For The Record -Promotor Hugh Lynn-
FOR THE RECORD – Published by David Bateman Ltd,2002 -
Maui and Warrior
Promoter Hugh Lynn and singer Larry Morris purchased Mascot studios after the death of engineer Bruce Barton. Mascot had released the odd disc over the years: Barton had engineered a disc released on Europe and Morris had recorded for independents Moon and Gemini. Hugh Lynn saw a niche in the recording industry where he could focus his attention: a Maori renaissance was beginning to rumble, more attention was being paid on the stage to influences other than American music, and there was no reason why Maori couldn’t take their place in rock and roll. Lynn allowed interested parties to use his studios to set up camp, eat and record; with arrangements for remuneration made between the brothers.The most commercial record to come out of this arrangement was put together by Dalvanius Prime. In 1982, a round of concept singles hit the market. Studios would take a group’s hits and re-record them as a medley tagged with the phrase ‘on forty-five. ‘Thus we had Beach boys on 45,Hollies on 45 – and here in New Zealand on RCA,Terence O’Neill-Joyce produced Maoris on 45, a medley ot Maori tunes played by the Consorts with the publishing attributed to K-Tel. The Consorts themselves and the musical arrangements were the creation of Dalvanius Prime, who used the record as a stepping-stone to another single, this time on Huhg Lynn’s Maui label and entitled Poi E. The disc was recorded by a choir from Prime’s home town, the Patea Maori group, accompanied by the disco sounds in vogue at the time-Linn drums and synthesizers.Reviews were mixed for this combination of Maori chanting riding on a disco beat, but in February 1984 the song made number one. With writer Ngoi Pewhairangi, Dalvanius recorded a larger work-almost a Maori pera – toure successfully through Europe, once again with the Patea Maori concert party. Meantime back at Mascot studios, a Maori/Polynesian/reggae band named Herbs was releasing successful singles and albums on their own record label – Warrior. Herbs’ songs of gentle protest about French nuclear testing in the Pacific and their adoption of a reggae rhythm won them many friends outside New Zealand, and assured their attendance at Pacific music festivals. If indeed there is such a thing as a rock sound of the Pacific, then it is epitomised in the music ot Herbs.
From the clutch of do-it-yourselfers who released records in the early eighties, mention muse be made of Harry Ratbag. Ratbag was Auckland’s top poster paster and made a good living in the dark of night putting up advertisements for bands on city walls. Harry had his own group, Herco Pilots, and released two double 45 discs in the most elaborate fold-out packaging. The label was called Rem records, an abbreviation for the Auckland suburb ot Remuera In the mid-eighties Harry went to New York,landed a job with Stiff records and at the end of the century was making compilation dance CDs in the States under his own name, Harry Russell. From the Wellington group with the best name in the world – Shoes This High – came Brent Hayward, who toured the country as a solo performer (called Smelly Feet) or with Julie Cooper. Brent released, pressed and sold numerous records on his own labels – a real record and Massage, plus Brent & Julie Records. In the South Island, Bill Direen produced a number of records for himself and others and appeared on numerous one-off labels, most notably Sausage, Full Moon and Southern Indies. South Island soundman Rex Visible was involved with two record label names-Deep South and Onset Offset. To sell even a minimum print run, though, you needed a distributor-and a company that looked favourably at New Zealand one – off productions was Jayrem.