Sydney 1960s-1980s

United Sound -- originally known as Visound -- was one of the top Australian independent recording studios for more than two decades. Sources indicate that its primary business was recording for film and television soundtracks, but it began to be used extensively for rock recordings around 1970.

Imagination were one of the winning 26 bands in this contest who then played live before an 8000 strong crowd in an all-day major concert in July 1969 at the Sydney Showground.  However in the meantime the band had done the 2UW Holiday Happening concerts in May at the 2UW/Alberts Hall in Sydney. These really established them and they were immediately thereafter contracted by Alberts to record. Overall, according to Neil Porter, this would had to have been THE gig of the Imagination’s career with 10 concert appearances, morning and night for a week. The product of the recording deal was two 45 rpm singles, the first single, the Bob Dylan song "Tonight I'll be staying here with you" b/w a different version of their own song, "The way I like it"  (Parlophone Cat# A8860) was released in Aug 69.

Both singles, plus an unreleased tracks of another Bob Dylan song, "To be Alone with You" (5 songs in all) were recorded at Visound (later to be known as United Sound) Studios, which was on the top floor of an office building in Sydney’s Haymarket area. At that time Visound was one of only two 8-track studios in Australia, the other being in Melbourne. Production was by Ted Albert and AR manager Tony Geary for Parlophone. The band felt pretty good about coming out on the same label as the Beatles and the Easybeats, even though they were quite unhappy with the products. One notable feature of the A side was the beautiful lead guitar sound which Lyle Maclean really worked hard on using a pedal steel guitar (an instrument he had never played before) which was borrowed from Palings music store for the occasion.  His normal electric guitar that was used on the tracks was a Gretsch Chet Atkins Country Gentleman.

The studio was also used by visiting internaational artist, notably British singer-songwriter John Martyn, who cut a single there in 1978.

In August of 1974 the Jazz Co-op recorded the material for their first album at United Sound Studios in Sydney. It was a double album with Howie and Roger contributing four pieces each, two pieces by Phil Treloar, plus a Wayne Shorter tune and a Keith Jarrett tune. Recording and mixing was done by Spencer Lee and cover art was by Howie's wife Barbara. Horst Liepolt wrote the liner notes and the album was released by Phonogram.

Recording credits

1970 Erl Dalby & Pyramid - single
"Can't Wait For September" /
Let Me Be Yours Until Tomorrow (Du Monde SDM32511) 
"Erle: The A side was written by Harry Vanda & George Young as well as Stevie Wright and recorded at United Sound Studios in Ultimo Sydney in the wee small hours. I remember getting to the studio at 12 am, and leaving in the daylight. We had a full string orchestra. No synthesizers back then. Backing band was myband Earl's Court."

1970 - Galadriel

1970 - Levi Smiths Clefs
Empty Monkey

1971 - Southern Contemporary Rock Assembly

SCRA - The Ship Album (Atlantic SD-7235) LP

1971 - Fraternity
Livestock (Sweet Peach) LP

1972 - Robert Allworth
"Variations for piano" 
Inlcuded on the compilation CD When the world was green : music of Australian composers, Jade Records, Sydney, 2003

1978 - John Martyn
"In Search Of Anna" / "Certain Surprise" (Island K7450) single, 1979
Released in Australia only. The A-side is the theme tune to the Australian film of the same name released in 1978, directed by Esben Storm and starring renowned photographer Carol Jerrems. It was recorded on 29 July 1978 with final mix and production in March 1979.



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