THE LONG AWAITED STATE HOUSE KID REISSUE
While continuing to work on a new collection of original songs (be patient - they won't be too far off) Ross has spent much of 2005 working with long-time producer Steve Garden on restoring the tapes of the first two Last Man Down albums. The remixed and remastered CD version of State House Kid (which also includes all but one track from This Sporting Life) is now out on the Ode label. The album can be ordered from your local record shop or online at www.marbecks.co.nz or www.realgroovy.co.nz. Failing that, you can contact Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a copy.
ALIVE AND GIGGING
The latest incarnation of the Snaps is now up and running and gigging around the Auckland region to promote the State House kid reissue and to road-test some new songs.
The line-up is Ross with Chris Rowlands on bass, Trevor Thwaites on drums, Jim Langabeer on tenor sax and flute and Douglas Martin on alto sax.. Up-coming gigs are a concert on 28 May (7:30) at the Devonport Folk Club (just $10 entry - call 445-2227 for tickets) and the London Bar on 24 June (free entry). Don't hesitate to contact Ross if you want to book the band.
FOR THE COLLECTOR
You might want to keep your vinyl copies of State House Kid and This Sporting Life for three reasons.
� The original albums have lyric sheets and different artwork
� Some of the new mixes are noticeably different to the originals (check out
Featherston and Marcy's In Love Again)
� The track Working For The Brewery does not appear on the CD.
The vinyl copies of the above albums are becoming harder to fine but the rarest Last Man Down LP is Parting Shots (only 200 copies pressed). This album has artwork featuring the old Devonport Wharf and includes the original recording of Where Fairburn Walked. The CD version of Parting Shots is something of an oddity listing tracks on two sides as if it were vinyl. The CD is still available but has no lyric booklet. About 100 copies were pressed in 1988 with a 12 page booklet but these are now very rare.
REACTION TO TIDEMARKS
Tidemarks is attracting interest not just from New Zealand fans. Copies of the album have been sold in England, France, Germany, Canada, USA and of course Australia. Reaction has been very positive and in some cases listeners have enquired about locating more New Zealand poetry. We are doing what we can to make sure Tidemarks is available throughout New Zealand. Check out your local music shop and demand they stock it. Otherwise orders for the album can be placed through www.amplifier.co.nz or by contacting Ross through this website. Some of the tracks from Tidemarks can be downloaded as mp3 files at Amplifier (just click on the link provided at this website). They are White Irises, Two Lovers and Senex.
Here's what Real Groove reviewer Brent Cardy had to say about Tidemarks:
"Tidemarks offers another chance to discover (or rediscover) the pleasures of Mullins' music, but with the additional twist of lyrics courtesy of homegrown poets including Robin Hyde, James K. Baxter and A.R.D. Fairburn. Mullins has an artistic subtlety of expression on his records that he wears so well, and bringing true poetry to music fans, Mullins shares his own love of the form."
Real Groove, August 2001
And if you are still not convinced:
"The stunning vocals of (Caitlin) Smith along with the great selection of (mostly) love songs are for me the highlight of this work. � If you enjoy lyrics and appreciate the work of these great wordsmiths consider adding it to your collection." New Zealand Musician, December 2001
Vocalist Caitlin Smith, who is featured on the Tidemarks album, continues to be one of Auckland's busiest live performers and deservedly so. Her 2004 album Aurere largely featured her own haunting original songs but did include a version of 'Where Fairburn Walked' which was sung by Ross on Tidemarks. Caitlin's version has generated a lot of interest particularly in Australia where it has received airplay on ABC radio. She has her own website (www.caitlinsmith.com) where you can arrange to purchase a copy of Aurere and find out when she is next appearing in your neighbourhood.
Another version of Where Fairburn Walked has been recorded by Chris Priestley for his 2005 CD Uncovered which is subtitled A Collection of New Zealand Folk Songs. This is a fine collection of acoustic music and if you can't find a copy in your local record store, you can contact Chris at email@example.com
STATEHOUSE KID ON THE WEB
You can hear or download a copy of the title track of Ross' first album (but minus its bridge) on http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/Gallery/housing/family.html . You will also find the lyrics reprinted and the cover art of the LP reproduced. This website accompanies a book by Ben Schrader entitled We Call It Home - A History of State Housing in New Zealand published by Reed Publishing in 2005.