Dave Dobbyn “Slice of Heaven”

Herbs and some dude in a cowboy shirt
Herbs and some dude in a cowboy shirt

So, it probably goes without saying that we’re going to be seeing a fair bit of ol’ Dave Dobbyn around here – just not for a while.

But to get us in the mood, I thought I’d look back at one of his best loved songs and one with a decent enough video from the before time, pre-NZ On Air funding.

“Slice of Heaven” was the main theme song from the wildly popular animated film “Footrot Flats: The Dog’s Tale”. It’s credited to “Dave Dobbyn with Herbs”, and indeed it’s Aotearoa’s reggae legends that go above and beyond the call of duty with their “dah-dah-dah, boom-boom” part.

The video starts with a silhouetted Dave playing an unusual wind instrument. Then a couple of cool chicks in rad ankle boots start dancing around him. Well, if it’s a love song, you need an object of affections or two.

With the first good look at Dave, he’s revealed to be wearing a shirt printed with cowboys on horseback. This seems like an artistic concession to Footrot Flats’ rural theme.

Then it’s into the chorus and Dave’s changed into a conductor’s tuxedo, doing some jazz hands with his white-gloved hands. But never mind the dramatics. Herbs are here to bring some serious bottom end. They’re a solid dependable anchor for the song, the honesty that makes his ode for an awkward Kiwi male all the more believable.

More weird woodwind instruments show up (they all look different; they all make the same sound), and while all the studio action is going on, we’re also treated to a series of clips from the movie.

Let me stick this 10-inch in the computer
Let me stick this 10-inch in the computer

But just in case it all seems quite ordinary, there’s a scene near the end where Dave is shown conducting what we assume to be an orchestra, then the camera pulls back to reveal his music stand is loaded with… eight-inch floppy disks?!

I assume this is commentary on the synthesised string instruments used on the song. Did it work as a gag in 1987?

The “Slice of Heaven” video is all shot in simple black studio set, but it manages to be captivating due to the performances of both Dave Dobbyn and Herbs. And the ladies in ankle boots.

Now I get to reveal the secret reason I did this post: it’s for the kittens, y’all. The Wellington SPCA are doing a special fundraising screening of a new digitally restored version of “Footroot Flats: A Dog’s Tale”. Thrill to the Dave Dobbyn soundtrack on the giant Embassy screen! The screening is on Wednesday August 31, and $10 from every ticket goes to help the kittens, puppies and other animals of Wellington.

2 thoughts on “Dave Dobbyn “Slice of Heaven””

  1. I always thought of this video as being a beautiful statement about Kiwi culture: you can have an awkward skinny ginger with effortlessly cool Maori reggae bros … and somehow it works 🙂

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