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Robbins Recordings

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Robbins Recordings and Television Films Limited  —  Established in 1961 (incorporated 39th April, 1964).
A leading recording facility in the South Island of New Zealand run by Keith Frances Robbins.

Keith Robbins began his recording career at the Christchurch Recording Studio in a small shed at 83 Springfield Road in the 1950s.  It was this facility that he had taken over from former owner Alan Dunford, who retired from recording in early 1958.  Keith then renamed the facility Robbins Recordings Studio, and it thrived, recording radio jingles, TV adverts and many local artist who felt they needed their sounds captured!  This ranged from country singers to brass bands and local rockers to the city's Celtic folk clubs.  The Robbins label built up a substantial catalogue which could be found in Christchurch's many small record stores throughout the 1960s, and over the next 15 years issued some 150 records until stopping releasing records in the late 1970s.  At that time Keith's son-in-law, sound engineer John Phair, opened Tandem Studios, and as Robbins had done with his studio, launched a label of the same name.

 

Original acetate label


Example


Subsequent acetate label


Example

 

Part of a thriving South Island recording label scene in the 60s (including Peak, Joe Brown, and Master), the Robbins Recordings label grew out of the studios in Christchurch which became for many years, the premier recording facility in the South Island.   Although the studio produced many of the early recordings by future icons such as Max Merritt (whose landmark 1958 single "Get A Haircut" was recorded by Robbins), the studio also recorded the much-compiled rocker "Four City Rock" by Peter Lewis for Peak Records, along with much of that label"s other local output until Peak folded in 1965.  Amongst the label"s releases were local instrumental bands such as The Niterons and The Saints (whose "Psycho" is a moody pre-Beatles classic), Johnny Campbell and The Detours along with The Strangers, another local droup which included Gary Thain (writer of the B-side of their final single which was released after the band had broken up).  Gary Thain was later to find fame playing bass guitar with UK group Uriah Heep.  The Detours in particular, sold well with "My Girl" charting in 1965.  In 1969 the label issued the final EP by The Neketini Brass, sold only in the Canterbury region.

 

Original 7" 45rpm pressing


Next pressing variation


Final white label pressing with rim


Predominant white label pressing

 

In the 15-plus years it released records in the city, Robbins issued some 150 records, both 7-inch singles and EPs as well as long players, although many of these were minimum pressing runs, often funded by the artist.  Although it continued for some years as a studio, the label ceased issuing records in the late 1970s; and quite unfairly, given its prolific output, has been forgotten over the years.  None of Robbins' catalogue is legitimately available now, although the odd rocker turns up on various gray market rock and roll compilations from time to time.