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12" 1970s 33 rpm Compilations LP Rock

Pelted with bourbon bottles

To dare question the might and majesty of AC/DC in Australia is to risk being pelted to death with empty bourbon bottles. They are an iconic, much-loved band, titans of popular music. They are Australia’s most successful international act, for decades. Not just success: AC/DC has street cred as well. They have a lane-way in […]

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12" 1960s 33 rpm Classical LP

The lover writes

There was a man, a German soldier. It was the First World War, and he had been captured by the army of Tsarist Russia. Then there was a revolution, and the Tsar was overthrown. Then there was a civil war. All the while the man remained a prisoner, in Siberia. But a Russian woman fell […]

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10" 1940s 78 rpm Children's Spoken Word

Lie, cheat and hope for a miracle

It is a strange experience to revisit the Grimm’s Tales as an adult. When you hear them as a child, you just go with them. That’s the story: Red Riding Hood, Snow White, many others. The stories become so familiar that you don’t pull apart the elements. This is, perhaps, just as well. These stories […]

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1950s 78 rpm 8" Spoken Word

A very merry Christmas and a whacko dinner

It is 1952, getting towards Christmas. You live on a homestead, in rural Australia, and one of your family is away. Young Pauline has followed in the path of many Australians and sailed for England. The tyranny of distance is alive and well in this period. Television broadcasting won’t begin for years yet. Long distance […]

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1940s 78 rpm Classical

Looking at a Foxconn factory

George Orwell was one of my first literary heroes. I got hooked by Nineteen Eighty-four, and went on to read everything he wrote. I don’t recommend this. His best work stands up: brave, clear sighted, a voice raised against tyranny. But don’t seek out the B-sides and rarities. Having once been an uber-fan, though, I […]

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10" 1930s 78 rpm Jazz

Liquorice stick

On Sunday, my wife and I saw a jazz band, Sandra Tulty’s Swing Quartet. Australians all, and all stellar musicians: one of those jaw-dropping jazz ensembles, which sing, play multiple instruments, and take on solos without so much as raising a sweat. I was particularly impressed by the clarinettist, Michael McQuaid. He moved in and […]

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10" 1940s 78 rpm

After the movie finished

Australia and America have been close friends for a long time. It dates back to the Second World War, when Australia found itself facing a Japanese invasion. Traditionally, Australia had looked to Britain for protection. But Britain was in a desperate struggle for survival herself, and unable to help. So on 27 December 1941 the […]

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12" 1930s 78 rpm Dance

Jealous rage in musical form

Arthur Fiedler was one of the great popularisers. He hated the notion that classical and orchestral music were seen as the preserve of a moneyed, snobbish elite. He wanted the music he loved made available to everyone, and as director the Boston Pops Orchestra, that is exactly what he did. He took charge of the […]

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1960s 45 rpm 7" Pop R&B

Cousin Ernest does the Twist

Fun fact. Chubby Checker’s real name was Ernest Evans. No relation, so far as I know. He was black and born in Philadelphia. I am white, and was born in Melbourne (Australia, not Florida). Mind you, I am infamous for loving dreadful puns, and “Chubby Checker” was a dreadful pun on the name of another […]

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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 […]