‘A million miles from New Orleans
Drinking a can of beer
I think about Memphis and Detroit City
I hear you ladies there are young and pretty
Will there be rhythm and blues on the radio?…‘
‘No movie stars or really big deals,
Me and the band just need a place to play
What more can I say?
This is a record with pictures from New Zealand‘
This is for Kiwi Music Month. Street Talk is a band which has been kind of forgotten, or overshadowed some of the higher profile bands of the era. They had, in Hammond Gamble, one of the most distinctive lead vocalists of all the Auckland bands of the late ’70s, and some great original songs, but they didn’t have the decadent, squalid glamour of Hello Sailor or the brattish bad boy image of Th’ Dudes.
At least one of the key lines from this album track, “Stranded in Paradise” lives on in the title of John Dix’s great history of New Zealand rock music. Street Talks’s two albums appeared, without any real promotion, on itunes about a year or so ago.
I recommend them as examples of good, ballsy, meat and potatoes rock/ r&b from the time. I just wish the non-album single, ‘She’s Done It Again’, was also available.
And I love this song, as much for the overall feel of it as for the playing (especially that great keyboard work and lead singer Hammond Gamble’s gruff, bluesy singing).
we got a band that’s been milkmen
and taxi drivers
and truck drivers and postmen too
accountants and door to door men, believe you me:
we got jukebox heroes just like you.
All very wistful and pleading. There was always a feeling, in New Zealand, that anything that mattered happened elsewhere. I think that’s the big difference in mood in the past 15 years or so.
Yes, New Zealanders are still big travellers, and we will continue to be so, I think. We still look energetically and often a bit excessively overseas.
But more of the younger generation of godwits, I think, will return.
And I think, now, we’re less prone to assume what we do here does not matter as much, or isn’t as good, somehow.