We are the measure of all things. And the beauty of our creation,
of our art, is proportional to the beauty of ourselves, of our souls
– Jonas Mekas
The final Tamam Shud recordings were for the soundtrack of Albie Falzon's legendary surf film Morning of the Earth in 1972. Initially Falzon wanted Tamam Shud to provide the entire soundtrack, and later on, according to Lindsay, "… there was talk of Spectrum doing something." But things changed when producer and singer-songwriter G. Wayne Thomas took control of the album – a fateful decision for Tamam Shud, as it turned out.
First, Thomas decided to include some of his own songs, plus tracks from Brian Cadd, John J. Francis and Hannagan. Thus Tamam Shud's input was reduced to three (albeit excellent) tracks – First Things First, Bali Waters and Sea The Swells. The next blow came when First Things First was recorded: Lindsay had lost his voice on tour in Melbourne, so Tim (an excellent singer in his own right) cut the vocal, and although he was having voice problems too, his vocal "sounded great" according to Lindsay. But, unknown to the group, Thomas later erased Gaze's vocal and replaced it with a new one by Melbourne singer Broderick Smith from Carson. The resulting track is fine in its own right, but the new vocal was added without the group's approval. They in fact didn't find out about the substitution until they heard the result at the film's premiere, and they were understandably furious about it.
On the plus side, all three Shud tracks are outstanding; Bali Waters (my favourite) is a classic surf instrumental, featuring some beautiful flute playing from Lockwood, with strings and wordless choral backing; it was also included (with Got A Feeling and My Father Told Me) on the Bali Waters EP, released later that year, which has become another major collector's item.
The Morning of the Earth film and soundtrack album were a huge success in Australia. Despite the record receiving no radio airplay whatsoever, the LP charted in May 1972, and eventually went triple gold, becoming the first locally-made soundtrack to sell in such quantities.
– Duncan Kimball
Reprinted from Milesago – Australasian music and popular culture 1964-1975