Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 17. July 23, 1968
Records — 'They laughed when I picked up m' ukulele'
'They laughed when I picked up m' ukulele'
Tamla Motown is making steady progress on the New Zealand pop scene. After shelving many discs for the last eighteen months. HMV has begun to release a string of "Greatest Hits" albums by the more commercially appealing groups. Diana Ross and the Supremes have been spread over two separate discs (STMLM 6009 and STMLM 6020 Stereo). Volume One is really vintage, "Where Did Our Love Go", "Ask Any Girl, "Back In My Arms Again" and the best track. "Stop In The Name of Love". The second contains more recent material—"I Hear A Symphony", "The Happening". "You Keep Me Hanging On".
The performances are known well enough to need no description. If you are not yet a Supremes fan these discs won't help change your opinion. I suggest waiting for an outstanding forthcoming release—The Supremes At The Talk of The Town, recorded live in London.
The title Greatest Hits on the Marvin Gave disc (STMLM 6007 Stereo) is rather misleading because he has no success whatsoever in New Zealand. There isn't much wrong with his voice and the backings by an unknown negro group are good, however he lacks any originality and falls into the trap of using every available soul cliche.
I Was Made To Love Her (STMLM 6006 Stereo) just shows what can be done with Tamla Motown material when the singer has an original stylistic approach. In my opinion Stevie Wonder is the best of the Motown solo artists and this disc really swings—from the title song through to "Respect" and "My Girl", Unfortunately the recording is like most products on this label—lacking in bass with excessive sibilance.
At last Nancy Sinatra and Lee hazelwood have together produced an LP Nancy And Lee (Reprise RS 6273 Stereo) contains most of their hit singles—"Summer Wine", "Jackson", "Velvet Morning", "Sand", and "Ladybird", plus interesting new material. I notice that someof their earlier hits have been re-orchestrated and the new recordings with dynamic Reprise Stereo sound are excellent. Lee's voice never Stays in tune very long, but he manages to extract the most out of "You've Lost That Loving Feeling". It's a pity this duo don't concentrate more on album work.
God Bless Tiny Tim (Reprise RS 6292 Stereo) is one of the Campest LPs ever to come out of America. You've probably read about him in Time—he's an unknown identity, about 6 feet tall, with straggly shoulder length hair, a sickly feminine smile, and a nose bigger than Dnrante's. He carries his Complete musical accompaniament (i.e. ukulele) in a brown paper bag strung around his neck.
His self-confessed speciality is singing "psychedelic folk" numbers in a nasal falsetto voice, interspersed with Sick comments about hitting your grandmother with a shovel and other such sweeties. Cher sounds like an angel in comparison to his "attack" on her tune I Got You Babe". He warbles about "Livin" In The Sunlight, Lovin In The Moonlight" and "Strawberry Tea" and asks "Daddy, Daddy, What Is Heaven Like;" Funnily enough Tiny Timothys first single (off this LP) "Tip-toe Thru The Tulips" is winging its way up the American and New Zealand charts.
The Fugs (whose numbers include Allen Ginsberg) produced a record before Tenderness junction (Reprise RS 6280 Stereo) but this is the first to be pressed in New Zealand. Their other LP was banned for Indecency. The only reaction to this disc seems to have been one of horror—everyone has jumped on the bandwagon and slated it as "sick" and "rude". Their humour isn't for the prudish—"You're My Radiant Wet-dream Angel Baby" —"Sitting On My Throne" Sung by a typical American backing of a fifties ballad. The "Aphrodite Mass" is slightly more musically advanced, with its "Litany Of The Street Grope", ":Genuffection At The Temple Of Squack", and "Homage To Throb Thrills", Like or dislike according to personal taste—I do, but I haven't yet found anyone to agree with.