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OK, music time [Feb. 26th, 2012|10:10 pm]
[Current Location |Invercargill]
[mood |curiouscurious]
[music |Ritchie Venus and the Blue Beetles - "You Don't Own Me"]

A few days ago I acquired a second hand copy of the "Christchurch: The Music" compilation. About eight years ago some bright spark had the idea of doing a 40 (or so) year retrospective of Christchurch music. As a compilation, the collection has one major failing: the songs are arranged in no particular order, with no attention paid to era or genre, so the effect is what you'd get if someone with an indiscrimate collection of music put their playlist on shuffle and just let it run. It's the sort of thing someone would borrow and listen to and perhaps note down one or two groups worthy of further investigation, not something to be listened to on its own merits.

That said, there was one very interesting piece on the CD: Ritchie Venus and the Blue Beetles' "Bleeding Heart".

Received wisdom has it that this single was the most incongrous thing to have been released on the (originally Christchurch-based) alternative music label Flying Nun Records, with Ritchie Venus also moonlighting as an Elvis impersonator. However (now I've actually had a chance to listen to the music in question), the entire production actually makes sense. Rather than straight rock-and-roll, this is closer to the mid-`sixties proto-psychedelia of groups like the 13th Floor Elevators. And looking around the internet as to who was actually involved in the making of this record, and associated with Ritchie Venus and the Blue Beetles at one time or another, a number of familiar names appeared. Roy Montgomery, Desmond Brice, Mick Elborado, John Chrisstoffels, Campbell McLay... yes, this is another group taken from the pool of Christchurch alternative musicians which spawned the Builders, Pin Group, the Terminals, or the Shallows; and as such is not really any less congruous than that pool's country and western band, the Renderers; or their "girl group", 25 Cents...

And here it is on You Tube. The good: the sound quality of the performance is even better than the CD. The bad: the sound level is extremely low so you will need to fiddle with speakers and volume controls to get the best out of this. The Important Warning: once the video has finished, set your volume controls back to normal.