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12" 1970s 33 rpm Folk LP Soundtracks

Big in Norway

Jon English, an Australian singer and actor, died earlier this year. I had one of his records for sale online, the soundtrack to a 1978 historical drama, all about Australia in convict times, Against the Wind.  Soon after Jon died, someone ordered it. Not too surprising – except that the order came from, of all […]

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12" 1970s 33 rpm LP Pop

Soviet Easy Listening

One of the great things about working at a university is that when something has you stumped, there is probably a world authority on stumps just down the corridor. So it was that, faced with an LP which had a label and sleeve in Russian I emailed a friend and colleague, Cai Wilkinson, who is […]

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12" 1970s 33 rpm Comedy Folk LP

The unpasteurised milk paradigm

Humour is a funny thing. Beautiful music can transcend time and place and culture; humour, not so much. What is comedic genius to one audience can fall flat to another, be offensive to a third, mystify a fourth. I write parody lyrics to popular songs, and some get performed on a radio show, The Coodabeen […]

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1970s 33 rpm Compilations LP

Do they still have elevator music in elevators?

Do they still have elevator music in elevators? I live in a provincial town. In my workplace there are few lifts (which is what we call elevators in Australia) and anyway I usually take the stairs. But when I do go to the big smoke and catch a lift in an office tower, there is […]

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1970s 7" Jazz

Played banjo, wore funny hats

He was, everyone agrees, “a Melbourne institution”. Perhaps because my day job is to teach criminology, the term institution has an ambivalent ring for mine. Her Majesty’s Prison Pentridge, where the hardest criminals in the land were incarcerated behind bluestone walls and razor wire until the 1990s, that too was “a Melbourne institution”.Graham Francis Fitzgibbon, […]

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1970s 45 rpm 7" Pop

A slice of pumpernickel

If George Michael, born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, is spanakopita transformed into white bread, what are we to make of the career of Arnold George Dorsey? Performing as Gerry Dorsey, he was small-big in the UK in the 1950s. He was featured on television shows, and toured with Marty Wilde (best known now as father of […]

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1970s 7" Pop Single

Half a Granny Smith

It’s always exciting when, flicking though a pile of dusty old singles in an op-shop, you see the distinctive apple of Apple Records. This was the short-lived but famous label which was established by the Beatles, and which just about bankrupted them. It remains one of the great label designs: simple, memorable, imaginative. The A […]

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1970s 33 rpm 7" Children's

He of the coon-skin cap

Before podcasts, before CDs, even before cassette tapes, there were read-along records. These were usually 7-inch discs, and they came in a sleeve at the back of a reader. You would read the book, while listening to the record. They always started like this: Often the first side would end like this: Sometimes it was […]

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12" 1970s 33 rpm Folk LP

Tangled-up and confused and sad

Now here’s an album which my inner folk purist can enjoy, free of guilt. It was recorded by the Chieftains, heavyweights of the Celtic revival from the 1960s on, master instrumentalists of traditional Irish folk. The only stain on its purity is that it was not actually manufactured in Dublin – this is an Australian […]

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1970s 7" Pop

Pigeon pie

A tin whistle. A parade-ground drum. A slightly out-of-tune pub piano playing sort-of boogie-woogie. Someone who sounds like a dero growling out “mo-oo-ouldy old dough!”. What part of this combination suggests “four weeks at the top of the British pop charts”? Just in case you were unaware that truth is stranger than fiction, I offer […]