May 9th, 2009

NZ Music Month

New Zealand Music Month - Day 9

The Mutton Birds were the sort of band that there were Big Expectations Of. Led by Don McGlashan of Blam Blam Blam fame (guitars, voice, euphonium), who had in the intervening time been involved with groups as diverse as the Front Lawn and Philip Dadson's percussion troupe From Scratch, the group also featured the talent (and occasionally the songs) of Ross Burge - drums; Alan Gregg - bass, vocals; and David Long - guitars.

It was obvious from the start that this band intended to launch a co-ordinated attack on the pop charts. Dominion Road, their first single, wasn't a huge chart hit, but it certainly gained quite a bit of attention (especially considering how it wasn't really all that mainstream for the early `nineties, back when everything either had to be grunge, metal or whatever hip-hop called itself in those days). It's still a fun song though, and is the one I've chosen for tonight. There's another video of the song doing the rounds - a "UK version" in which the band look like they want to be U2 when they grow up - but this is (I'm fairly sure) the original video.

The band had other releases that gained more attention - not just of their own songs (such as the chart-topping The Heater) but of a carefully selected bunch of covers. One of their earlier singles was a version of the Fourmyula's Nature, and it is they who perform Don't Fear the Reaper over the end credits of "The Frighteners". They also pushed the boundaries of what is and what isn't a cover version somewhat... on their second album, they dusted off and stripped down the Blams' Don't Fight It, Marsha, It's Bigger Than Both Of Us, and a late configuration of the band (which included two ex-Sneakies) recorded a fairly faithful version of Not To Take Sides.

This song (and the others mentioned) can be found on the Mutton Birds' greatest hits CD, "Flock".