For one week more, three new episodes of Blue Smoke are available for streaming at the Radio NZ Concert website. The episodes are Heartland Hootenany (featuring New Zealand pop and country of the early 1950s, with many items recently restored by Stebbing’s), Golden Ears (a tribute to jazz legend Julian Lee), and Christchurch After Hours (what it says on the tin, covering the 1940s to early 1960s).
In Heartland Hootenany, among the artists featured are Johnny Granger, Jack Christie, Rex Franklin, the Duplicats, Ellen Vann, Mavis Rivers (left) and Johnny Devlin (the latter imitating Rolf Harris). Golden Ears includes Lee’s work with Don Burrows, Mavis Rivers, the Zodiac Mellowtones, Ricky May – and Lee’s comic alter ego, Sir Hugo Holme. Christchurch After Hours opens in the late 40s and includes several rare recordings from the Jim Shanahan collection at Radio New Zealand’s Sound Archives. Among the musicians are Coral Cummins, Martin Winiata, Bob Bradford, Doug Caldwell and – my current faves – Nick Nicholson and the Neketini Brass.