45 Revolutions #8 – Esmeralda

45 Revolutions this month is one of my all time favourites. Released in April 1972 on the Harvest label was “Esmeralda” b/w “We Are Indelible” and performed by the (Indelible) Murtceps – Spectrum spelled backwards. This was Mike Rudd’s cost effective Pub (and radio) friendly outfit. In the lyrics of the excellent ‘B’ side Mike tells us, We are indelible you know (we are). Now we are sellable.

We featured Mike’s amazing I’ll Be Gone with Spectrum in March’s edition. The harp riff here is not as elaborate or as contagious by a long way, but the short chordal riff in cross ‘F’ is highly functional. Mike uses his alter (Murtceps) ego My Crudd (Ddur Ekim wouldn’t work) in the songwriting credits and Bill Putt his long time bass player and mate went under the pseudonym Bilge Pump.

Run into the bedroom 
Make sure all the sheets are clean
Oh Oh...Oh Oh Oh Oh
Baby what does it all mean
I can’t help worry about the way you’ve been

Tell me Esmeralda when you play your little game
Oh Oh...Oh Oh Oh Oh
Do you always charge the same
Can’t help thinking that we’re bound to meet again

Heidi Ho oh Heidi Ho
There’s always one more customer to go
Where she gets the strength from I don’t know

Esmeralda’s name was derived from a Chilean ship that regularly docked in the Port of Melbourne. Mike stored the name in his memory and would later draw it out of the recesses of his mind and give it to a fictional working girl, who had found herself in court being heard by a magistrate, that happened to be her client (they did meet again). I remember Mike playing this live with the Heaters, a later outfit of his, at the Bridge Hotel Mordialloc (really Aspendale) late seventies. It was a ripper! It really shone as a live number.

I attempted many years ago to revisit this tune on one of my regular reminiscing flashbacks. Searching the net to reveal the identity of the Heidi Hi Heidi Ho that we sang along with such great fervour, divulged the Blood Sweat & Tears Hi De Ho, (which funnily enough had a neat harmonica riff) and Cab Calloway’s Minnie the Moocher. Eventually it was located and purchased. At a milestone birthday of mine, I had the privilege of singing this with Spectrum in the front room of our abode and now I even perform my own version with harmonica.

Esmeralda peaked on entry on the 13 May 1972 at 36 and stayed in the Top 40 for four weeks. It should have reached greater heights, but it had limited AirPlay as some stations banned it due to its subject matter. Say what! It reached the Top 20 of the local 3XY charts getting to number eleven. Here’s the riff.

Murtceps L to R – Mike Rudd, Bill Putt, Ray Arnott & Lee Neale

Happy new month riff raffers. EssDawg

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