Ep 06: Half A Cow Records – Show Notes

Show notes, links, music and other stuff for Ep 06: Half A Cow.

This episode is called The Glebe Sound, the name of a Half A Cow compilation.

The store and the start of Half A Cow Records

Sydney Morning Herald article that covers these early, Glebe years. Nice photo of Nic in the store in that article, written around the time of the It’s A Shame About Ray 30th anniversary reissue.

The store lived at 85 Glebe Point Road. See the image above. Below, me at where the shop used to be, November 2022.

Glebe remains cool because Sydney University is nearby. But there’s also lots of big houses which was great for share houses. Tim Rogers in the height of the 90s lived in Glebe, as did many other bands. The album cover to You Am I’s Hourly, Daily is somewhere in Glebe.

The store closed in 1998. In 1999, for some reason, I was part of a group of people who ended up back at Nic Dalton’s house after a gig. His house was covered with stacks of books. I don’t think I ever saw that many books in someone’s house before. I though Nic was the smartest person in the world. Later I realised it must have been the store stock. Nic is still smart in other ways I’m sure.

Before the Lemonheads, Nic was in a couple of other bands. I couldn’t find any footage of Love Positions, but the Plunderers made some clips.

Love Positions

The Lemonheads

The Lemonheads connection to the Australian alternative music scene in the 90s is one of the key stories of the decade. I’ve met so many music fans who love songs like Confetti or It’s A Shame About Ray and it was written in the Inner West of Sydney.

Here’s the clip for Rockin’ Stroll from that album. It was apparently written for the star of the film clip – Milo – who is the son of Simon Holmes and Robyn St Claire of The Hummingbirds. That’s Robyn pushing him along Glebe Point Road. About 50 seconds in, you see the Half A Cow store.

Nic joined the band. It didn’t really mean a massive spotlight suddenly hit Australia. But at least they played Letterman with Dando wearing a t-shirt for 80s Australian indie band The Eastern Dark.

Smudge And Sneeze

Smudge were the other key band in Half A Cow’s early years, led by Tom Morgan.

Over the course of this podcast I’m going to post a few Courtney Barnett clips. She does her share of cover versions, including many from this era. Here she is, doing the Smudge song Divan, backed by Smudge.

Morgan and Dalton formed Sneeze who released their first album in 1993, and has released four more albums in the next decade. The first album has 41 tracks. There was a single and film clip for Shaky Ground, featuring Alannah Russack of The Hummingbirds.

Half A Cow

At the moment, I have plans to cover a few more of the key Half A Cow bands as I move through the decade – SPDFGH, Crow, Sidewinder and Bernie Hayes. There may be others. This episode was really about the Dalton/Dando/Morgan nexus.

The If It’s Catchy documentary on Nic and Half A Cow is set for release at some point, hopefully later this year.

Here’s the three of them in 2009, in Sydney’s sadly departed Annandale Hotel. They just got up and did five songs, all covers, just for fun.

Miso doesn’t care much for Half A Cow, I guess. A lot of the great HAC stuff didn’t come out on vinyl. There was also a reissues branch of the label that did vital collections of bands like The Missing Links and The Eastern Dark, but on CD only. There was a recent reissue of Smudge‘s Real McCoy, Wrong Sinatra. Hopefully that will lead to a couple more coming out. The Lemonheads stuff was also very much the CD era after this. The later 90s albums are hard to find a cost a pretty penny when you do.

The Half A Cow bookshop has also been reissued. It’s now a section of Egg Records in Newtown – 3 Wilson St. There’s that logo


The 1992 Lemonheads album It’s A Shame About Ray is the key work. The sound of Glebe right there. The 30th Anniversary Edition has extra tracks including Lemonheads versions of Shaky Ground (Sneeze) and Divan (Smudge).

For Smudge, they have a best of with a wonderful title – This Smudge Is True. It collects the early singles and EP tracks, notably Don’t Want To Be Grant McLennan. Their album Manilow is still wonderful – it’s my favourite probably because I’ve owned it the longest and played it the most.

Jarrad Kennedy, who is directing the If It’s Catchy doco, put together a pretty expansive Half A Cow playlist. It’s kind of wild and sprawling, covering all eras.


Songs heard:

  • Sarah’s Not Falling In Love – The Plunderers
  • Rooftop Superman – Love Positions
  • Don’t Want To Be Grant McLennan – Smudge
  • It’s A Shame About Ray – The Lemonheads
  • Into Your Arms – Love Positions
  • Into Your Arms – The Lemonheads
  • Down About It – Smudge
  • Divan – Smudge
  • Impractical Joke – Smudge
  • The Outdoor Type – The Lemonheads
  • Shaky Ground – Sneeze
  • Ingrown – Ben Lee
  • The Outdoor Type – Smudge

Background music:

  • Into Your Arms – The Lemonheads
  • Confetti – The Lemonheads
  • Mrs Robinson – The Lemonheads
  • Test The Water – Bernie Hayes