For the first time many of the singles or E.P tracks from Australian artists associated with the Missing Link label have been brought together in compilation form.
Many are released for the first time on CD
Creates a fascinating overview of the label and time frame
Informative liner notes by Missing Link founder Keith Glass
(Liner notes from the album)
The Missing Link label started as a retrospective release imprint with a pair of 1960's artifacts - The Union 'The Ultimate Garage Band' (MLEP-1) and Cam-Pact 'Living In The 60's' (MLEP-2). Both 7" E.P's reflecting past lives of the two proprietors of Archie 'n Jugheads record shop, David Pepperell (lead singer of The Union) and Keith Glass (Cam-Pact).
The name came from the wild 60's band The Missing Links - a group that encapsulated the untamed heart of rock n roll, undiluted by commercial success!
A couple of releases later and with the departure from the business of one of the principals (Pepperell) the store became 'Missing Link' and the label took on a new contemporary release program to reflect the exciting punk/new wave 'do it yourself' era of the late 1970's.
The label became influential through the release of both Australian and overseas material, even scoring a hit single with the local release of The Flying Lizards kitchen electronic version of Money when it was passed over by Festival Records.
The Boys Next Door, later renamed The Birthday Party, were the flag ship band of the label, recording three albums and being licensed all around the world as well as forging an ongoing international career for lead singer Nick Cave and his musical right hand man Mick Harvey.
The Go-Betweens also recorded their first album for the label and for a three year period at the turn of the 1980's Missing Link and companion imprint Au-Go-Go were at the fore front of contemporary musical activity in the antipodes.
It was a heady period when everything seemed possible. The shop in a prime location of the CBD of Melbourne was the nerve centre, where trends could not only be detected but also started. Homegrown releases sold well out of this and other shops nationwide gearing up for the still underground 'new wave' phenomenon. Resistance at radio/TV and from the major companies was still immense but venues were thriving and new acts emerging almost on a weekly basis. As well as Missing Link and Au-Go-Go, Keith Glass and Bruce Milne (who shaped Au-Go-Go, at that stage a dedicated 7" single label) aided many other one-offs or small time operators get their product out.
Mistakes were made, frustrations grew as some artists and records failed to get their just desert but it was a golden period in terms of productivity and some sense of achievement.
As this is written, attempts are being made to release a dozen or so albums for the first time on CD. Some are original Missing Link releases and some are in the original spirit of the label - that is, as a home of an historical treasure trove not bound by commercial considerations but just whether the music is worthy of interest.
Track by track information:
1. The Bleeding Hearts 'Hit Single'
Middle of the 70's, The Bleeding Hearts had IT, a criminal waste they never had a record released while they were still around. Sports did a version of this later on once ex-Heart Martin Armiger joined. One of the earliest Missing Link releases and one of the best.
2. Man & Machine 'Crime Of Passion'
Eric Gradman was the other main cog in The Bleeding Hearts and his later group M&M continued the arty pretensions of that band tempered by the trends of the 'new wave' era. The potential was there to do much more than the single 12" E.P and one side of a give away single the band delivered during its brief life.
3. Whirlywirld 'Win/Lose'
Another outfit whose influence is far greater in hindsight, Ollie Olsen and John Murphy's various line-ups only performed a dozen or so times but left behind some visionary, groundbreaking work. Most of all Ollie had some strong songs. This is one, later re-worked for the 'Dogs In Space' movie and soundtrack album.
4. Laughing Clowns 'Holy Joe'
Ed Kuepper's post Saints group Laughing Clowns went in a jazz new wave fusion direction - it would be impossible to think of an equivalent anywhere. A unique band led by one of the most productive artists the world has ever seen, Kuepper always knew exactly what he was doing even if the public took a while to catch on. By the time they did he was normally off on another tangent.
5. The Go-Betweens 'By Chance'
One side of The Gob's final single for Missing Link, the label didn't know it was in effect still funding their ongoing career with UK label Rough Trade, the supposed 'good guys' standing against the corporate machine. In disgust, I sold the group back their catalogue for a fraction of the real cost, however this track was inadvertently left out of the deal.
6. Tuff Monks 'After The Fireworks'
Sessions for The Birthday Party album 'Junkyard' were turning into a disaster. The band was ill prepared and drugged up. Enter a few Go-Betweens to the sessions and a night of tomfoolery produced a whopping big session bill and a track eventually released on Au-Go-Go called 'After The Fireworks'. Lacking any B side to go with it, we resorted to a backwards vocal remix titled 'After, After The Fireworks'. Opportunist? Exploitive? We had bills to pay.
7. Marching Girls 'First In Line'
The New Zealand power punk trio put out a classic here. Who would have thought singer/guitarist Ronnie Recent would revert to his real name Brendan Perry and team up with Lisa Gerrard (first heard on the comp From Belgrave With Love) and become a worldwide underground Goth/trance phenomenon as Dead Can Dance.
8. The Ears 'Scarecrow'
Derided as Boys Next Door/Birthday Party wannabee's The Ears came up with some great songs later expanded on by Sam Sejavka's next group Beargarden. His later, more successful work as a playwright and the inspiration behind the legendary Melbourne punk movie 'Dogs In Space' is proof Sejavka had talent, so is this track, the band's second single.
9. Equal Local '12 Ways To Go'
Dean Richards and Phillip Jackson's post Whirlywirld instrumental outfit Equal Local did well on the Melbourne inner city live scene but on record it was always gonna be tough. Two great 12" 45 rpm releases and some considerable expense later, how hard it would be was confirmed. Hot Half Hour followed in 1983 to little or no avail.
10. La Femme 'Chelsea Kids'
Singer Chane Chane and his group were real punks. Tough western suburb kids more 'eavy metal than arty farty. Nonetheless they fitted in with The Boys Next Door, The Models and the rest of the Crystal Ballroom/St Kilda crowd and in retrospect are more interesting than they might have seemed at the time. With an album still ripe for re-release we hope so anyhow.
11. The News 'I'm So Confused'
As The Babeez this combo were about the first to 'do it yourself' then after a publicity campaign that consisted of their name being spray painted all over Melbourne came The News. 'I'm So Confused/That Girl' was actually the group's 4th single having come through shockpunk, political phases to become a power pop group. Singer Gavin Quinn was the constant with other members connecting with most of the inner city bands of the era.
12. Peter Lillie 'Holiday House'
Lillie's songs formed the backbone of the first ever Missing Link album - a compilation of four so called 'Ocker Billy' bands from the mid 70's - The Autodrifters/The Pelaco Brothers/The Fabulous Nudes and The Relaxed Mechanics, who consciously rejected current musical trends to re-invent the 50's with an Australian slant. Lillie was trying to reposition his unique talents to the new wave era and this is the initial attempt of three singles and an album for our label.
13. The International Exiles 'Let's Be Sophisticated'
As punk turned to pop, groups such as The Exiles offered a way the mainstream could embrace the new music. Of course they didn't unless force fed it from overseas so The Exiles and their ilk withered on the vine. Members kept playing in other line-ups but singer Laine McCreedy got her one shot with this single.
14. The Dynamic Hepnotics 'Hepnobeat'
Continental Robert Susz was the front man of one cool R&B/Soul group at a time the passion of punk threatened to swamp anything cool. The band were so good they overcame that obstacle and 'Hepnobeat' was a genuine underground hit. An extended mix came out in Europe and Missing Link tried to break them wider inking a new deal with CBS in 1982. It wasn't to be but the band eventually scored for another label with 'Soul Kind Of Feeling' and Susz continues with The Mighty Reapers to this day.
15. The Kevins 'Out At Night'
Another Carlton band that combined pop, funk and twisted humour. Maybe it never translated out of an inner city enclave but members Sally Ford and Nick Smith went on to work with The Black Sorrows and the band itself continued on to record a mini album for the White label later in the 80's.
16. Ian Stephen 'Over There'
Wanna know the real story of the 10" 'Mystery Single' this came out on? We sent the disc off to the US, sent some labels over later but they had already pressed it! So we concocted the story the identity of the artist was a secret. It did wonders for his career, he is still largely a secret today, even though he has never stopped trying, currently from San Francisco, to make a go of his music. The Slaughterman was a later highpoint while an album by the quirky Armchairs also escaped from Link HQ and included a 17 minute version of La Bamba. Nuff said.
17. The Crackajacks 'Long Blond Hair'
Three times we released this as a single. First on Au-Go-Go, then licensed to major label Astor and finally on Missing Link. It always looked like it was going to break and never quite did. It was the best thing the band ever did and the recent elevation of the track to the top of the newly re-released album re-titled 'Rockabilly Ricochet!' has been a revelation. Enjoy it here and enjoy even more there. This has been a shameless plug for album Link 17.
18. North To Alaskans 'Love Machine'
As a less unwieldy outgrowth of The Pete Best Beatles it was singer Frank Savage's main role to re-interpret the dregs of popular music. In this case producer Pat Aulton's Aussie studio outfit's Pastoral Symphony's bit of nonsense 'Love Machine' - we all know what machine they were talking about. The N2A failed to replicate the success of the original hit but they had some fun trying. One of the last Missing Link singles; Miss 36 to be exact.