The old port jukebox inspired Midge Marsden

by / Wednesday, 02 July 2014 / Published in Blog, Jukebox

Check this cool article about the old jukebox from down at the port, in the Taranaki Daily News today.


After eight years’ break, bluesman Midge Marsden is coming Back to the Well.

Pairing up with Chet O’Connell, Marsden will be playing two nights of shows at the 4th Wall Theatre to launch his new album that’s been a long time coming.

In Back to the Well, Marsden takes a partly autobiographical direction, paying tribute to the elements that have shaped himself and his career growing up in New Plymouth.

“It took me a long time to finally write about what I always wanted to – Tigertown,” Marsden says, when asked as to his favourite track from the album.

“I’m delighted, thrilled to pieces, I’m proud of it.”

The track recounts his youthful experiences growing up around Moturoa, affectionately known as Tigertown.

“It means a lot to me because Tigertown was integral to my formative years.”

Though the breakwater and port is now fenced off from the town, in Marsden’s youth Tigertown and the port’s activities spilled and mixed, each breathing a more vibrant life into the other.

During a time where access to more exotic or distant cultures of the world was limited, Tigertown served as his gateway to the sounds of the ’60s.

“The best ever era of music,” Marsden says.

“It was almost like I was born at the right time.”

The harbour’s constant influx of merchant ships would bring in more than what was written on the inventory – through the ships Tigertown imported the music of the world and played it through the jukebox in the port milk bar.

“I don’t know what its real name was, but it was the milk bar jukebox. It was always loaded with things brought in by the merchant seamen.”

Constant change and growth of the world is something Marsden still strives to keep up with and embrace.

And now the internet has enabled the sharing and spread of different forms of expression, much like Tigertown once did.

While he believes that the near- instant access to everything at our fingertips is a great thing, Marsden is clear to stress the importance that “everyone should be paying something for music”.

He is a big believer in living in the now, especially with musical styles, and has a strong message to older musicians.

“Don’t have tunnel vision, check out what these young kids are doing,” Marsden says.

“Rap and hip-hop music is the modern blues.”

While he won’t be doing rap in his upcoming concert, he will be storytelling, which is also a strong theme in his new album.

“It’s the first time ever I’ve had a release show, and the first time I’ve had a release show in New Plymouth – it had to be New Plymouth.”

Marsden makes a point that although the show is for his album’s release, the gig is as much O’Connell’s as his.

“He’s not my sidekick, he’s not my back-up, he’s his own man – a musician himself. It’s a two-prong show.”

Midge says the show will include music, pictures and banter, and he is hoping for more of the latter when people stick around after the show for a chat and some drinks.

Alexander Terwiel is a Witt journalism student.

Taranaki Daily News

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