Happy Birthday Mum!
Pixie Costello (nee Williams) born 85 years ago today.
Ain't it a Shame you didn't enjoy the success with this song as you should have because the master was accidentally destroyed and only one release made it to market.
I could never understand your love of Saddle Hill, the landmark in Dunedin where you brought us kids up, until of course, I heard the song. It is still one of the most often requested songs of yours today.
I loved your singing, humming and whistling your way through the day - no matter how hard things sometimes got. And the stories, fables and tales you'd tell us - including my favorite about 'getting married' if you heard a Bell Bird Serenade. And of course, I believed you!
Wasn't it crazy that you married Dad, when you thought he was the most arrogant Irishman you'd ever met daring to tell you he'd marry you after the first night you met. He fell in love with you on sight, and was so sure of himself. Born in Galway - so nicknamed 'Paddy' when he came to NZ in 1948. You even saw the ship he sailed to Wellington in, from your Oriental Bay YWCA hostel window. They were exciting times in post-war New Zealand.
John Costello paid one pound to travel across the world to start afresh - and find his one true love. An Irishman with spanish ancestory who married his very own Spanish Senorita. He so loved you Mum.
And It's Just Because of your love for one another, that you overcame all of the hurdles that came your way. It wasn't popular back then - a Pakeha marrying a Maori woman, let alone an Irishman!
I remember Dad telling me he asked the local priest over for a talk 'Paddy style' when the priest told him he wouldn't marry you. 'Let's talk it Over,' was Dad's reply. And a bottle of Johnny Walker whiskey later they were both Sailing along on a Moonbeam, and Dad had done it again. You were married by that priest at your beloved St Patricks.
The wedding celebration lasted one whole week, at the Crown Hotel. A typical Paddy and Pixie bash. You two were always so generous with your hospitality. Uncle Jack always talked of the beauty of you two together - shunning convention to follow your hearts. The melding of two supposedly different cultures and skin-colours, that actually weren't so different - if people cared to understand that such things didn't, and still don't matter. Jack loved you both so much. His best mates. Dad with his Irish blarney, and you with your beautiful Maori Rhythm.
Best Wishes Mum - on your 85th birthday. I wanted to write this because you won't be with us much longer, and it pains me so very, very much.
You told me of the boy 'you should have married.' The man who swept you off your feet in Wellington at the height of your fame. Who asked you to marry him, his own Sweetheart in Calico. But who left without a word for someone else, leaving you desolate. So you left this Windy City to find yourself again, and get away from it all.
And so began your magnificent tiki-tour adventure across this magnificent Maoriland of ours, which ended in Dunedin, with Dad.
The fame of Blue Smoke continued to haunt you for so many years after you thought it should have been over. You loved it, and hated it too. I can understand how you were torn and why you shunned the continued attention. You are such a humble soul.
Knowing this, it was a big call for you to allow me to gather all your recordings together and remaster them. Thank god you did Mum. It was 2006 when Dad died and I'll always remember him telling me years earlier that the secret to a good life was to make sure you had no regrets in life. So at his funeral I knew what I had to do - and so the project to gather and release all of your recordings began. I know you thought I was crazy as I had no background in the music industry - but Mum - you didn't count on the people I knew who, when they heard what I wanted to do, got on board and helped me make it happen.
On July 12, 2011, on your 83rd birthday you were with us to celebrate the launch of your album at a special launch event at The Roxy in Miramar. And that night you were finally recognised by the New Zealand music industry - receiving a triple platinum award for 'Blue Smoke' (having sold 50,000 records), and a single platinum award for 'Let's talk it over' (having sold 20,000 records).
Bless you for your voice, your humble, sweet nature and your gift of life and love to David, Gerard, Maria and I. Go in peace Mum - and give Dad and Maria our love when you see them. I can only imagine the 'welcome party' they'll put on because all your Irish and kiwi mates are there too.
And in your own words "No matter where you are, music will always have some meaning. When you have music in your heart, it says with you. Music will always live on."
Because of your music Mum, you will always live on...
On 12 July Pixie Costello (nee Williams) turned 84 years old, and enjoyed her birthday with friends, family and caregivers supping on champagne and her beloved Speights beer. "I do love a glass of bubbles, but you can't beat a Speights," was her response when asked what her favourite tipple was.
And on reaching the age of 84 she said, "Who me, you've got the wrong girl, I'm 21 and loving it!'
Pixie, who lives in a Rest Home and Hospital in Upper Hutt, suffers from Parkinsons but still enjoys singing and humming her way through the day. She can still carry a tune.
Blue Smoke Records is proud to announce For the Record: The Pixie Williams Collection 1949-1951, nominated in the Reissue Album Category of the 11th Annual Independent Music Awards, is the only kiwi album in the running to win out of over 300 self-released and independent music label artists.
Winners will be determined by a panel of 77 influential artist and industry judges including Keith Richards, Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, Suzanne Vega, Joshua Redman, Tori Amos, Michael Franti, Bettye LaVette, Del McCoury, Ozzy Osbourne, Shelby Lynne, Alan Light (Live From The Artists Den), Kevin Lyman (Warped Tour), Bill Bragin (Lincoln Center), Sara Beesley (Joe's Pub) Chris Diaz (Knitting Factory Entertainment), and Evan Schlansky (American Songwriter) and will be announced in April, 2012.
In addition to industry-determined Winners, music fans from around the world have until Friday, July 20, 2012 to cast their votes at The IMA Vox Pop Jukebox to determine the fan-selected IMA Winners.
On March 8, 2012 Blue Smoke Records got the email we'd been waiting hoping for!
On behalf of Music Resource Group, The IMAs, and our distinguished judging panelists, it is our pleasure to congratulate Pixie Williams on being nominated in the Reissue Album Category for For the Record - The Pixie Williams Collection 1949-1951 in The 11th Independent Music Awards.
Celebrating the democracy of creativity and meritocracy of talent, The Independent Music Awards honor exceptional independent artists traditionally ignored by mass media and big box retailers.
For the past 11 years, artists and labels from around the world have found new fans and prominence through The Independent Music Awards. Produced by Music Resource Group, publisher of the popular industry networking database The Musician's Atlas, and producers of the webTV series, Grooveable Feast, The IMAs uses its unrivaled access to performance, promotion & distribution opportunities to connect Winners and Nominees to new audiences and revenue opportunities.
This year, more than 300 exceptional self-released and independent label artists, as well as former major label acts, were named by Music Resource Group (MRG) today as Nominees in The 11th annual Independent Music Awards (The IMAs), the influential awards program for independent bands and fans.
Representing the broad spectrum of today's global independent music scene, the Nominees in over 70 Song, Album, Music Video and Design categories were culled from thousands of submissions from North America, South America, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
Details and complete list of Nominees and Judges are available at TheIndependentMusicAwards.com