Saturday, January 26, 2013

Amazing hoard of Flair label EPs discovered

Last week, an advert appeared on Ebay from a seller who reported finding a huge consignment of cover version EPs on the Flair label, in a loft. In all, there was reckoned to be more than a thousand records in boxes and packages, stashed away unopened since the 1960s. The whole lot consisted of multiple copies of the first five Flair EPs, no doubt originally intended for delivery to record shops. This is a photo of what he unearthed:

In a million-to-one chance, Declan, a regular contributor to this blog (as well as a keen cover version collector) happened to be visiting the owner's home town in the next day or two - and arranged to drop by and pick up a set of one of each record for himself, and also a set for me! So incredibly, I am now the very happy owner of five unplayed Flair label EPs, in pristine condition. Here are the cover scans:

The seller has since decided to assemble more batches of EPs, with one mint copy of each disc - so if you want a set yourself, get over to Ebay now! They are currently listed at the very reasonable price of £9.99 per set, although there is no way of knowing how long they will be available. (Type in the search words rare, set, Flair and they will appear near the top of the page.)

Both Declan and myself have been curious to identify the original recordings on these discs, but between us we have drawn a blank. Normally cover version EPs contain recordings which are more commonly heard elsewhere, on one or more of the LP series which were in production. However these don't seem to match any albums, meaning they were recorded just for the EP series itself.

Here are a couple of sample tracks, in case anyone reading this recognises them from elsewhere:

FLAIR Lazy Sunday.mp3

FLAIR I Say A Little Prayer.mp3

It is interesting to read that on EP number 5 (in the red sleeve), Norman Smith is named as musical director. Assuming it is the same Norman Smith, he was also the engineer on all the Beatles' albums up to and including "Rubber Soul", nicknamed "Normal" Smith by Lennon. He went on to record a few hits of his own, under the name Hurricane Smith, and several covers LPs include versions of his singles, "Don't Let It Die" and "Oh Babe What Would You Say".

Now comes the tricky task of completing the collection with a copy of EP number 6...

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