Friday, September 23, 2016

More Soviet treasure

Following our recent post about a blue vinyl Top of the Pops-related album from the USSR, our Russian collector friend, Shumov Konstantin, has sent us the following EP. It's a spin-off from the LP, and contains one of the Top of the Poppers' tracks - "Living in Harmony", which closes side 2 of the EP. (It was originally found on the UK Top of the Pops volume 26.)

This super EP has two French-language tracks on side 1, while "Living in Harmony" shares side 2 with Johnny Cash and "A Thing Called Love".

In the USSR, records would be manufactured in a range of pressing plants situated in the different states. Each plant would design its own sleeves, and so this EP can be found in a variety of editions. The one above was made in Leningrad in the 1970s.

All of the other editions known to us are pictured below. They originate variously in Russia (Moscow), Georgia, Latvia and Uzbekistan.

Two of them, by the way, are flexi-disc editions. See here for more info.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Blue vinyl from USSR

We've come across a fair bit of coloured vinyl lately, of one sort or another. And we've chanced upon another example, from an LP pressed in the Soviet Union in the 1970s:

This is one of 20 or so different editions of an album called Variety's Orbit (see here), which contains two tracks by the Top of the Poppers, these being "Sugar Me" and "Living in Harmony" from our own volume 26.

The translucent blue vinyl is very impressive - nothing like this was released by Hallmark in the UK. (The sleeve, by the way, is generic.)

This particular example is from Uzbekistan, pressed in the city of Tashkent. Those who haven't heard of this LP before may be surprised to know that copies pressed in Moscow are also known in coloured vinyl - three varieties have been discovered so far:

Pretty neat!

Our thanks to Shumov Konstantin for the images.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Another coloured Pye LP

We have recently been looking at the hidden colours in Pye's vinyl pressings of the 1970s. Earlier we posted about the Pye Chart Busters series, and how all the editions turned out to be colured rather than plain old black. What we didn't check was the peripheral release - the end-of-year compilation, "Chartbusters 1972".

Well, someone who did think to check was Holger Schoeler, who sent us the following images, proving his copy is, indeed, on a sort of purple vinyl...

When I read about this, I dug out my own copy, and sure enough, it's a very strong cherry red colour.

Which gave me another thought - the previous year's "Chartbusters of the Year '71", which I checked and which is also on a kind of purple vinyl. Like "Chartbusters 1972" it was issued in Pye's Golden Hour series.

Thanks again to Holger for flagging this up.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

UK one-offs part 12: 12 Great Hits For All The Family

Not just a one-off, but two one-offs. So, that's a two-off I suppose.

This pair of LPs appeared in 1974/75 and is another example of drinks companies tapping into the vinyl market for some product promotion. In this case the bubbly is made by Corona, who not content with just releasing a couple of records, have even created their own label.

Mines's a double. Here they are.

Two LPs fizzing with pop. In each case, Corona have attempted to convince the listener that side 1 is somehow different from side 2, with comments like, "Featured on Side One is a selection of the most popular songs ever recorded. With Side Two ... six more dynamic chartbusters plus the added fun of Corona's latest batch of crazy radio commercials between tracks."

Er... run that by me again?

"Corona's latest batch of crazy radio commercials between tracks."

It's true! At least, it's true of LP1 side 2, and quite amusing they are too, at least to start with. (remind you of anything?)

Now, the question always arises with these promo albums - where did they get the recordings? In this instance, we know - they are almost all taken from the Windmill label's "Parade of Pops" albums. LP1 has tracks from various volumes up to and including volume 17...

above, volume 12: "Solitaire"; "Tiger Feet" - and volume 17: "Love Me For A Reason"

Meanwhile, LP2 has tracks from volume 17 again, up to and including volume 23 (from which, no fewer than four songs are taken) ...

above, volume 20: "Goodbye My Love"; "Please Mr Postman" - and volume 21: "Let Me Be The One"; "Bye Bye Baby"

There are three songs which don't show up in the "Parade of Pops" series, these being "Do You Know The Way To San Jose", "Something Stupid" and "Home Lovin' Man". We don't know where they came from, but the betting is, some other Windmill LPs. Let us know, if you know.

Apparently, after releasing their two promotional records, Corona went back to doing what they did best - manufacturing soft drinks - while Windmill pretty much disappeared! Strange business, budget cover versions.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

UK one-offs part 11: Everyone Who Had a Hit

This historical item was one of Britain's first cover version long players, appearing in late summer 1964 (the last of the featured hits to make a splash was "Do-Wah-Diddy-Diddy", which entered the UK charts in July, on its way to number 1). So it's not the very first - a couple of "Top Twelve" albums beat is to that accolade - but still a nice early example of the format. To our knowledge it was never followed up, making it the latest in our series of featured one-offs.

World Record Club are a slightly unusual name to see in the cover version arena, generally confining their interest to name artists of the day, as well as classical recordings. And while the title of the album is a play on "Anyone Who Had A Heart", the joke doesn't quite work, as it contains nobody who had a hit (at least, not a big one), but instead a bunch of soundalike singers and musicians.

They aren't entirely anonymous - some of the names are written across the back: Ray Ellington, Janie Marden, Sandra Gale, Angela Page, The Young Ones ... and some of these - particularly Ray Ellington - were known radio and recording stars of their day.

Nice to see the cover version idea taking shape, and great to see some Motown, Burt Bacharach and Beatles hits included.

Monday, August 29, 2016

UK one-offs part 10: Pop Concert

This LP appeared on the little-noted Tempo label in 1979, but the clues to its true origins are there - I need not point out to collectors of Chevron's "Parade of Pops" series the act name, The Sound Sensations, nor the credits for Multiple Sound Distributors. For what we have here is, essentially, a "Parade of Pops" compilation (almost - see below) and, to cap it all, it was pressed on groovy green vinyl:

Pretty cool, eh? So the dozen selections can all be heard on "Parade of Pops", on various volumes ranging from CHVP 3 to CHVP 12. (And, since there was track sharing going on, five also turn up on various "Top of the Pops" LPs too.)

Here's the track listing:
  • Bang Bang 
  • Sunday Girl 
  • Mr. Blue Sky
  • Lay Your Love On Me 
  • Sweet Little Rock 'N' Roller  
  • Night Fever 
  • Ring My Bell 
  • Banana Splits 
  • Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick 
  • Gotta Go Home   
  • You're The One That I Want
  • Painter Man

So, what's the odd one out which I mentioned? Well, it's the most ambitious of the lot. "Mr. Blue Sky" never appeared on "Parade of Pops". However Chevron nailed a copy for the album below - an ELO tribute album also from 1979.

Why "Pop Concert" was pressed on the Tempo label rather than Chevron, is unclear, but with the green vinyl to mark it out from the crowd, this is one "one-off" well worth hunting down.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

UK one-offs part 9: Sparkling Sounds

When Bill Wellings moved on from mfp in 1973, the label - which had pioneered the cover version format in 1967 - found itself without a product to fill the discount LP racks. "Hot Hits" folded, and mfp either lost interest or couldn't get their act together until the end of 1974, when they set upon a short-lived set of "Chart Choice" albums which never really caught on.

In the gap between "Hot Hits" and "Chart Choice", we were treated to occasional albums like Non Stop Pepsi Party, and this one - another drink promo with a slew of covers recordings:

Just the way you want to hear them, it says. The song selections are reasonable - mostly early-70s pop songs, originally from the likes of Gilbert O'Sullivan, Abba, Neil Sedaka and so on, plus "Hey Jude" - thrown in for Beatle fans out there.

It's not yet clear if this promotional LP was on general sale. It's unlikely that today, a product could be casually sold to kids with a blatant advert for alcohol on it (albeit looking rather like Bambi in a bow). (Bet you didn't know Babycham was also the first alcoholic drink to be advertised on British telly? No, I thought not.)

So was it a mail-order thing? Answers on a postcard please. (Or just leave a comment!)