THE LARRIKIN LABEL DISCOGRAPHY
Warren Fahey has produced countless Australian recordings under several labels.
I have lost count of the number of albums I have produced but it would be in excess of 600 – probably some sort of record for an Australian – especially since the bulk of the releases have been Australian music.
I’m happy about this contribution to the documentation of our own voice. Maybe I should have been a plumber or carpenter?
After far too many years and countless requests I have prepared a list of recordings produced under my various labels.
You will notice some obvious holes in the listings and I would be eternally grateful (as will discographers when I have left this planet) for any information about missing recordings.
I did maintain records at Larrikin but, sadly, after Festival took over the files were destroyed (along with most of Festival’s files). I am still reeling from this vandalism. Needless-to-say, after Warner took over Festival, Larrikin was never heard of again.
Another area where my memory fails me is the number of recordings I produced or co-produced and licensed to other labels including Castle Music, M7, EMI and several overseas labels. There were also recordings of Warren Fahey, usually released on the ABC or EMI labels that I have not included in this list.
There were also some local label collaborations where Larrikin played ‘daddy’ to smaller labels by releasing compilations etc including Enrec, Opal, AIAIS and Morning Music. Most are lost in time.
I scan the number of recordings I produced under the Larrikin imprint and shake my head in amazement. In truth, had I been financially smart, I should never had issued 70% of them because less that 15% of my entire output actually made money in the real sense of the word. But who gives two hoots about making money! My rationale from the very first release was that the label was culturally important and my main was to see the recording cover its costs.
In the 1970s I teamed up with country music historian Eric Watson to issue some very important Australian country pioneer recordings. Eventually we decided Selection should be a stand-alone label. See http://www.lbsmusic.com.au/selectionrecords.htm
In the 70s and 80s there were many Australian artists who wanted to join Larrikin but, as a small indie label, we classified them as financially ‘risky’. The solution was to start an imprint whereby the artists agreed to purchase a quantity of recordings to reduce our financial risk and, at the same time, allow them maximum margin to sell at their performances.
A rock label born in the Larrikin warehouse behind the old Folkways Paddington shop. In the 70s Roger Grierson, a musician with a punk outfit called The Thought Criminals worked as manager of Larrikin Distribution. He was keen to establish a rock label so the three amigos – Roger Grierson, Stuart Coupe (now Laughing Outlaw Records) and myself set up Green Records. I forget where the name came from!
The label issued some hefty releases including Tactics, Do Re Mi and the Alnighters. They were good days (and long nights) will it lasted. Eventually, when I eventually sold Larrikin to Festival, I suggested Grierson as a good choice for the newly organised Festival Mushroom Group Chairman. He got the job and we worked together again for four years.
I set this label up as a ‘quality’ label with an Australian sound. Lord knows what was running through my head but we sure put out some tasty releases including Robyn Archer’s quite remarkable Brecht albums.
In the early 80s Wyndham Hill, an American label, was making inroads with its instrumental-based semi ambient music. I wanted to show Australian instrumentalists could do just as well, if not better. Jarrah Hill (it was the next ‘hill’ across the paddock) released everything from contemporary jazz to Aboriginal fusion.
Larrikin represented over 100 international record labels including the wonderful Rounder label from Boston. When I took Rounder’s distribution for Australia and New Zealand they had 5 LPs in their catalogue. Today they have thousands. I retained a relationship with this label for all my record industry life and they in turn released some Australian albums for Larrikin – including Eric Bogle and Slim Dusty. Many of the artists on Rounder Australia toured Australia.
Larrikin’s reggae and roots series.
Stefan Grossman, the legendary guitarist and teacher established Kicking Mule in the early 70s. I brought Stefan to Australia (with John Renbourne, Davey Graham, Bert Jansch, Duck Baker etc) and maintained a friendship down through the years. My Planet Distribution, established in 2000 (and sold in 2002) continued this relationship by distributing Stefan’s Vestapol label. We issued many guitar-based albums including several with tab booklets.
This label was predominately established as my children’s label. Larrikin had done reasonably well with its children’s releases including ‘Bananas In Pajamas’ which was licensed to ABC Kids. We issued some 20 albums including the work of Mic Conway, Mike & Michele Jackson, Toni & Royce. Somehow-or-other, through my friendship with Paul Comrie-Thompson of Rolling Stone, Rissole also released the Saints – featuring Chris Bailey !
A contemporary rock label. I should knot have done it!
Classical recordings, mainly David Kinsela,
I have always been interested in nature sound recordings, especially bird songs and ‘did a deal’ with the widow of one of Australia’s pioneer bird recordists, Paul White. We had about a dozen releases in the catalogue.
Some time during the late 80s Larrikin purchased Avan-Gard Music, a local distributor and label for classical and jazz label. It was operated by my old mate Ali Knoll and, after his death, his wife Judy came to Larrikin to continue the classical side of the operation. Larrikin moved into the Avan-gard premises in Newtown. There were two outstanding sellers in the catalogue – the soundtrack to Bilitis and a flutes of the Andes disc that sold off the back of ‘Picnic At Hanging Rock’.
Larrikin’s General Manager, Geoff Weule, had once worked at EMI as A&R Manager (Axis)– when EMI signed me as an artists in 1968. In the late 80s, after the purchase of Avan-Gard Music, Geoff joined Larrikin. One of our initiatives was to establish a new Australian Classical label and Geoff’s Walsingham was born. Geoff closed the label at the end of 2009.
After selling Larrikin and its associated labels to Festival in 1995 I joined the new operation as Managing Director of my own label group – at Festival. Yes, a rather strange progression but one that I readily agreed on – as long as I only had to stay for three years. I eventually stayed nearly five years. One of my first challenges was to oversee the reissue of some of Australia’s best-loved early popular music. I was Executive Producer of Spin (originally owned by Harry M Miller and Clyde Packer of Australian Consolidated Press). I released some beautifully packages of Johnny O’Keefe, Delltones, Dick Richards, Little Patti and, the ‘lost’ recording of the Bee Gees (we found some tracks in the archives).
In 2001 I established a new label in partnership with Nick Wales (Coda) and his father, Tony Wales.
My role is primarily as producer for the Rouseabout label which releases music by Eric Bogle, Gary Shearston, Fiddler’s Feast etc including some of my own nostalgia and new recordings. You’d think I would have learnt by now! At least this venture is not my capital and I can breathe easy at night.
The Rouseabout releases have NOT been included in the data base and are available at www.undercovermusic.com.au