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12" 1980s 45 rpm Jazz

The alt + obscure litmus test

The true test of whether a record is both obscure and alternative? You should be able to pick it up and look at the cover, read the words on it, and have no idea what is the band name, and what is the record title. Equal Local (which turns out to be the band) pass […]

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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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1950s 45 rpm 7" Pop Soul

Election special

There is a federal election on today in Australia. It will be very close, as elections here often are. Usually, in a close election, the government hangs on, but you never know. It has been a dreary, unedifying election campaign, which is also as expected. Even so, it is something wonderful and precious thing to […]

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1970s 45 rpm 7" Gospel Pop

The firehose effect

Probably the fastest way to disperse a crowd of Australians, short of turning a fire hose on them, is to invite them to church. There is no oppression, just compartmentalisation. You are allowed to sing “Amazing Grace” on Sundays and at funerals, but gospel struggles to reach a wider audience. There is a lot of […]

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45 rpm 7" Millenial Single Soul

Something sweet

I live near Geelong, a regional city which is a bit down on its luck at the moment. It used to be an industrial town, but the industries have closed, or will do soon. There are other ways to prosper besides making cars or smelting aluminium, but the transition isn’t easy. Making things harder is […]

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1980s 45 rpm 7" Pop

Odd and proud of it

One of the better things to happen in Australian music back in the 1980s was a band called Mental As Anything. In the slang of the day, to say someone was “mental” was an insult. It implied eccentricity and stupidity rather than mental illness, but even so it was a bit unpleasant. The Mentals, as […]

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1960s 45 rpm 7" EP

Beware of the pricks

There is a peculiar excitement in dropping the stylus onto a record which is a complete mystery. The label is blank, or illegible, or in a foreign language. Not Italian or German: an English speaker can puzzle those out, more or less. I’m talking seriously challenging languages: Russian, or Hebrew, or (as in this case) […]

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12" 1960s 33 rpm Country LP

Sorta Country

Like quite a few great Australians, including Pharlap, Tex Morton was actually a New Zealander. Born in Nelson in 1916, he started performing at 14, and enjoyed success with travelling bands, playing and recording country songs. In the early 1930s he did what all ambitious New Zealand musicians do: crossed “The Ditch” (the Tasman Sea) […]

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1960s 7" Country

Automatically cooler

It is hard to make a living in music. Most musicians do it for love, and either earn nothing or have a day job. So whenever people are payed to play and sing, that is a good thing. If it is playing at birthday parties, playing favorites-and-requests at a country pub, creating a soundtrack for […]

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12" 1960s 33 rpm LP

Wall of fire

A few years ago, I had a book published called Disasters That Changed Australia. As the title suggests it has nothing to do with music or recorded sound, but one chapter discusses fire disasters, something Australians have to live with. Eucalyptus trees dominate the vegetation of Australia to an extent unmatched by any genus of […]