May 8th, 2015

NZ Music Month

New Zealand Music Month 2015 - Yet another instalment

This one is a bit of an oddity.

Every now and again, there's a foreign song that was a big hit in New Zealand but which sank without trace in any other market. "I Feel Good" was one such song, and so obscure it's actually taken a bit of googling to get its history even remotely straight. Originally written by Allen Toussaint (most of whose other songs are better known than this one), and as far as I can tell first recorded by Benny Spellman, it eventually got covered by British band the Artwoods (the Art Wood in question being brother to the much more famous Ronnie, and the band itself being about as obscure as the song). Somehow, the Artwoods' version reached the Auckland-based ears of Larry Morris of Larry's Rebels, who promptly recorded it and appear to have sold more copies of the song in Auckland than anyone else did anywhere else in the world, ever. (It helps that the Larry's Rebels version of the song has a much better sound than the Artwoods').

A dozen or so years later, Citizen Band did their own version of the song (without any sort of songwriter credit on the recording - Larry's Rebels apparently didn't have songwriter info. on the record label, and Allen Toussaint had published it under, apparently, his mother's maiden name). It's obviously taken straight from the Larry's Rebels version, but is at least a competent effort.