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.

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