Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind

Musical Monday (2022/08/22) John Hore Grenell

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If I were to compile a list of my favourite top 100 songs, I had thought that there would be few, if any, country songs included. However with the recent death of a Kiwi country music icon, I am beginning to realise that there would indeed be more than a handful. I am referring to the John Grenell, who died on July 27 at the age of 78.

I will probably always remember him as John Hore as that was his stage name in the first part of his music career, which was the family name of his step father. He grew up in rural South Island New Zealand and was always a shy country lad at heart. According to those who knew him, he was a humble man, who had no ego or pretensions. He made his first recording in 1963, and by the time he was nineteen, he had sold over 100,000 records, which in those days was quite an achievement for a NZ singer of any age or genre.

John made frequent television appearances during the 60s and early 70s, and I was a fan of his “velvet” voice. He became biggest-selling New Zealand act of the decade, and his second album, Encore John Hore, which was released in May 1965, became the best-selling album by a New Zealand artist at that time. He recorded a number of singles and made 11 albums before bowing out of the music scene to concentrate on family, farming, and rural tourism. Then in the late 80s he resurfaced under his birth name of John Grenell. For a while he went by his father’s name of John Denver Grenell, which as you might imagine, was rather confusing.

Perhaps his best known song is his cover of Welcome To My World that featured on a two minute Toyota television commercial that first aired in 1990 (with slightly altered lyrics to suit the purpose of the commercial). Below are just a few of John’s songs I found on YouTube.

Past Like A Mask

I value this first clip as the lyrics are critical of what many men (and unfortunately many women) perceive what it is to be a “real man”. The stereotype is seen all to often in this country, and one only needs to look at our statistics on family violence to see that. This song has also taken on another meaning since I discovered I was autistic in 2010, but that’s another story for another time.

Past Like A Mask – John Hore Grenell
Past Like A Mask

I was told to be a man was building fences strong
Keep your woman in her place and she'll keep hangin' on
Now I've grown to realise my life's been filled with lies
The thread that I've been hangin' on has broken in her eyes
If I could let my heart be known despite of walls so high
I might taste those bitter tears that I've never learned to cry

But I've got a past like a mask
And I can see it in her face, the many years I can't erase
A broken heart I can't replace in spite of how I try
And I've got a past like a mask
And I sure took my time to understand

When I was young, not long ago, I hid my feelings well
Sometimes I let my heartaches show but I could never tell
And now I find I've been blind, insensitive and vain
Cause someone told me long ago "ignore a woman's pain"
If I could change the fool I've been, I know just what'd do
I'd give her everything I can and make all her dreams come true

But I've got a past like a mask
And I can see it in her eyes, the lonely nights, the endless lies
The countless time I made her cry when she was by my side
And I've got a past like a mask
And I sure took my time to understand

Welcome To Our World

Toyota has made several memorable television commercials in this country, with perhaps the “Bugger” commercial being the best known for those of my generation. There’s nothing particularly memorable about this Welcome To Our World 1990 Toyota Commercial, apart perhaps for it being two minutes long and for featuring the beautiful velvet baritone voice of John Grenell. It’s a slightly modified version of Welcome To My World, of which the Jim Reeves version is perhaps recognised the world over.

Welcome To Our World – John Hore Grenell

Take Me Back to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu

It’s a real place! Taumata­whakatangihanga­kōauau­o­tamatea­pōkai­whenua­ki­tāna­tahu is the name of a hill in southern Hawkes Bay, approximately 130 Km (80 miles) from where I live. A rough translation goes something like “The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the slider, climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his kōauau (flute) to his loved one

Take Me Back to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu – John Hore Grenell
Take Me Back to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu

Done a lot of travellin', this great country round
Seen a lot of people, covered lots of ground
But there's only one place I'd like to call my own
So I am headin' back there, so I am goin' home

Take me back to where it's wild and free
Take me back where I long to be
Take me back, take me back won't you
Take Me Back to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu

Up and down this country, all those sights I've seen
North Cape to the Bluff and everywhere between
But you can keep your cities, they're not the place for me
Home is where the heart is that's where I've gotta be

Take me back to where it's wild and free
Take me back where I long to be
Take me back, take me back won't you
Take Me Back to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu

I've walked the length of Queen Street, Karangahape to the sea
And I've fought the wind of Seatoun, the sights of Lambton Quay
Christchurch and Dunedin, and Invercargill too
You name a place, I've been there, and now I'm a shootin' through

Take me back to where it's wild and free
Take me back where I long to be
Take me back, take me back won't you
Take Me Back to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu

Take me back to where it's wild and free
Take me back where I long to be
Take me back, take me back won't you
Take Me Back to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu

Take me back to where it's wild and free
Take me back where I long to be
Take me back, take me back won't you
Take Me Back to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu

Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu
Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu
Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu

I’ve been Everywhere

This song was written by an Australian by the name of Geoff Mack, and the original used Australian place names. Hank Snow and Johny Cash made versions with American place names, and John Hore Grenell made a NZ version:

I’ve Been Everywhere – John Hore Grenell
I've Been Everywhere

Well I was hitching a ride on a winding Hokitika road
When along came a lorry with a high and canvas-covered load
"If you're going to Hokitika, mate, with me you can ride"
So I jumped into the cabin and settled down inside
He asked me if I'd seen a road with so much dust and sand
And I said, "Look, listen mate, I've been everywhere in this here land ...

Cos, I've been everywhere man, 
I've been everywhere man
I've crossed the desert bare man,
I've breathed the mountain air man
Of travel I've had my share man
I've been every-where

I've been to
Kaparoa, Whangaroa, Akaroa, Motueka,
Taramoa, Benmore, Pongaroa, Horoeka,
Rimutaka, Te Karaka, Whangarei,
Nuhaka, Waimahaka, Motuhura, Waikaka,
Motonui, Hokonui, Papanui, Wainui,
Matawai, Rongotai, Pikowai, I'm a guy. 

I've been everywhere man, 
I've been everywhere man
I've crossed the desert bare man,
I've breathed the mountain air man
Of travel I've had my share man
I've been every-where

Woodville, Dargaville, Lumsden, Katikati,
Naseby, Cambridge, Porirua, Mararoa,
Hastings, Tikitiki, Tauranga, Auckland,
Naenae, Waitaha, Hamilton, Poroporo,
Taupo, Timaru, Oamaru, Tihoi,
Awanui, Wanganui, Pauanui, lot o' hooey. 

I've been everywhere man, 
I've been everywhere man
I've crossed the desert bare man,
I've breathed the mountain air man
Of travel I've had my share man
I've been every-where

Featherston, Palmerston, Woolston, Te Awamutu,
Riverton, Queenstown, Picton, Ohinemutu,
Morere, Korere, Rotorua, Kaikoura,
Matamata, Ruakura, Ikamatua, Papakura,
Waitaki, Pukaki, Taranaki, Te Kauwhata,
Ropata, Ikowai, Waitemata, what's the matter. 

I've been everywhere man, 
I've been everywhere man
I've crossed the desert bare man,
I've breathed the mountain air man
Of travel I've had my share man
I've been every-where

Ruatoki, Matahura, Taupiri, Maketu,
Kyeburn, Sowburn, Wedderburn, Mossburn,
Washdyke, Arawhata, Paparoa, Kaponga,
Teraha, Thames, Kerikeri, Kokoma,
Tapanui, Porinui, Tawanui, Otahuhu,
Ruatapu, Mosgiel, Whareroa, that's for sure. 

I've been everywhere man, 
I've been everywhere man
I've crossed the desert bare man,
I've breathed the mountain air man
Of travel I've had my share man
I've been every-where

Kapiti, Ngawaka, Onepu, Reporoa,
Tongariro, Tomoana, Renwick, Papamoa,
Karitane, Oxford, Parihaka, Karetu,
Coalgate, Whitecliffs, Urenui, Mamaku,
Waimea, Waharoa, Dannevirke, Ngahere,
Gordonton, Oban, Kingston, how ya been. 

I've been everywhere man, 
I've been everywhere man
I've crossed the desert bare man,
I've breathed the mountain air man
Of travel I've had my share man
I've been every-where

I've been here, there, everywhere
I've been everywhere

Lovers And Losers

A beautiful song that that is made for John’s voice. The song is the creation of singer songwriter William Russell Staines from Rollinsford, New Hampshire, USA. Bill Staines was a country singer, unknown to me until I looked up the writer of this sing. From my very brief acquaintance with him, his music seems similar to that of Grenell.

Lovers And Losers – John Hore Grenell
Lovers And Losers

The singer he stands in the warmth of the doorway;
The song that he sings brings a tear to an eye,
And his smile brings a nod, and the toss of a coin there;
Another cup of coffee, or a homeward bound bus ride.

The dancer she sways 'neath the light on the corner,
Her partner is the shadow now that glides at her feet.
Slowly she moves to her sweet silent music;
The people pass her by and hurry down along the street.

Lovers and losers, Dreamers and boozers,
Pickers, singers and poets in the rain.
I love to hear them, I guess that's why I linger near them,
For I have seen their faces, yes, and I have known their names.

The sun plays a game with the tops of the mountains,
The colours and the shadows change and fade with the day.
The cowboy he sings in the cool of the evening
Some old-fashioned love song in an old and simple way.

Lovers and losers, Dreamers and boozers,
Pickers, singers and poets in the rain.
I love to hear them, I guess that's why I linger near them,
For I have seen their faces, yes, and I have known their names.

A lover she stares at the one of her loving,
As warm and as pretty as the colours in the wine.
She listens while he tells her of the joys in his keeping;
Offers him a rose to touch and hold forever fine.

Lovers and losers, Dreamers and boozers,
Pickers, singers and poets in the rain.
I love to hear them, I guess that's why I linger near them,
For I have seen their faces, yes and I have known their names.
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Author: Barry

A post war baby boomer from Aotearoa New Zealand who has lived with migraines for as long as I can remember and discovered I am autistic at the age of sixty. I blog because in real life I'm somewhat backwards about coming forward with my opinions.

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