Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Shirley Watts - Steel Guitar And Accordians


Recorded in Adelaide, South Australia, this is another of those obscurities that the internet was made for sharing. Who was Shirley Watts? Judging from the cover, this looks like a family affair, Mum's playing an accordion, and the kids are playing accordion and percussion accompaniment.

I must admit I am fascinated by this album - who was this Adelaide housewife who loved exotica so much she bought herself a pedal-steel guitar to play songs from an island on the other side of the world, got the family to be her band, and then went out and recorded an album at a local recording studio?

After lounging in obscurity in the back-rooms of a Wollongong op-shop for 30 years, this album now finds its rightful place on the global stage. Good onya Shirl for following your dreams - I hope you're still playing your pedal-steel guitar wherever you are now...

The music itself is of course somewhat homespun in it's sound, showing the hallmarks of a home studio recording. The accordions are too loud and have a thin reedy sound completely unsuited to the songs. Shirley shows a good stylistic understanding of the genre. Her accordionists are functional rather than virtuosic, and plod through the songs. The kids playing percussion are unlikely to set your next party aflame... Who cares - you get an hour of Shirley playing the music she loves, and thats what counts.

01 - Pagan Love Song
02 - Hawaiian War Chant
03 - Sweet Leilani
04 - To You Sweetheart Aloha
05 - Aloha-Oe
06 - Lovely Hula Hands
07 - It Happened In Kaloha
08 - Tangerine
09 - Coconut Grove
10 - Red Sails In The Sunset
11 - Hawaii Tattoo
12 - Harbour Lights
13 - Hawaiian Wedding Song
14 - Drifting and Dreaming
15 - Pearly Shells
16 - Sleep Walk
17 - Steel Guitar Rag
18 - Slicin' Sand
19 - Rock A Hula Baby
20 - Island Of Love
21 - Hawaiian Sunset
22 - Beach Boy Blues
23 - Blue Hawaii
24 - Happy Hawaii

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Mr Snookles