Thanks for all the messages since the NZ Post New Zealand Book Awards in late July. Just for the record, Blue Smoke won the “people’s choice” award, the general non-fiction category, and the “book of the year” prize. Thanks for all your support. Despite the impression this photo by Mark Tantrum might give, I felt a bit discombobulated throughout the night: my 91 year old mother took a fall while leaving for the awards, and broke her hip. She is coming out of rehab tomorrow – after eight weeks. As one of the inspirations for the whole thing, it’s a shame she missed the moment; late that night when she heard the news she said, “He’ll never have another night like that again.” Maybe it was the morphine. But then again she was the one who said, when Blue Smoke was finally finished, “I hope someone’s interested.”
I’ll be making her tapes of the radio programmes I’ve been making the past few weeks, a second series of Blue Smoke for RNZ Concert. They are available on-line for streaming or downloading, but only until October 16. The four programmes concentrate on New Zealand popular music from 1955 to the early 1960s. RNZ Sound Archives are busy post-earthquake, so I didn’t want to add to their workload by asking for material on 78 rpm discs. In the future I hope to do a programme concentrating on Stebbing’s recordings from the 1950s, as so little of it is available on CD.
Here are links to the web pages and track lists of the four recent programmes (the audio is no longer on-line, sorry):
1. After Hours – Early recordings of New Zealand musical comedians, cabaret acts and solo artists including Kahu Pineaha, Lou and Simon, Noel McKay, Bas Tubert and Ash Burton.
2: Sunsets and Sunrises – Mainstream pop acts, small jazz combos, and the role played by radio in disseminating popular music. Archive audio from the last edition of The Lever Hit Parade is included: the programme ended in December 1965, after 19 years.
3. Pie Cart Rock’n’Roll – The arrival of rock’n’roll in New Zealand, the reactions of musicians, and the Twist phenomenon. Among the acts featured are Johnny Cooper, Johnny Devlin, Eddie Howell, the Keil Isles, Clyde Scott and the Zanyopolis, Rim D. Paul and the Quin-Tikis, and Max Merritt and the Meteors.
4. Where the Kiwi Rhythm Calls – Original songwriting in New Zealand in the late 1950s and early 1960s, in pop, country and folk. Among the writers and performers featured are Sam Freedman, Ken Avery, Jay Epae, Rex Franklin, Val Murphy, Willow Macky and Pat Neho.
Oh, and this might be of interest: a morning after interview by Guy Somerset.