Stobie Sounds Business Model: Genius or fools luck?
It’s interesting to see that a number of the music industry’s medium sized fish are devising interesting new ways to run record labels. What’s more interesting is that the model developed at Stobie Sounds in 2009 is becoming a popular solution to the conundrum of running a label in the 21st century.
With the rise of Inertia Access and Dew Process’ Create/Control, we thought it was timely for a bit of a reflection of our first years of life as ‘Australia’s Favourite Community Based Roots Record Label’.
A few years back, when Stobie Sounds sprang to life off the back of a 4 track EP, music industry boffins were using adjectives such as ‘crisis’, ‘terminal decline’ and ‘Holy Shitballs’ to describe the state of the recording industry. The ‘big four’ record labels (now the big three) were owned by Russian oil tycoons, investment bankers and straight up crooks who spent the best part of the 80s and 90s becoming bloated profit making behemoths that had somehow forgotten that music is an artform. Labels had become brutally efficient at defrauding artists and appealing to the lowest common denominator. In this context, our decision to form a record label was often met by smirks. I recall one day early on I was dropping off a batch of Kirk Special’s debut at a record store when the owner provided his views on our new venture: ‘If you don’t sell more than 5000 copies it’s a vanity project’. I didn’t have the balls to tell him we only made 100 copies and had no plans to make any more.
We spent Sunday-just-gone printing up some tees for Bearded Gypsy Band’s WOMAD merch. We took the modified the silk screen and cut down the lino cut from their album launch posters from Feb 2011 (I know, time flies). The tee’s feature the ‘camel with instruments’ silhouette on the front and the bold ‘Bearded Gypsy Band’ text on the back.
The gypsies will be flogging these at WOMAD and beyond (while stocks last). We’ve also got a handful of these tees to sell. You’ll be able to grab them at our merch stall at the Wheaty on February 11.
Click here to grab tickets to the fundraiser gig....
We’re getting revved up for our Frank The Poet Fundraiser next Saturday. Two of our town’s finest outfits are gonna stand on the stage of Adelaide’s finest music venue and deliver some of the finest music you’ll hear anywhere in the world. And what’s more is that they’re raising funds for a cause that may not be of global import but worthy of a night out for $15.
A few words from our secretary regarding the concert:
There’s a lot of music out there that takes the piss. Made for no other reason than to have a laugh and a good time. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place for all that stuff. But every now and then I seem to lose my grip and life becomes chaotic and confusing. Everything is fleeting. And no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to slow the pace. Regain my perspective. Breathe.
We’ve got a couple of versions of ‘For The Company Underground’ being recorded for our Frank The Poet compilation. One is coming from our stone country rambler Max Savage. The second comes from Hat Fitz and Cara Robinson. Hat, a guitar slinging Queenslander and Cara, a vocalist/multi-instrumentalist hailing from Northern Ireland are a perfect fit to participate in our celebration of early Irish convict poetry.
For The Company Underground is a defiant stand against going down into the mines to work in dangerous conditions for little pay. This rawcus rendition is a rabble-rouser that we’re sure Frank would approve. Hit play for a sneaky peek of the tune.
We’re excited to see that the duo are in Adelaide from February 2-5 playing a few shows.
Thu Feb 2 : The Gilbert St Hotel, Adelaide. Fri Feb 3 : The Woodcroft Tavern, Woodcroft. Sat Feb 4 : The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Thebarton. Sun Feb 5 : Semaphore Workers Club, Semaphore.
The earliest record of ‘For The Company Underground’ comes from The Trimingham Manuscript, a tiny 32 page handwritten book that was created sometime in the late 1830s, most likely 1839. within it’s pages are written four poems that we now attribute to Frank The Poet. Some say the manuscript is written by McNamara himself. Others dispute it. It’s just another of the beautiful mysteries that haunt the story of this poetry.
When thieves ever robbing on the highway For their sanctity are renowned, MacNamara shall work that day For the Company underground.
We don’t know if McNamara did actually work in the coal mines of the east coast of Australia. What this poem tells us is that he was strongly against going underground. And didn’t mind saying it.
The Yearlings and Max Savage are capping of our month of fundraising by putting on a concert at the Wheatsheaf Hotel this Saturday Night (11 Feb).
You can get you ticket at the door tonight!
This is the first time these two great Australian purveyors of country-esque music have appeared on the same bill. Most of you would know that both bands fill the bandroom at the Wheaty when they play solo shows so if you’re keen to see the show you should show up early (doors at 8pm) or pre-book a ticket Tix at door still available. As Don Morrison says: This Could Be Big
Both bands are recording songs for our Frank The Poet compilation album which will be released in late autumn/ early winter.
We’ve been advised that Heath Cullen spent a couple days down at The Yearlings My Sweet Mule Recording Lounge and laid down his rendition of Jim Jones at Botany Bay for our Frank The Poet compilation. We caught Heath for the first time at the Wheaty in mid 2011 and are wondering how we’d missed him. He stands about 6′ 10″ is lankier than a bar stool and writes beautiful songs that seem to bear witness to all the great music to come out of the 20th century. His 2010 release ‘A Storm Was Coming But I didn’t Feel Nothing’ is an absolute pearler. Haven’t got it? Grab it.
His chosen song for the album – Jim Jones at Botany Bay -must have been quite the revolutionary ditty in its day. To be honest, the final stanza would any modern-day tyrant shit his dacks:
And some dark night when everything is silent in this town I’ll kill the tyrants one by one and shoot the floggers down I’ll give the law a little shock remember what I say They’ll yet regret they sent Jim Jones in chains to Botany Bay
the origin of the poem. like most of the material associated with this project, is a bit of a historical mystery. It was first published in 1907 but it was already old then, and has been a mainstay in the Australian protest singer’s kit bag since the 50s. Some say Francis McNamara wrote it. Others dispute it. Mark Gregory says of the poem:
Is Jim Jones the work of Francis MacNamara? The evidence in the song itself suggests it is … its unusual defiance, its unusual construction, absence of moralising conclusion. The first three verses, threats in the voice of the English judge, the next three of description,defiance and retribution in the voice of the English (or Welsh) prisoner. The song is set to an Irish tune Irish Molly O, a tune MacNamara would certainly have known. The verses sound Irish (Celtic?) when read aloud. MacNamara often put the names of his heroes (and his enemies) in his verse in this case Jack Donahoe and Jim Jones.
Bob Dylan recorded a desperate and gnarly version of the poem for his oft overlooked gem LP ‘Good as I Been to You’. We haven’t heard Heath’s version yet so we’ll have to leave you with a short video of him playing ‘Fullerton’s Bridge’ during the Candelo Village Festival….. with a few friends you might recognize.
Throughout January and February our team of volunteers and supporters are passing around the hat to raise funds to ensure that Banished Now From My Native Shore is release in the Autumn of 2012. Stobie Sounds has managed to fund 90% of the project out of our own coffers but need a little bit of help to get the project finished.
Our fundraising efforts will go toward:
Three studio sessions to record the final tracks for the album.
Compiling and mastering the final album, and
(if there’s enough in the kitty) pressing the final album on 12″ vinyl for release.
Click here to grab tickets to the fundraiser gig....
‘How can I help?’ we hear you say.
It’s pretty easy to help out. You can do one of three things.
Attend the ‘Frank The Poet Fundraiser Concert’ at the Wheatsheaf Hotel on February 11 featuring sets from The Yearlings and Max Savage. Entry is $15 and you can get tickets HERE. Tix available at the door.
Throw some of your spare change into our pozible crowdfunding campaign. Any amount will make a difference but a donation of $30 will get you a copy of the album when it’s released. It’s kind of like a socially conscious lay-by system!
Help us out by letting your friends know about our plight. Post a link to this post on facebook, website or any other place you can think of. Share this Video (vimeo.com/34776778) with your friends.
This Saturday afternoon (3 December) Cal Williams Jr has invited a few of his favourite local craftspeople - Adelaide’s workshop junkies, who spend their days handcrafting guitars and gear for the local scene to celebrate their craft skills and share some music. Come down to the backroom of the Wheatsheaf Hotel Between 3 and 5pmto talk with the people who make these wonderful instruments and gear.
These craftsmen take great pride in knowing that each and every item they produce has been made by their own loving hands, scoffing at mass production.
The Great Guitar Tuppaware Party is a gathering of like- minded souls.
Here’s who’ll be showcasing their wares on Saturday:
Kimon Smith (SOUNDSMITH guitars) Tim Wright (WRIGHT guitars) Don Morrison (DONMO resonator guitars) Wayne Shirlock (ROUGHNECK ukes) Brenton Tregloan (GIGMASTER stands) Jacob Habner (Stobie & Co Bottleneck Slides)
It’s hard for small scale makers to compete with the mass produced cheap imports being sold for next to nothing in the big guitar stores. This is the second of what we hope will be many events showcasing local craftspeople.
This event is a spontaneous attempt to nurture a co-operative type vibe amongst local makers and musicians and to let locals know how much is going on out in the sheds of the ‘burbs and hills’ of Adelaide.
A late October release for King Billy is perfect timing. Crank it up on the back verandah during a balmy spring evening and you’ll be instantly chillaxed.
click play and read on….
Come see Cal launch his lates LP. Wheatsheaf Hotel, Saturday 22 October.
Listening to Cal Williams Jr’s latest album I’m struck at how prolific he has been in the past couple years. He has definitely been going through a purple patch of late and the ten tracks on King Billy are some of his best to date. Tunes like Hollow Lake Blues and Wounded Bird are lyrically and melodically near-perfect. Brownsville, a highlight of his live sets of late, is a testament to Cal’s reputation as one of Australia’s finest interpreters of song.
King Billy is being launched at the Wheatsheaf Hotel on Saturday 22 October as part of the Backwater Blues and Roots Fest. Doors at 8pm. Get your tickets at oztix. (at the time of writing there are only a handful of tickets left).
Cal is a solid guitarist but that’s not where this album stands out. He has a rare knack of creating a great vibe when he goes into a studio. His recent collaborations with Anthony Stewart at Red Brick Studio have produced some finely textured recordings. Its the atmosphere that cal creates with these 10 tunes that makes it a cracker of a listen and well worth checking out. Perfect summer listening.
We’re really excited to be able to finally do an Old Gray Mule Album Launch where they actually come to play! A new album ‘A Day in Mississippi, A night in Texas’ features 11 tracks recorded during two sessions the fellas recorded on a recent US tour. We’ll be launching the album at the Stobie Sounds House Party on October 22. You can grab a copy at any one of their gigs in Melbourne and Adelaide (see the schedule below for more details).
Before we get into the music, let us tell you that we’ve handprinted 100 copies of the album featuring a 4 colour lino cut Colt .44 and some deft letterpress text.
Only 20 copies available online. The rest of this limited edition run of 100 handprinted albums can be bought at gigs!
The album is chocka block full of their loose and raggedy blues boogie. Recorded during two session on a recent tour across the USA ‘A Day in Mississippi. A night in Texas’ is bucking with a sense of rawness that will make your pants cry for mercy. Don’t believe us? Listen to this: