Saturday, 3 March 2012

The Music Of Sven Libaek - Sven Libaek (1967)

This LP seems to be one of the lesser heard of Libaek's albums from his golden era in the sixties and seventies. I can't imagine why - it's a fantastic set of music as good as (or better than) his soundtrack work which has enjoyed such a resurgence in appreciation over the last few years. In any case, the majority of the pieces on this album are from film and television soundtracks composed 'in the last year or so' and then rearranged and rerecorded for this album. The liner notes don't mention which soundtracks, but the titles give clues: Gold Coast Fanfare, Lake Moondara, Northern Territory and so on.

EDIT: I've noticed from the liner notes of the Nature Walkabout soundtrack that some of these earlier works are mentioned. Man And A Mural was from the soundtrack to an 'award winning art documentary film' of the same name which was produced and edited by Nature Walkabout producer  Bill Copland. Done Away With was part of the music Sven wrote for a 'TV play' of the same name by Pat Flowers. Versions of Northern Territory and Theme From An Unwritten Movie were released on a 1963 EP by balalaika player Andy Sundstrom on CBS when Libaek was at the helm as A&R man. I recently tracked down this EP and wrote a post on it here.

The compositions are played by that great team of Sydney jazz players familiar from countless other Australian recordings of the era: Don Burrows, Errol Buddle, George Golla, John Sangster and Derek Fairbrass amongst others. This is a superb album which deserves to be placed in the same league as Libaek's best.

Postcript: The excellent ABC podcast RareCollections recently ran a two-part interview with Libaek containing a lot of great information from Sven. Check it out here.

Label: Festival
Released: 1967
Players: Sven Libaek - piano, guitar
Don Burrows - alto sax, alto flute, flute
Errol Buddle - tenor sax
Eric "Boff" Thompson - trumpet
Richard Brooks - harmonica
George Golla - guitar
John Sangster - vibes, glockenspiel, bongos
Ed Gaston - bass
Derek Fairbrass - drums


  1. so it took me a couple months to find this oasis, but lo! my thirsty ears may finally drink deep from this seductive stream of springtime sustenance. i've only spent the entire evening soaking in the charms of this breezy beast, but tis the truth you speak; she's easily amongst sven golly's most triumphant achievements & utterly unsullied by stodgy snobs & hopeless hipsters, who might otherwise muck up the mystery with their imperfect ears. if i was still in the bwoggin game, eyed dutifully direct droves of clueless kids over here so they might understand, if just for this magic moment. hearts + hugs


  2. white desolation & baroque theme ftw. thx again!

  3. Thanks Owl, I wasn't sure if anyone would find me in my little internet billabong, but I'm glad to hear that these recordings are reaching appreciative ears! I only just found out after receiving your kind words that Holy Warbles has been assassinated which saddens me greatly. I hope you are able to find some sort of alternative outlet for your musical whims.

    But yeah, White Desolation and Baroque are awesome tracks. My number one favourite would have to be 'Man And A Mural' though. It's extremely similar to the gorgeous 'Lonely Australian Landscape' from Nature Walkabout (particularly the version on the Bush Theme single - which I've just realised I should really do a post on), like so similar that it almost sounds like two sketches of the same song.

    Anyways, god bless Sven and please check back again as I have more stuff to come.

  4. Oh man, I've been dying to hear this for so long. I cannot god damn wait!

    You have an exciting spot here, friend! I shall add you to my blogroll if you don't mind.

  5. Been listening all day. Thank you for this, it's so good.

  6. No worries Flash. It is awesome, isn't it? I wonder why it gets so little attention. I had been wanting to listen to it for ages, and then ended up seeing it a copy on eBay just before the auction ended and got it for $30.

    And yes, please add Urban Bowerbird to your blogroll - my site gets very little traffic at this stage and I'd love for more folks to check this stuff out.

  7. Thank goodness! We all need more Libaek in our lives.

  8. Thank you, your efforts are very appreciated