One of NZ's preeminent blues musicians, New Plymouth-born Keith (Midge) Marsden got his first big break with 60s Wellington r'n'b band Barri and the Breakaways. After hosting a blues show on the NZBC, he went on to tour in various formations in the mid 70s. During a visit to the United States he befriended guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan; the Texan featured on one of the classic 'Travellin' On' adverts that Marsden appeared in, alongside Murray Grindlay. In 1996 Marsden studied Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. A decade later he was made a member of the NZ Order of Merit, for services to music.
In this April 1989 excerpt from music show CV, local bluesman Midge Marsden interviews BB King between flights at Auckland Airport. Sitting with his beloved Gibson guitar Lucille, King reveals his dissatisfaction with his own guitar playing, his family's distaste for blues music while growing up, and his belief that the growing sophistication of blues has helped it win increased popularity. He also mentions Bono writing him a song ('When Love Comes to Town'), and his take on friends James Brown and Ike Turner getting in trouble with the law.
Great adverts are strange things: mini works of magic, with the power to make viewers smile, cry, and even buy. Kiwi directors have shown such a knack for making them, they've been invited to do so across the globe. But this collection is about local favourites; dogs on skateboards, choc bar robberies, ghost chips. NZ On Screen's Irene Gardiner backgrounds the top 10 here.
'Travellin' On' could be a theme song for veteran musicians everywhere — and blues legend Midge Marsden has recorded this Murray Grindlay song on three occasions. This version is quieter and more reflective, in keeping with the Europa commercial Marsden appeared in during the 1980s (for which Grindlay took lead vocal). Later the pair joined American Stevie Ray Vaughan for a far rockier take. Footage from the various adverts is reprised here, but the blue/gray wash, along with shots of Midge's travels, make this rendition more of a remembrance of a life spent on the road.
Gary McCormick heads west to Raglan, to ask "What goes on here? Why do people live here? What do they do?". To find out he goes surfing on the famous left-hand point break, hangs with hippies and Dave McArtney, catches Midge Marsden and the Mudsharks at the Harbour View Hotel, and discusses land rights with kaumatua Sam Kereopa. The recipe — McCormick as genial small town anthropologist discovering the locals — earned this a 1989 LIFTA award, and inspired long-running series Heartland. McArtney composed the soundtrack; Finola Dwyer (An Education) produces.
Lew Pryme's life was a wild ride that took in everything from rock and roll to rugby before it was cut short by AIDS in 1990 (he was 51). This moving documentary interviews an ailing Pryme reflecting on his journey and (still secret) sexuality; it follows him from Waitara to becoming one of the most popular hip-swinging music stars of the 60s. He went on to manage singers Mark Williams, Rob Guest and Tina Cross; and in the early 80s he became the first executive director of Auckland Rugby Union, introducing cheerleaders and 'pizazz' to Eden Park.
This 1988 Europa commercial showcases the guitar playing of American bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughan. An anthem to good times on the road, the promo features four friends — musician Midge Marsden, jingles veteran Murray Grindlay, Vaughan’s fiance Janna Lapidus and Brigitte Berger — larking around the North Island in an old ute. Stopping off at the iconic DC3 aeroplane parked in small-town Mangaweka, they step into a bar made from car parts to join Stevie Ray on stage. A shorter cut of this petrol station promo also screened, plus an ad featuring an acoustic version of the song.
TVNZ ventured back into country music for the first time since That’s Country with this short series presented by actor and musician Andy Anderson. Very much a down home cousin to its big budget predecessor, it eschewed glitz and glamour to focus firmly on live studio performances (with no retakes allowed). Music director Dave Fraser presided over a crack resident band and guest performers included Midge Marsden, Beaver, Dalvanius, Suzanne, Sonny Day, Hammond Gamble, Brendan Dougan and John Grenell. Five episodes were produced but only four broadcast.
Since first winning fame as lead singer of 60s blues band The Underdogs, Murray Grindlay has gone on to apply his musical talents as a composer for feature films (Sleeping Dogs, Once Were Warriors), veteran jingle-writer (including the classic Crunchie train robbery commercial), and producer (hit single 'Sailing Away', Goldenhorse's Out of the Moon).
Beaver - real name Beverley Morrison - toured New Zealand as part of seminal 70s touring group Blerta. Later she sang on the title track of 80s television hit Gloss, and acted in 1985 thriller Should I Be Good? She passed away in May 2010.