, when the first hip hop wave hit NZ: the breakdancing, the early rapping, the stylised murals or bombs that started appearing around the streets.

Back then, street art was inextricably linked with hip hop subculture. Kids were out there, getting their names up— like today—but with one important difference: respect. For property. And for themselves.

Now Kos and R.I.Q reckon that a lot of kids “got no respect... they're like sheep following something what's happening”.

No marker pens for them; they would always use spraycans. “We're true graffiti artists; they don’t have the context, the history”.

A lot of tagging, they say, is “vandalism., nothing to be proud of”. No different from the likes of "I wuz hair", declarations of love “4 Eva” and banal political no nukes sloganeering: “limited, unimaginative trash,” they say.

“They don’t add creativity,” says Kos, “You got to create your own style, you can’t just go and fuck over other people’s property... people, they’re hurting out there...”

Though they admit doing some damage to other people’s property in their youth.. “now, thinking about it, it’s really stupid.”

Kos still keeps his hand in—he’ll be doing a wall at the new Espressoholic when it opens—but even back in the 80s he was doing major stuff.

Bombing a train on the Upper Hutt line, or freights that would be seen in Hamilton and Auckland: that was real style - sending messages to the rest of the country. And messages are what it’s about, Kos reckons, and what the taggers now-a-days should be doing “if they're hardcore like they think they are”.

Kos likens it to hip hop music, with kids whose musical education started with Hammer or NWA thinking they have the whole picture.

Taggers today, he says, need to find out where things came from, so that they can learn—and earn— respect. And they should think about what they're doing.

“If they want to do real graffiti, they should find some abandoned buildings or walls, and go throw on that.... people shouldn’t have to fork out for damages.”

At the same time, he can see why it happens. Kids lose out in the system, at school and with families. “Older people always have the say; kids are pawns in the game. They’re growing up a lot faster too— having sex out there at 11 an’ shit. Morals are breaking down, with the family, there’s less discipline...”

Then there’s the lack of positive role models—particularly male— within the family. “Two parents are a thing of the past. Kids turn to a father figure, a guy to hang out with, and get influenced...”

With little being offered to youth for a future—‘“society don’t give them nothing”—and little available in the way of positive direction and entertainment, it’s no surprise that some choose to hang out, and write their names on walls.

They're bored. And in Welli, there’s no youth centre like Boystown in Auckland, where you can exercise, shoot some baskets, hang out.

The council here, they reckon, are forgetting about young people. Sure, the civic centre’s fine, great library, but considering children are supposed to be the furure, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of investment in that future.

Attitudes have changed. Once it used to be “what I don’t have I'll make, now it’s what I don’t have’ll
take.” Or write on.

Rough Opinion will play with Auckland’s Hallelujah Picassos at Bats Theatre on March 5.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Liquid Liquid live

This is cool - the first time Liquid Liquid played the song "Cavern" in NYC 1982. They recorded it for NYC label 99 Records in 1983 - the label was also home to other local talent like ESG and Bush Tetras.

'Cavern' got sampled without permission by Melle Mel for 'White Lines'. 99 Records took Sugarhill Records to court and won, but then Sugarhill went bust so they were unable to collect. 

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Deepdive into Phil Fuemana's music

Enjoyed listening to this, Martyn Pepperell does a great summary of where Phil and his family started, and what they created. Nice shout out to yours truly too, which is appreciated.

"Fuemana's 1994 long player New Urban Polynesian dropped on Deepgrooves Entertainment right in the middle of what's been dubbed the "Polynesian renaissance" of the 1990s. Martyn Pepperell joined Josh Dom on The Vault on Wellington's Radio Active for a dive into what went into Phil Fuemana's family infused masterpiece and what came out of it, just ahead of its full reissue to both digital and vinyl on Melbourne's Gazebo Records.

The Vault is brought to you by AudioCulture: Iwi Waiata, the noisy library of New Zealand music and made with the support of NZ On Air Music."

from RNZ's interview: 

"We weren't in a good place when we were kids, so coming out of all that, for Phil, it was about being family, being able to survive the times," Christina said.

"I remember [Phil] talking to me and saying music was that thing that would take us out of poverty, because we didn't really have that much and music was one thing that we had, really, in abundance," Tony said.

"It's a timeless album and Phil was really ahead of his time... I'm just so proud of him, I just know that he'd be so stoked."

The foundation for the record was laid when a representative from Motown Records came to Tāmaki Makaurau and challenged Phil to "better his music", Tony said.

The oldest Fuemana sibling began working hard on his lyrics and song production and "started to shape the style of music that he wanted to hear".

Tony says the Motown rep was Frank Wilson, a name that will be familiar to northern soul fans for his extremely rare single Do I Love You (Indeed I Do), of which only two copies are known to exist.