Category: Australian indepependent label

Date: ca. 1965

Location: Sydney NSW?

Ownership: unknown


The mysterious Pakktel label dates to 1965 and appears to have been set up to promote an obscure Nine Network TV series called Boomeride. The program, reportedly made for Nine at the Channel 0 studios in Melbourne, was a musical variety show that showcased young Australian talent, and its main claim to fame these days is that one of the young performers featured was the then teenaged Olivia Newtown-John. Fragments of the program have survived and a short clip of Olivia performing Marawood's "Papa, Oh Papa" (excerpted for a Nine TV special) can be viewed  on YouTube.

Pakktel released a soundtrack album and two singles featuring music from the series. The tracks were variously performed by singer Tony Cole (a former schoolteacher who was discovered on Bandstand in 1964), Gabrielle Hartley (a Melbourne model who branched to became a folk singer and actor), Doug Kennedy, Lane & Logan and Annette Klooger. Instrumental backing was by the Graeme Hall Quartet (Graeme Hall, piano; Barry Buckley, bass; Dale Kohry, guitar); John Frank, drums) with vocal backing on the Tony Cole track by The Crestaires.

Tony Cole continued his music career for some time. He recorded one  single on the Leedon label in 1967 and moved to the UK in the early 1970s, where he recorded two LPs on the Interfusion label (produced by the great David Mackay) and Tony's single "The Hook" was a minor Australian hit during 1973.

Doug Kennedy was originally from Perth. He was an all-round vocalist-entertainer who served his musical apprenticeship on the Perth folk scene, and his repertoire (like Lionel Long) ranged over folksong, C&W, and theatrical songs. He tried his luck in the eastern states in the mid-Sixties and after a successful series of appearances at the Off-Stage in South Yarra and on Boomeride, he was urged to move to London, where he appeared on BBC TV and at the London Palladium, and recorded a single for EMI's Columbia label. ("Julie", Columbia UK 7707-9619)

Gabrielle Hartley was originally a fashion model; she briefly became a folksinger in the mid-Sixties (appearing on Boomeride and Bandstand) before moving into acting. Her first major dramatic credit is also probably her best remembered role; she played Maggie Emerson, wife of local landowner Col. Jim Emerson (Carl Bleazby) in ABC-TV's Bellbird, and she reprised it in the movie version of the series, Country Town (1971). Her other TV credits include Hunter (1968), Delta (1969), Ryan (1973), Division 4, Matlock Police, Bobby Dazzler and several appearances in Prisoner; she also appeared in the movie Dawn! (1979).

Almost all the songs performed in Boomeride were original tunes by Australian composer Charles Marawood, who was evidently a prolific songwriter. His other major Aussie pop-rock credit was the A-side of the 1968 Columbia single "Mon Pere" by Bev Harrell, and two of his other songs --  "Boomerang Baby" (originally recorded by Tony Cole) and the anti-war ballad "White Grass" (originally recorded by Doug Kennedy) -- were performed by Marlene Dietrich, and can be heard on the DVD of her 1973 British TV special I Wish You Love.

"White Grass" is a powerful anti-war ballad, depicting a soldier who returns from the war to find his wife dead and his house empty ("The war is over. Seems we won. Hooray"). Dietrich often sang it in concert during the last years of her performing career, although curiously she never recorded it. New Zealand singer Jennifer Ward-Lealand revived the song for her 2007 Deitrich tribute show Falling in Love Again, and is reportedly the first singer to record a version. As noted in a review of her show, it's a mark of Ward-Lealand's commitment that she tracked down Marawood's widow for the rights in order to include it on the CD of the show.

Marawood's other credits include two songs featured in an episode of Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo -- in Ep. 23 ("They're Singing Me Back") Moona, a runaway Aboriginal girl (played by Candy Devine) sings two of Marawood's songs, "Walk You High" and "I Must Go". Marawood also composed the soundtrack for the children's TV series The Elephant Boy (1973) and the movies Weekend of Shadows (1973) and The Irishman (1978). In 1979 his poignant song "Magdelena" -- originally the A-side of Gabrielle Hartley's Pakktel single -- was performed by the character Nora (played by Sonja Tallis) during a prison talent quest sequence in Episode 582 of Grundy's Prisoner, which aired in in 1979.

Movie producer Matt Carroll, who worked with Marawood on Weekend of Shadows, recently recalled: 

"He was a real eccentric. He lived close to me in Paddington at the time ... he wore way-out clothes, capes and things like that, and his house was crammed full of amazing stuff. The movie wasn't that good, but his music was great. He was very talented, but I don't think he ever got the recognition he deserved."



Cat. # Date Artist Title
PKTSP-65001 1965 Tony Cole with The Crestaires "Boomerang Baby" (Charles Marawood) / ""It Must Have Been A Dream" (Tony Cole-Graeme Hall)
PKTSP-65002 1965 Gabrielle Hartley "Magdelena" (Charles Marawood) / "Aussie" (Charles Marawood)


Cat. # Date Artist Title
PKTLP-65001 1965 various artists Boomeride: Songs from the TV series

References / Links

Ross Laird / Screensound
The Sixties: Australian Rock & Pop Recordings 1964-1969

Vernon Joyson
Dreams, Fantasies & Nightmares: Australia (Borderline Books, 1999)

Australian Television Memoribilia

Internet Movie Database

Malcolm J. Turnbull
The History of the Australian Folk Revival

Classic Australian TV

Prisoner UK fan site

Laurie Atkinson
"A Marlene Better Than The Real One"