Tuesday, July 30, 2013

W.O.C.K On Vinyl - Leedon Records (1959)


Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song / album at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.
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Recently, I was given some 'music' literature by a mate, that had belonged to his father. While skimming through one of the books, I came across an amazing flyer tucked away in amongst its pages. It had been printed by Lee Gordon (Leedon) back in 1959. The A5 sized document is in absolute 'mint condition' and is printed on gold embossed letterhead. What an amazing find! (see depicted left).
The flyer itself was a promotional handout advertising the 'Fabulous Fabian' Australian Tour, and designed to entice teenage entrepreneurs to organise at least 30 of their friends to sign up for tickets to the show, and in return pay them  £2/2/- for their organisational work.  How smart was that !
Anyhow, what really caught my eye was the list of support artists that were billed on the show with the American heart throb Fabian:
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Col Joy & The Joy Boys,   Johnny O'Keefe & The D.J's,   Johnny Devlin & The Devils,   Dig Richards   and  The Crescents.  
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Australian 'Fabian Tour' Program
What a star packed show this must have been and I can only wonder if some of these support artists may have stolen the show from the international star.
Now finding this priceless piece of Aussie music trivia got me thinking about how Leedon records was formed, and so the research started.
Leedon was established in 1958 by legendary American jazz promoter Lee Gordon and was co-owned by his partner Johnny O'Keefe. Lee Gordon who was famous for bringing Frank Sinatra to Australia for a concert tour, and later managing Australia’s first Rock’n’Roll act Johnny O’Keefe and staging “Big Shows” around the country. Leedon Records, the Australian record label was active from 1958 to 1969. The original "LS" series was inaugurated in 1958 with "The Shake" by The Mark IV and most of the early LS releases were tracks licenced from overseas labels by American artists such as Duane Eddy, Dion & The Belmonts, Dick Dale and Little Junior Parker.
Among the earliest Australian Leedon releases were "Rock On" by Johnny Rebb (September 1959) and Lee Gordon's own "Get The Message"
Leedon Red label
The "LK" series was inaugurated in June 1961 with Lonnie Lee's "You're Gonna Miss Me" and continued for eight years. Not surprisingly O'Keefe features prominently in the catalogue. Leedon's LK series is also notable to OzRock collectors as the venue for the earliest recordings by The Bee Gees, as well as many classic beat-era singles by Ray Brown & The Whispers and The Showmen, the debut single by The Four Strangers (the band that evolved into Tamam Shud), The Mystrys, Blues Rags & Hollers, The Amazons, The Atlantics, Russ Kruger and The Pogs. The final release in the LK series was JO'K's "She's My Baby" in July 1969.
The first series (red label) was mainly for distribution of US material although it recorded Australian acts. Around 1961 the label became a purely local label co-operated by Johnny O’Keefe until Lee Gordon passed away in 1963.
O’Keefe took control of the label and recorded and produced local acts as well as his own releases and lasted until the death of Johnny O’Keefe in 1978. Leedon records was an independent label until 1960 when it was distributed by Festival, then became part of the Festival family in 1962.
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Now, to top off this amazing find, I recently came across a copy of Johnny O'Keefe's 1959 hit single "Shout" at a flee market, and it features the famous LS series label in all its glory (see below).  Boy, did I feel like 'Shouting' when I found this gem.
It is also worth noting that while researching the various artists listed on this flyer, I discovered that Dig Richards may not have actually performed as advertised. As reported by the Australian Women's Weekly, he was laid up in hospital recovering from a car accident, and the photo of Fabian visiting him seems to indicate this fact (see right).
In honour of this wonderful historical find, I have decided to post some of the singles that the supporting artists on the 'Fabulous Fabian Tour'  released at that time, and probably sang while on tour.  (Thanks must go to Deutros, from whom I acquired some of the singles included in this post, marked with *)
So this month's WOCK on Vinyl is truley a piece of 'Obscure' Aussie Rock history which I just had to share with you.
Now, how many of you would like to buy tickets to this wonderful show?  There's still 30 tickets available and I'm keen to get my £2/2/-
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01 Fabian - Tiger 
02 Col Joye & The Joye Boys - Sixteen Candles*
03 Col Joye & The Joye Boys - Stagger Lee *
04 Johnny Devlin - Doreen
05 Johnny Devlin - Wild One
06 Dig Richards - I Wanna Love You *
07 The Crescents -  Mr Blue *
08 The Crescents - When You Wish Upon A Star *
09 Johnny O'Keefe - Swanee River
10 Johnny O'Keefe - Shout (Parts 1 & 2)
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Lee Gordon Presents (54Mb) New Link 25/10/2015
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4 comments:

  1. AussieRock - please consider creating a "secret" contact address people can reach you at (thru your profile). Blogspot has started nuking blogs en mass. Recently, the following blogs were killed:

    http://bluebeatinmysoul.blogspot.com/
    http://morefantasticcolors.blogspot.com/
    http://matou-lps.blogspot.com/
    http://matlo44-funkytown.blogspot.com/
    http://afrocubanlatinjazz4.blogspot.com/
    http://get-together-77.blogspot.com/
    http://progbeat-vvche.blogspot.com/

    And these seven are on the list I follow - meaning: Other people might have lost their favorites. It's really worrying!

    ReplyDelete
  2. For the latest update on the risk of using Blogspot, please visit
    http://widerangedistortion.blogspot.no/2013/08/publci-blogs-are-being-taken-down.html

    See comments - it is worrying news. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the heads up Steinar - it is certainly disconcerning to think that Blogger will act so harshly on the word of one person. It was my understanding that Blogger would give blog administrators some form of warning first. As you know, I try to ensure that I do not post 'currently available' albums and WILL remove posts if requested to.

      Delete
  3. Sadly, this is not Bloggers way of doing it nowadays - just as I am writing three more blogs that I am following has been nuked:

    forgottenmasterpieces.blogspot.com
    loungelegends.blogspot.com
    theredhippieteenager.blogspot.com

    None of these posts current records.

    Blogger won't ask anything - removal just happens. I was in touch with LoungeLegends the other day - no signs of warning was given.

    At least do a backup NOW.

    It is an eerie feeling - I usually visit my blogs like every second week - now I have the feeling that I am having sleepless nights over an old grandmother - it's like it's not a matter whether she will recover...it's a matter when she will pass away. So nowadays I visit (the remaining) blogs on my list at least every second day!

    ReplyDelete