Category Archives: New Zealand

Tomorrow’s Love

Tomorrow's Love Photo

From Hamilton, New Zealand, Tomorrow’s Love is known now for an excellent version of Love’s “7 And 7 Is” on their only 45. Guitarist Ron Jenkins contacted me and told me about the group and sent the scans of the record seen here. He also sent me a transfer of “What Shall I Do”, which the band learned from the Artwoods, though the original version was the very fine “I’ve Got The Blues (What Shall I Do)” written and sung by Marvin Jenkins and released on Palormar 2208. I am one of the few to have heard Tomorrow’s Love version in almost 50 years!

I formed Tomorrow’s Love a long time ago. Max Fletcher was the bass player from Timaru. I arranged for Kevin [Toneycliffe] and Max to come to Hamilton and join a group with me and an organ player [Derek Allan].Tomorrow's Love Allied International 45 7 And 7 Is

New Zealand was a strange country back in the sixties with import and currency regulations. Foreign exchange was what we thought impossible to get other than in 50P British Postal notes available one per person a day. So on Friday nights we used to get into my car and rush around as many post offices as we could running into a post office and buying a 50P postal note each. We used these Postal Notes to buy packages of records that we thought would not be available here in New Zealand from a British Record Shop. We chose these via a Britsh music publication Melody Maker, and one record we chose was Love’s version of “7 And 7 Is”.

I recall another record we got was The Sparrow, “Tomorrows Ship”, so we just used Tomorrow’s Love as our name.

When we first heard “7 And 7 Is” we thought it was unique and bound to create interest. Of course we never ever anticipated the New Zeland Broadcasting Corporation banning the record and that is what really killed it. We had the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation’s #1 disk jockey running our dances and we know we would have got a fair go with airplay BUT he played it once and was jumped upon and that’s when we found out it was banned. It never entered our minds that the lyrics were drug related.

I believe there were two pressings with “7 And 7 Is” being the A side in the first pressing and then they made “What Shall I Do” the A side on the second pressing. I should have bought more than one copy. I do not think any of us got a cent in royalties. I have a first pressing which I was told there were 500 (but I had no way of verifying that). If correct it indicates the record sold over 500 copies.

I actually hated the fuzz box on “7 and 7 Is” but after listening to some other versions in later years I have grown to like our version. To be honest going by memory, I do not think it went over live, I mean “Ha Ha Said the Clown” was probably more acceptable!

The guitar was double tracked on “What Shall I Do”. I never knew that there was an original prior to the Artwoods. Looking back I wish we had tried to change the arrangements instead of just a copy of the originals.Tomorrow's Love Allied International 45 What Shall I Do

I recall Keith Ashton (a disk jockey in Hamilton who ran the dances) refusing to call the Saturday dance off like we wanted as the Starlight Ballroom had the Avengers or some Wellington band that had a record at the top of the charts playing there. He said he would get a second band from Rotorua (who incidently never turned up). Anyway we played and by 10 o’clock the Old Folks Hall was packed and friends of the group were telling us that nobody was at the Starlight! I understand they pulled the pin about 11pm. The Old Folks Hall had amazing acoustics, no matter how the band was performing it always sounded good.

One of our last gigs was in Auckland at Hauraki Radio’s nightspot. We never went down well until we played The Creations “Making Time” which we had hoped to record. We played it last because the guitar riff was played using a violin bow and because of the resin my guitar had to be properly cleaned up. It went down well and I can recall a comment from one of the people there that they had never heard an “outside” group being clapped as we were! Of course it could have been because it was our last number? but maybe not as they never knew it was …

When we broke up the drummer/vocalist (Kevin) of Tomorrows Love joined a group The Chapta. He was the vocalist for them on “Say a Prayer” which reached #1 on the NZ hit parade. I got a shock a few years ago to find that Kevin had died in Australia of a heart attack.

I think Max and myself realised that Tomorrow’s Love had done its dash at about the same time. I was trying to arrange gigs, etc and it simply wore me down, plus it was my car and my money that was keeping things going. Looking back it was stupidity, we never got the money from our dances, I think $60 was topline split between four. It never covered costs. Since the group broke up I have had no contact with any of them.

Ron Jenkins

Abdullahs’ Regime

Abdullahs’ Regime:

Mark Dalley – vocals, guitar, keyboards
Robert Coulter – rhythm guitar
Greg Cobb – bass
Mark Hansen – drums

“Sally I Do” is a great New Zealand freakbeat single and rare too, I would think. The flip is a good ballad, “Silver Ship”, which they dedicate to “those Services active in Vietnam” (New Zealand sent nearly 4,000 troops there).

Both sides were written and produced by Mark Dalley. I was a little disappointed to find out this was a studio band, from New Zealand Music of the 60’s and 70’s:

Abdullah’s Regime was a Wellington group, put together only to record the first single for the launching of the newly formed independent label, Ode Records in November 1968. It was one of the first independent labels to challenge the monopoly that the major labels had on the local recording scene. They never played or recorded together again. Robert Coulter later played in Risk in 1973 and Mark Hansen was in the original Mammal line-up in 1970.

Vietnam info from Wikipedia.

The Cresendos (aka the Crescendos)

The Cresendos, from left: Graham Johnston, Ian Irvine, Max Johnston and Bryan Stewart
The Cresendos, from left: Graham Johnston, Ian Irvine, Max Johnston and Bryan Stewart

The Cresendos (sic) consisted of Graham Johnston lead guitar, Max Johnston rhythm guitar, Ian Irvine bass guitar, and Bryan Stewart drums. The band began in 1965 in the small coastal city of Wanganui on the north island, about halfway between Wellington to the south and New Plymouth to the north.

In 1966 Allied International A&R man Fred Noad saw them at a talent contest. Supposedly they recorded their only 45 in a local warehouse. The label released it at the start of 1967 with their name misspelled on the label as the Crescendos – except their name was misspelled in the first place and you could say the label got it right.

“Now She’s Mine” is a great original by Ian Irvine. The vocals and lyrics are excellent and Graham Johnston really helps distinguish the song with the variety of sounds he lays over it. The neat buzzy tone comes from a home-made fuzz pedal created by someone from the local post office.

“I Want Your Love” is a ballad with a cool echo effect on the opening chords. It was written by Johnston – Irvine – Berryman.

Photo and most of the info from the liner notes to Wild Things vol. 1.

The Top Shelf

The Top Shelf were from Wanganui, a port town on the southwestern coast of the North Island of New Zealand, about a three hour drive from Wellington where they based their career. The Cresendos also came from Wanganui.

“Time Beyond (Can’t We Still Be Friends)” takes inspiration from “White Room” with some fantastic wah wah playing.

“Time Beyond” was left to the b-side behind a pop song with the very unwieldy title “Baby the World Really Turns (Many a Slip Twixt Cup and Lip)”. Although relatively lightweight, the opening is arresting and performance solid.

Production was by Peter Dawkins. A radio station card that accompanies my copy shows it was received on July 24, 1969, and played a paltry four times over the next two months, despite being a “Golden Disc Entry” for the year.

The band reunited for the Third Official Wellington 1960s Rock Band Reunion on Sunday, October 12, 1996 in the Lower Hutt Horticultural Hall. I can’t find any reviews of the show, but an article promoting the reunion in the New Zealand weekly the Sunday Star-Times gave a description of the band:

Wanganui’s Top Shelf are best remembered for their 1969 residency at Ali Baba’s in Wellington’s Willis Street, where they played soul and harmony based pop for the popular club’s post-teen regulars. They emerged in the strong Wanganui 1960s scene in mid 1968, made up of members from the popular Nusonics (Murray Barnes and John Harrison), and The Sect and Downbeats (Martin Berryman, Kevin Furey, and Doug Bonner) to play local dances, and save enough money to break into the Australian scene.

When kingpin promoter Ken Cooper offered them the Ali Baba’s gig, they headed south instead, leaving behind bassist Doug Bonner, who was replaced by Dave Berryman.

On-stage, they played up to nine hours a night on weekends, cutting a dash with their two piece horn section, and later in 1969, cutting a single for HMV Records, the bubblegum pop “Baby, The World Really Turns” backed with the psychedelic “Time Beyond”, penned by Wanganui duo Dick Le Fort and Martin Hadlow. They disbanded in late 1969.

Sources include: Mysterex: New Zealand Music and Culture

The Sundowners

The Sundowners at the Trades Hall, Auckland, 1963

Sonny Day and the Sundowners came together in Auckland around 1960. The band had numerous changes in lineup, but long-time members included Sonny Day on rhythm guitar, Bob Wynyard on lead, Teddy Toi on bass, Max Purdy on piano, Lloyd Tangaio on sax, and Graeme ‘Trixie’ Willoughby and Lionel Kennedy on drums.They had a number of releases on the Viking and Zodiac labels. Although I haven’t yet heard the Viking releases, I’m familiar with all of their Zodiac work except the one 45 released as by Dave Henry and the Sundowners.

“Baby Jane” was written for the UK group the Applejacks by Pete Dello and Ray Cane, some years before they formed Honeybus. It seems to have made its mark in the Antipodes, as the Pleazers also covered it.

Sundowners 45 releases:

on Viking:
Wolverton Mountain / Minimum Wage
How Many Times / Ta Ta
Hullo Out There / More and More and More
Limbo Party EP

on Zodiac:
Baby Jane / Keep A Knocking – Zodiac 1007
Hawaiian Wedding Song / Little Lovely One (as Sonny Day and the Sundowners) – Zodiac 1135
Tell Me Why / Johnny B Goode – Zodiac 1158
The Nitty Gritty / Things Will Be Different – Zodiac 1173
Ain’t Got No Home / Raindrops (as Dave Henry and the Sundowners)

Recently I had the pleasure of hearing from Lionel Kennedy, drummer for the Sundowners and the Maori Kavaliers. Following are his recollections of the Sundowners:

I was the Sundowners’ drummer from ’63 to ’65. I am originally from Sydney and on a whim left home early March ’63, took my drums and went off to New Zealand and have not lived in Australia since. I joined the Sundowners days after I arrived in Auckland and at our first rehearsal we did the advance pre-release of the Beatles’ Please Please Me and life as I knew it immediately changed.

In very early 1962 I remember watching Brian Henderson’s “Bandstand” when the Sundowners came on and did a spot. I clearly remember them saying that they had adopted the name Sundowners from the movie that was current at that time called the Sundowners with I believe Robert Mitchum and Ann Baxter. Little did I realize that I would be part of the band about nine months later. Their lineup on Bandstand was Bob Wynyard lead [guitar], Sonny Day rhythm, Ted Toi bass and Trixie Willoughby drums. If memory serves I think they came to Sydney as part of a Johhny Devlin show but I could be mistaken.

Prior to their Sydney trip they had done a stint I believe for a couple of years at a coffee shop cafe in Auckland called the Tijuana. Yuk Harrison was on bass and a drummer I don’t remember. The drummer was replaced with Trixie, and Yuk left and was replaced by Teddy Toi. With that line up they went to Sydney.

Upon returning to Auckland still early ’62 they took up residency at the Trades Hall and were being managed by Dave Duningham (you can see his name on that record label as producer).

By the time I arrived in Auckland at the end of March 1963 they had recorded all the Viking tracks and Trixie had left and was replaced with a young drummer named Tiger Murphy. He was not with them long and I replaced him at the beginning of April ’63.

Also there were a couple of additions – Max Purdy on piano, Lloyd Tangaio on tenor sax and Dave Henry as vocalist. Because of the Beatles turning point Bob, Sonny, Ted and I did separate quartet gigs in and around Auckland and just did Beatle stuff but our main gig was at the Trades Hall.

The Sundowners at Mount Maunganui, Xmas of ’63, left-right: Sonny Day, Max Purdie, Teddy Toi, Cheryl Allison, Lloyd Te Ngaio, Lionel Kennedy and Bob Wynyard.

When I first arrived in New Zealand I was offered a try out with Ray Columbus and the Invaders but before that could happen I tried out with the Sundowners and loved it from the start. They were just great people and I loved their approach to music. Ray and all the Invaders became close friends but I never regretted joining the Sundowners. I suppose it was that particular showband style that I enjoyed so much.

Towards the end of 1963 we added a female vocalist Cheryl Allison and in early ’64 added Marsh Cook on tenor, formally of the Quinn Tikis and other great Maori groups at that time. At one time including Cheryl and Dave we were a nine piece group, quite unusual for that time.

The band was doing very well and we were getting huge crowds at the Trade. We did some TV spots at that time. I don’t remember the shows but one was hosted by Pete Sinclair. I also during that time doubled on trumpet so with the two tenors plus a trumpet we had a great sound. I had played trumpet many years earlier, in a Dixieland group in Sydney from 1955 (I was 14) until around 1960 when I started to play drums.

Recording

I was not on the Viking tracks. They were recorded with Trixie Willoughby, but I was on all the others including Dave Henry’s single. The Sundowners also recorded an E.P with Trixie on drums at Viking called “Limbo Party.” All of these I believe were recorded after their return from Sydney. All in all I recorded five singles with the group.

“Tell Me” (flip side of “Johnny B. Goode”) and “Things Will Be Different” (flip side of “The Nitty Gritty”) I co-authored with Bob Wynard, the lead guitarist and band leader. We also may have written the one on the flip side of Sonny’s Hawaiian Wedding Song, “Little Lovely One” but am not sure. Bob and I wrote a whole bunch of songs during that time so forgive me if I’m a little hazy.

Although Sonny Day was the lead band vocalist the front man vocalist was Dave Henry and we recorded “Ain’t Got No Home” and “Raindrops” with him on Zodiac.

The Sundowners at the Trades Hall Jive Centre, April 1963. The only photo with Dave Henry.

Breakup and the Maori Kavaliers

Around mid 1964 for reasons still inexplicable Sonny left the group. He had been such a mainstay that it was difficult to think we could have gone on without him. But we did and we added a male vocalist who was really good and I only remember his name was Alan.

So we got thru the rest of ’64 and returned to Mount Maunganui for another Xmas season and Dave Dunningham all of a sudden fired us. At that time Bob Wynard and I were doing side work with Peter Posa and right at that moment he called us and Bob and I went over to Rotarua and did a show with Peter at the farewell concert for the Howard Morrison quartet at the Rotarua Sound Shell. After, Bob and I returned to the Mount, joined everyone else and came back to Auckland. Ted Toi joined Max Merritt and went off to Sydney.

Although Sonny had left the group earlier he and I were both staying at a boarding house so around mid-January we were hanging out at the Shiralee when we bumped into Gilbert Tong who had been looking for us around town. He made us a proposition to go up to Noumea and play in his night club the ‘Tahiti Cabaret’ and replace the band who was leaving, the Kavaliers without Freddy Kiel. They went on to Sydney and Sonny and I set up shop in their place at the club. A few months later Gilbert our boss set up a deal here in Tahiti to do a grand opening of the big new hotel in Tahiti the Hotel Taaone. He brought the boys (the remainder of the Kavaliers) back from Sydney and we put together a showband and came to Tahiti.

The Maori Kavaliers at the Cabaret Noumea, Hotel Taaone, April ’65

The band was called the Maori Kavaliers:

Sonny Day
Lionel Kennedy
Toko Pompey – tenor and all round singer/showman
Gerry Gerard – vocalist
Brian (Tuffy) Smith (Kavaliers)
Bill Peters lead guitar (Kavaliers)

The Maori Kavaliers – our first trip to Tahiti

The band was a tremendous success in Tahiti. We returned to Noumea and immediately took off with the same show and did a tour of the New Hebrides. Came back to Noumea, the band broke up and Sonny and I returned to Tahiti and the Hotel Taaone. During the late sixties at the Hotel Taaone it was almost like old home week. Every month we had a new floor show and they were all without exception the old friends from NZ, i.e Peter Posa, Dinah Lee, Howard Morrison, Eliza Keil, Tony Williams just to name a few.

Sonny went back to NZ I believe early 1967 and I stayed on in Tahiti and am still here. I continued to play but because of things out of my control I decided to stop playing and got work in the hotel business and am still doing that. I have a son and a daughter both in their thirties and two grandchildren. I am now 67 and am doing fine. At the hotel that I manage I started a jazz night on Wednesdays and it has become quite popular but it gives me the opportunity to play again.

I had no contact at all with any of the band members until August of last year when Max Purdie finding my email let me know that Sonny had passed away. And just last week he emailed me to tell me that there would be a big memorial to Sonny this coming August so in short after confirming that everyone will be there all of us will reunite after 44 years for a jam session at the Kings Arms in Auckland, August 17th, 2008.

I am really excited about the memorial. It will my first time back in 43 years. I believe Ted and Bob both now live in Australia but have confirmed that they will be there. With any luck I may bump into Eldred Stebbing of Zodiac so I will see if any of the singles are available, I sure hope so. I had lost all my photo albums and copies of the recordings over thirty years ago. I haven’t heard those songs for over forty years.

Lionel Kennedy

Lionel, 2008
The Sonny Day Tribute Concert, August 17, 2008, Auckland

More infomation on the Sundowners is available at the New Zealand Music of the 60’s site. Thank you to Lionel for his in-depth story and for the photo scans.

The Action (NZ)


An early photo of the band before vocalist Evan Silva joined.
From left: Brian Harris drums, Danny Stradwick guitar, John Bisset organ and Jack Stradwick bass.

The Action I’m posting today isn’t the UK group of the same name but a New Zealand group from Auckland. Seems like they didn’t mind being confused with their more famous namesake, as they recorded the UK Action’s “Never Ever” for their second 45. Not an unusual practice at the time, there’s also an Australian group calling itself the Birds who covered two of the UK Bird’s 45s, “No Good Without You” and “Say Those Magic Words”.

This Action cover the Vagrants “I Can’t Make a Friend” on the flip side of their first 45, “Romeo and Juliet”, doing an excellent job of it too. This was recorded in April of 1967. Though you wouldn’t think it from this song, they were actually known as more of a soul and r&b band than pop or garage.

Evan Silva wrote to me about “I Can’t Make a Friend”:

That was the first song I recorded with the Action at Stebbings studio in Eldred Stebbing’s basement. I sing on all but Romeo & Juliet. The A sides were Stebbing’s suggestion for the pop market and we selected the B sides. We never played the A sides live as we did not like them, except for Try A Little Tenderness we played that regular especially in Oz! Brett [Neilsen] our drummer was the La De Da’s drummer prior to us and did not want to go back to Oz, then joined the Action and off we went to Oz!

Brian Harris then took Brett’s place in the La De Da’s!

Eldred Stebbing was the owner of the Zodiac label. Many of the great New Zealand bands recorded at his studio, and the Action, the Pleazers and the La De Da’s all played residencies at his nightclub, the Galaxie.

A detailed history of the band is available here

The Chants R&B

The Chants R&B are maybe the greatest of all the New Zealand groups – and that’s saying something considering the competition (Bluestars, La De Das, Pleazers and more).

They came out of Christchurch and put out two 45s in 1966. Band members were Mike Rudd guitar and vocals, Jim Tomlin guitar, Martin Forrer bass and Trevor Courtney drums.

After the first 45, the insane “I Want Her”, Jim Tomlin left the band and was replaced by Max Kelly. Tomlin came back, however, to produce their next and last 45, the solid “I’m Your Witchdoctor” / “Neighbor Neighbor”, both sides of which feature non-stop fills and razor sharp soloing behind the vocals. An amazing record.

Their live shows were legendary with episodes like Mike Rudd nailing his guitar to the floor while still plugged in, generating wailing feedback! A glimpse of their live sound is available on The Stage Door Tapes.