Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A pint, some peanuts, and a budget LP please, landlord

An odd one this - even by cover version standards. The LP below was bought from an Ebay dealer a few days ago, in the expectation that it would be compiled from one of the common LP series. The tracks fit the bill (well, most of them), and the record was a promo item for Charringtons, the brewery firm, suggesting that the recordings had been bought in rather than distilled in the company cellar. It's called, fittingly, "Tavern Top Pops":

So, this LP is a promotional release which appears to have no specific label - but like the Flair EPs which were the subject of my last post, my efforts to identify the recordings hit a brick wall. All of the tracks were hits at the end of 1971 and start of 1972, giving a rough date of Feb 1972, and I noted initially that nearly all of them appeared on Mike Morton's contemporary "Non-Stop Hits" LPs. Needle and vinyl disagreed however; these were different recordings, and indeed, I have yet to determine where they originate.

Could they have been recorded especially for this collection? It's unlikely but not impossible. One of them - the last on the album - is an obscure cut called "Warming Up The Band", which was originally recorded by Heads, Hands and Feet, but was never a UK hit. In case anyone reading this can help, here's a version of "American Pie" taken from the LP. Does anyone recognise it?

Tavern Top Pops American Pie.mp3

Charringtons were part of the Bass brand, with the red triangle logo, and seem to have been connected with a pub chain called Wheatley Taverns. Why they dabbled in the cover version LP is not obvious, but they claim in the sleevenotes that, "the object is to give customers of Wheatley Taverns and other Bass Charringtons outlets the opportunity to collect a set of high standard pop records at a reasonable price." (They'd obviously never heard of "Top of the Pops" then!)

Oddly, they also make mention of their "featured groups", suggesting one of the acts on the LP might become big deal. Erm, which groups would they be then? The LP is completely anonymous! Mind you, any sleevenotes which begin with the daft statement, "This record is the first of a series commencing with Volume One" can't be taken too seriously... and was there ever a Volume Two, I wonder?

So here it is - mystery upon mystery, but a nice addition to the collection. What more could you want? "Good beer, good food, dancing to top groups and DJs, star cabaret, go go and talent competitions", of course!


  1. I reckon a very young Rick Wakeman plays on it.

  2. Interesting. He'd have been in YES by now though - this LP came out in 1972. Is it possible he was still doing session work at that stage?