Categories
12" 1950s 1960s LP

Long candle?

Someone in France has just paid me five Australian dollars for a Jerry Lee Lewis compilation LP issued 51 years ago. What makes it more impressive is that the postage was another $22.00. It doesn’t seem as much in euros, maybe. But it does show a love for the music of this feral cat of […]

Categories
10" 1950s 33 rpm Gospel LP

Why should the Devil have all the good tunes?

“Why should the Devil have all the good tunes?” asked Charles Wesley, the great religious reformer and hymn writer. Like anything to do with religion, arguments about what music, if any, should be played church can be furious. There have probably been wars fought over it. Which is why this record is symbolic of a […]

Categories
12" 1980s 33 rpm Folk LP

Dorky uncles get down

The cliché about books and covers applies double to recorded music. Some LP sleeves, especially those produced by little independent folk labels, take gauche, add extra gauche, then multiply by the number you first thought of. The music may be brilliant; it’s just that the graphic design was entrusted to the bass player’s second cousin, […]

Categories
12" 1950s Jazz LP

A Sergeant Pepper’s before there was one

The technology for stereo sound was invented in the 1930s. No one used it much. It was partly that the equipment, both to record and play back stereo, was expensive. But mostly, no one saw much point in stereo music. The first stereo LPs came out in the mid-1950s, and they were all of sound […]

Categories
12" 1950s LP Singalong

The big book of favorite old songs

“This is an age of Do-It-Yourself,” proclaims the sleeve note on this battered old LP, “not only for novice carpenters, plumbers and Sunday painters”. No indeed. Our copywriter – as ferocious a fan of alliterative adornment as ever clanged the keys of a QWERTY keyboard – goes on: For millions of music-minded moderns, tired of […]

Categories
12" 1970s Gospel LP

You take a stick of bamboo

“You take a stick of bamboo,” goes an old folk song, “You take a stick of bamboo and you throw it in the water.” Alternatively, you can bury the bamboo in sand for a year or two, so that it dries and hardens, and make a pipe organ. That is what an innovative Catholic Priest […]

Categories
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 […]

Categories
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 […]

Categories
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 […]

Categories
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 […]