LARRIKIN ENTERTAINMENT INCORPORATING FOLKWAYS MUSIC, LARRIKIN RECORDS,
LARRIKIN MUSIC PUBLISHING AND LARRIKIN DISTRIBUTION.
Folkways Music was established by Warren Fahey in 1973 as a specialist music store with a stated policy of representing Australian music. Originally located at 38 Oxford Street, Paddington, then relocated to 68 Oxford Street and then to 282 Oxford Street where it remains. The business also opened branch stores in The Rocks and Double Bay and also a small outlet in Newcastle. Folkways was sold 20 years later (in 1993) to its present owners John Foo and Keith Chee.
The store became nationally recognised as the destination for Australian music and also specialist music from around the world. It operated a major mail order business and its annual catalogues were highly sought locally and internationally. As the store grew it offered an extremely wide genre of music from classical to jazz, traditional to contemporary and, at the same time, resisted stocking so called popular music. It also carried books on music, videos and musical instruments. For several years it was the leading retailer of harmonicas and tin whistles and an estimate of such sales over the 20 years Fahey controlled it would be in excess of 50,000 of each.
Larrikin Records was established by Warren Fahey in late 1974 and operated out of the Folkways buildings. It was also sold after 20 years in 1995 (to Festival Records). Larrikin Music Publishing representing Eric Bogle and many other songwriters was sold to Music Sales Australia in 1985. As a record label the company released over 500 Australian recordings covering an extremely wide field of music. Fahey always claims he was a victim of his own musical passion and found it difficult to resist interesting music that, he often admitted, had little commercial potential.
Artists who were first released on Larrikin include Robyn Archer, Eric Bogle, Bernard Bolan, Bushwackers Band, Redgum, Mucky Duck, Black Diamond Corner, Flederman, Sirocco, Dave De Hugard, Currency, The Larrikins, Phyl Lobl, Marie Wilson, Bondi Cigars, Foreday Riders, Jim Jarvis, Gary Shearston, and Flying Emus. Other artists to have their music released on Larrikin included Jeannie Lewis, Don Henderson, Harry Robertson, Tony Miles, Geraldine Turner, Facial Expressions, Franklyn B Paverty Band, Mulga Bill’s Bicycle Band, Renee Geyer, Cappelli Correlli, John Derum, Steamshuttle, John Kane, Anne Infante etc.
The label pioneered the release of indigenous Australian music with nearly 90 recordings including Wandjuk Marika, Tjapukai, Bobby McLeod, David Blanasi, Kev Carmody, Roger Knox, David Hudson and many indigenous recordings produced in association with community owners. The label was the first company to pay royalties to indigenous artists. It also released the music of Alice Moyle and ASIAS for over 15 years. In the early nineties Larrikin launched a major initiative, in association with Bill Stephens to record Australian cabaret music issuing albums of Jeannie Little, Margret RoadKnight, Donna Lee, Lorrae Desmond etc. The Australia’s Yesteryears series of Australian radio, stage, country and opera nostalgia was launched and issued over twenty-five recordings including Bob Dyer, Australian Radio Serials, Tex Morton, Reg Lindsay, Dame Nellie Mleba, John Brownlee, Florence Austral, Percy Grainger, Smokey Dawson, John Ashe, Shirley Toms and Jack Davey. There was also a series of important jazz recordings featuring artists such as Bob Birtles, Bryce Rohde, Keith Stirling, Dick Hughes, Bruce Cale and David Fennel. The label’s children’s artists, especially Mike and Michelle Jackson, featured Gold and Platinum selling discs like ‘Playmates’ and ‘Bananas in Pajamas’.
The most important and successful artist on larrikin was songwriter and singer Eric Bogle. The first release (on ten albums) was ‘Now I’m Easy’ (LRF041) and featured the writers two most celebrated songs ‘And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ and ‘Now I’m Easy’. The partnership of artist and label was based on a record-by-record deal that was extremely unusual for a Gold selling artist and the relationship lasted the life of the label. Larrikin licensed recordings to other record labels both internationally and domestically.
As a means of promoting Larrikin (and Folkways) Fahey used his entrepreneurial skills to organise concerts, workshops and artist tours. In the nineties he also established the larrikin Booking Agency with Sirocco leader Bill O’Toole. The agency represented folk, classical, jazz and world artists and was situated in the Larrikin offices at Paddington and Newtown. The most important concerts were those organised for several years as the Larrikin Festival of Music as part of the Sydney Festival. These concerts, ten concerts over ten nights in January were staged at several venues including the Concert hall of the Sydney opera House, The Conservatorium of Music, Regent Theatre and the historic Pitt Street Congregational Church.
International artists toured by Warren Fahey and Larrikin Entertainment included Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, A,L.Lloyd, Peter Bellamy, Mike Seeger and Alice Gerrand, Little Brother Montgomery, Johnny Copeland, Bert Jansch, John Renbourne, Martin Jenkins, Stefan Grossman, Shirley Collins, Roy Harris, Joe Hearney, Johnny Shines, Duck Baker, Willie Scott, Louis Killen, Christine Lavin.
The main operation of Larrikin was its representation of international and domestic record labels to the trade. Many of the group’s label partners continued with larrikin for over fifteen years and some for twenty or more. Domestic labels include jazznote, AIAIS, Candle, Missing Link, Grevillea, Eureka, Hunter, Move and Swaggie. International labels included Rounder, Topic, Green Linnet, Shanachie, Smithsonian Folkways, Vanguard, Celestial Harmonies and Biograph. In the early 1990’s Larrikin purchased local distributor Avan Guard and added many classical labels to its representation including ASV, Chandos, Telarc, Hungariton, Supraphon, Guild, Saydisc, Delos and Collins Music among others. In a unique deal Larrikin (with EMI) also distributed the Virgin specialist labels Venture, Real World, EG Editions and Virgin soundtracks. The company’s most successful release was the Michael Nyman catalogue and especially the soundtrack to The Piano that sold over 120,ooo units.
When Larrikin was sold to Festival Records in 1995 Warren Fahey was invited to join the new entity as Joint CEO and also, twelve months later, he was appointed Deputy Managing Director of the Festival, Mushroom and Larrikin Group
1. 1. Folkways catalogue circa 1975
Folkways mail order catalogue circa 1978
2. 2. Various catalogues issued by the Larrikin Record Label including Jarrah Hill Record label and Rissole Records.
3. 3. Several Larrikin Loudmouth Bulletins issued in 1995. This publication was sent to all record retail accounts throughout Australia and key music industry media and highlighted new releases. Essential catalogue and touring artist news.
Various colour photographs taken at a Trade Fair (for retailers).
4. 4. Original Eric Bogle music publishing contract(1974) for ‘And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda’.
5. 5. Warren Fahey’s song writing publishing contract with Rosella Music.
Photograph of Warren Fahey and Peter Jansson (MD of Rosella Music) 1976.
Various correspondence between APRA and Warren Fahey concerning publishing registrations 1976.
Membership letter APRA and Fahey dated 1978
6. 6. Larrikin Entertainment distribution catalogue circa 1985 listing labels represented by company.
7. 7. Sheet of Larrikin letterhead mid 1980s.
8. 8. Various correspondence between Larrikin Entertainment and Festival Records concerning their purchase of Larrikin. 1995.
The original share sale agreement of Larrikin to Festival.
Various legal documents related to sale.
9. 9. Advertisement for Folkways Music (LP’s $6.90) from Nation Review.
Leaflet and program for Oz-A-Kazoo concert series celebrating Folkways 3rd anniversary in 1976.
10. 10. Various press clippings Warren Fahey and Larrikin Records
11. 11. Guarantee of advance made to Stuart Coupe (journalist and partner in Larrikin’s joint venture Green Records. Other partner in this enterprise was Roger Grierson current Chairman of Festival Mushroom Group. 1981.
12. 12. Various correspondence between Eric Bogle and Warren Fahey regarding first commercial use of ‘And The Band Played Wqaltzing Matilda’. Artist was John Currie. 1975.
13. 13. Correspondence with Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger regarding possible first Australian tour 1973-75 including a new song ‘Lament for Chile’ (signed by Peggy Seeger) 1973 letter.
Correspondence with Argo Records who represented MacColl & Seegers recordings. Argo was one of the world’s most respected folk music labels. They went out of business in the early 1980s.
Correspondence with Mulga Bill’s Bicycle Band regarding recordings.
Correspondence with Paddy Moloney regarding an Australian tour by The Chieftains (requesting $500 a concert!)
With Harold Hort, Director of Music, Australian Broadcasting Commission concerning The Chieftains.
With Diana Manson regarding Jeannie Lewis music. 1974
With Willie Scott 1974. Willie was a renowned traditional singer of Scottish ballads. He was a shepherd and had been recorded by the School of Scottish Studies. Warren Fahey subsequently presented Willie Scott at the Sydney Opera House in the 1974 Larrikin Festival of Music.
With Tony Foxworthy Director of the English Folk Song & Dance Society (EFDSS) concerning The Yetties.
14. 14. Guidelines of Australian Musical Copyright Owners Service (AMCOS).
Southern Cross newspaper 1983 with lead article by Warren Fahey on ‘Dinkum Discs’ plus an Eric Bogle review.
15. The Australian Magazine 1994 with article on Australian Music and comments by Warren Fahey.
Café magazine with Warren fahey lead article and photographs.
Clipping of Bill Leak’s caricature of Warren Fahey.
16. 15. Various photographs and clippings Warren Fahey
17. 16. Original proposal for Oddmanout, Rouseabout and AntiPod Music.
18. 17. Declan Affley promotional leaflet for M7 Records ‘The Day The Pub Burned Down’
ABC promotional leaflet for Declan Affley and Warren Fahey’s radio series ‘The Australian Legend’ (also featuring Peter O’Shaughnessy).
Adelaide Advertiser clipping about the banning (by record distributor M7) of Robyn Archer’s self-produced album of feminist lesbian songs ‘Take Your Partner for the ladies choice’. The album was subsequently re-released on Larrikin and became a best-seller.
19. 18. Folder of various letters to Katharine Brisbane (Currency Press), Don Henderson (Songwriter and activist), Roger Grant (head of ABC Radio). Frank Hardy (Author) etc.
20. 19. File on the Yesterday’s Australia Larriikin series of nostalgic recordings. Original notes, correspondence etc.
21. 20. Warren Fahey’s notes and article on Australian content on radio in response to 1995 APRA and PPCA ‘most played’ report.
Various clippings related to record industry.
Industry photographs of Warren Fahey
Fax from Denis Handlin (Chairman of Sony Music) congratulating Warren Fahey on television appearance.
Larrikin (yellow) catalogue
1977/78 Folkways mail order catalogue
Photograph of Warren Fahey and Eric Bogle at the presentation of the songwriter’s first Gold Record.
Plastic bag one: selection of photographs related to Larrikin.
Plastic bag two; selection of various photographs related to Folkways Music.
22. 21. Photograph
(a) Warren Fahey with Ralph Peer Jnr, son of the famous pioneer country music publisher USA. Also Matthew Dunlevy, MD Peer Australia and u/known UK head of Peer. At Midem 1998.
(b/c) WF and various Festival Mushroom staff at artist signing
(d) Larrikin/Folkways staff Xmas photo 1984
23. 22. Large black folder with all correspondence related to Festival’s purchase of Larrikin.
24. 23. Spin Record catalogues. Rock reissue series devised and produced by WF at Festival
Plus. Signed framed photographs of WF & Adam Brand include. Photo of Adam’s first gold disc presentation.
Plus Plastic bag with various photographs of Undercover Music signings of Prop, Coda and AlterBoy