A website dedicated to preserving and promoting the history of Australian
country music.

Country Music
The Music Of
Our Country

The Story of Australian Country Music

A Tribute to Buddy

A Tribute to Jimmy

A Tribute to Reg

A Tribute to Shirley

A Tribute to Slim

– Slim, Chronicler of the Bush

A Tribute to Smoky

A Tribute to Tex

– Tex Morton White Guitars

A Tribute to The McKean Sisters

Arch Kerr – pioneer record producer

Australia's College of Country Music

Bicentennial Concert 1970

The Big Golden Guitar

Birth of the Golden Guitars

Brief History of the Golden Guitar Awards

Brief History of Star Maker

The Buddy Bishop Story

Country Music Capital Meets Music City

Country Music Hands of Fame

Country Music Media

Country Music Roll of Renown

Country Timeline

First The Song

Golden Guitar Memories

Golden Guitar Pioneers

Golden Guitar Winners Tally

The Gympie Muster

The Hadley Records Story

History of the College of Country Music

How the CMAA Was Born

How Tamworth became Country Music Capital

How the College of Country Music Works


The John Minson Story


Minson Memories

Narrative! Narrative! Narrative!

Origins of the Tamworth Country Music Festival

Radio Ranch & Spurs

Ross Murphy

Sources and Resources

Stairway to Stardom

The Story of Maton Guitars

Tamworth, We've Done Us Proud

What is Country Music

For more information

Contact: Max Ellis

Email info@historyofcountrymusic.com.au


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Ross Murphy of Opal Records

A Tamworth Recording Pioneer

One of the first people to record country music in Tamworth was Ross Murphy.

Ross who was originally from Tenterfield, had built a successful saddlery business in Tamworth before he became involved in Country Music in the early 1960s.  As a member of the Queensland based Modern Country Music Association (MCMA), Ross had attended many concerts and talents quest around NSW and Southern Queensland run by the MCMA. Impressed by the Club and its activities he decided Tamworth should have it’s own branch which he set up in June 1967 with Margaret Carmichael as Secretary, John Minson as Publicity Officer and Betty Frey as Treasurer. Later Geoff Brown joined the Committee. The MCMA was an active group, staging talent quests and concerts with musicians like Des and Barry Whitton, Lance McCulloch, Bob Cole, Michael Cook, Doc Riley, Tom Roach and Frank Jones’ Trailblazers which featured young Tommy and Phil Emmanuel. 

In  1969 with Geoff Brown, Ross travelled to Dubbo to help set up a branch of the MCMA with local country fan and car dealer Ken Cameron.

Ross and Ken got on so well they decided they would establish a record company together and CM Records was formed. Their first recording of “Doc Riley” was on November 15th, 1969 in the “Tin Shed” at radio 2TM Tamworth. The label continued successfully for several years putting on vinyl, artists including Helen King, Johnny Heap, Wally White, Tex Little, Garry Gardiner, The Denning Sisters and many others.

The partnership broke up in 1972 when Ross established his own label, Opal Records based in Tamworth. Over the next thirty years Ross released hundreds of singles, EPs, LPs and CDs from artists including Jimmy Little, Stan Coster, Joe Daly, Brian Young, Auriel Andrew, Col Hardy, Michael Cook, Lindsay Butler, John Grills, Christina George, Buddy Weston, Ray Griffiths and many other country singers. His last release to date was a CD of Peter Smith, released in 2002. Is this right?

After the 2TM “Tin Shed” (a corrugated iron building in which the stations workshop and storage areas were then situated), Ross utilised a wide variety of studios including Hadley, Nashgrill, Enrec and Russ Hammond’s Studio at Coffs Harbour. Any Others you want to mention?

Opal has won two Golden Guitars, the first Listener Award in 1973 to Col Hardy and in 1977 for Best Instrumental by Lindsay Butler.

Ross Murphy has been deeply involved in the local country music scene for over half a century and is rightly regarded as one of the pioneers who helped turn Tamworth into Country Music Capital. For many years Ross reviewed Country Music for many media outlets. He also became heavily involved in local radio station 2YOU FM both as a country music presenter and later as Board Chairman. Ross received a Country Music Capital Award in 1991, was inducted into the Hands Of Fame in 2005.

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