Welcome to the centennial episode of Counting the Beat. For 100 podcasts, over around 2 and a half years, I've been bringing you NZ music rarities, obscurities and new releases. Counting The Beat started out as a New Zealand music radio show on a station called The Beach on Waiheke Island. But when The Beach folded I shifted from an on-air format to a podcast. When we started a new station, Waiheke Radio, I kept the podcast going although it is broadcast on Waiheke Radio and a few other stations beside.
To mark the 100th episode I thought I'd take a look back at some of my favourite features and tracks from the Counting The Beat back catalogue.
I've made six cover specials - four featuring NZ bands covering other kiwi acts and two of international artists covering New Zealand songs. In the Covering The Beat International Special one of the tracks I included was The Diskettes covering Pauly Fuemana's 'How Bizzare'. Another favourite cover is from Covering The Beat 3, here's Cut Off Your Hands covering Split Enz's 'Shark Attack'.
If you take a look down the sidebar of my site you'll find tags that let you find episodes featuring particular artists. There are a couple who feature more than others - I think Chris Knox is up there but there are also a couple more obscure acts who have turned up again and again. One of them is Bear Cat - here they are with 'Red Panda Blues'.
One of the things I like to do on Counting The Beat is take a theme or subject and look at how that's been approached by different New Zealand artists over the years. In True Crime Stories (mp3) I featured songs about real life crimes and criminals including a number by The Howard Morrison Quartet about escaped convict George Wilder. Over the time I've been making Counting the Beat I've become quite a fan of The Howard Morrison Quartet, as well as true Crime Stories they've been included in episodes on Rugby and The Honours System.
Another thing I've tried to do on Counting The Beat is give people a chance to hear music that is out of print. A neighbour let me borrow a pile of records to have a look through to see if there was anything I was interested in laying. In the middle of the pile was a record I had heard rumours of but never had really confirmed even existed. It was the second album by The Gordons, titled Volume 2 - It featured in the episode Rare as Hen's Teeth in Jan 2008.
One of my favourite theme shows was one titled Like An Illuminated Ping Pong Ball That's the Only Way I can Describe It, the show collected together NZ songs about UFOs along with excerpts of a TV news report on UFO sightings over the Kaikoura Ranges.
I have a thing about songs that are about, inspired by or named after New Zealand place names. In fact the very first Counting The Beat (mp3) was a place name special. One song included in that episode was 'Sandringham' written by Matthew Bannister, formerly of Sneaky Feelings and performed by his band The Weather. I first heard this song when that band played a free city council funded show on Waiheke Island and when I was putting together my 1st place name special I tracked down Bannister and asked him if he could supply me a copy of the then unreleased song. The songs out now on an album it that itself is named after a location, Aroha Ave. Also in that special is a song by NZ folk pioneer Peter Cape, the man who wrote the iconic 'Taumaranui on the Main Trunk Line'. it took me a while to get my tongue around it but the song is 'Taumatawhakatangihangakouauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu' (and that's an abbreviation of the actual place name).
Sometimes there's some real detective work involved in putting together an episode of Counting the Beat. For a long time I wanted to a make special on music featuring the input of iconic NZ poet Sam Hunt. But there was one thing missing. In the seventies Hunt had collaborated and released an album with a kiwi folk rock band called Mammal. I has seen it listed on Ebay auctions for US$500 but couldn't find a copy I could hear anywhere. After months and months I managed to track down one of the members of Mamma, Tony Backhouse, who was still making music. I made contact asking if he had a copy, which he did, one a friend had copied because he didn't have one himself, but he was in Australia and the recording was in a garage in NZ. Eventually after a few more emails I had a recording and the Sam Hunt special could finally be made.
The Free Music Archive is a project started by American free-form radio station WFMU. The Archive is an on-line repository of creative commons licensed music free to stream and download. Since it started early in 2009 I've been monitoring the the music added to the Archive trying to identify and tag all the NZ music. There are a bunch of kiwi artists there such as The Veils, Bang Bang Eche, Dub Terminator, Bruce Russell and Surf City. You can also find full live sets from The Mint Chicks and The Bats.
To close my retrospective of 100 CTBs I've got something from one of the highlights of producing the show which has been going to the Silver Scroll Awards - a competition organised by RIANZ, the songwriters organisation to recognise excellence in songwriting. The tradition at the awards ceremony is to have the nominated finalist songs performed by other kiwi artists. I've been luck enough to be able to get along twice to interview the finalists and record the show You can hear Counting The Beat Silver Scroll specials from 2007 and 2008 (in 2009 it was held in Ch Ch). In recent years the show has also closed with a grand finale. In 2008 the closing act was The Chills on stage at the Auckland Town Hall with pipe organ, choir and bells performing 'Heavenly Pop Hit'. You can see a video of the performance on the video page.
Thanks for listening and following the blog everyone. I might not be the most regular but I've still got a few more in me yet.
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