Saturday, 25 August 2012

Wives & Lovers - George Golla (1968/70)

George Golla has played on countless records accompanying Don Burrows, Sven Libaek, John Sangster et al, but he very infrequently released LPs under his own name and own direction. This is one of those records, and it’s a nice one. Wives & Lovers is a crowd-pleasing set of standards, Beatles covers and Brazillian bossa. I recall seeing a live LP of Golla and his band which was recorded at a popular pancake eatery in Sydney - I imagine this is exactly the kind of set they would playing, one that would ensure that the punters were hearing something they were familiar with or at least something that was engaging on first listen. Only one piece, Waltz To Adelaide, is a Golla original and it’s a damn shame that there aren’t more on this record because it’s the album's standout for me - a Libaek-esque waltz with nice dynamic changes and great work from the horn section. In fact, it’s as good as Libaek’s best, and the way that it is arranged and executed as a complete, concise song actually exceeds most of Sven’s work in this regard. 

Of the two Beatles covers, Day Tripper probably wouldn’t sound out of place on an album of novelty easy-listening covers, but it’s pleasant enough. Fool On The Hill is quite an interesting interpretation of this song and reimagines it as an odd shuffle with a sort of weird sense of unease in the chorus. The standards are pretty standard, although Wives and Lovers is great, and the Brazilian stuff on side two is good, but still feeling a bit safe and diluted for a popular audience. Overall, a lovely late-sixties Oz jazz album with some unevenness in the quality, but worth it for Golla’s Waltz To Adelaide and a few others.

Label: Festival
Released: Sleeve says 1970, disc says 1968.
Players: George Golla - guitar
Don Burrows - flute, alto flute, alto sax
Errol Buddle - bassoon, tenor sax
Pete Haslum - trombone
John Sangster - vibes, percussion
Derek Fairbrass - drums
Ed Gaston - bass (credited on the back as ‘Ed Faston’ - no respect at all.)
George Thompson - bass


  1. Found this record recently and you were spot on with your assessment of Adelaide Waltz, gem of a track. I have an EP by The Errol Buddle Orchestra (mid seventies I think)that features a version of Berimbau, quite a bit funkier than the one featured on this album.Great blog my friend

  2. Thanks for commenting rex. I'd love to hear more stuff from Buddle as he, like Golla, has played on tons of familiar albums as a back-up player but is rarely the creative focus. I'll keep an eye out for that EP.

  3. Happy to lend you the Buddle EP if you post it up here, I dont have the facilities to convert to MP3. I might have some other things that might interest you as well OZ JAZZ variety...

  4. Rex, that sounds awesome! Drop me a line at cambrianexplosion at hotmail dot com and we can have a chat.

  5. thanks for the jazz waltz. it's on repeat here. great stuff.