Saturday, July 30, 2016

Super Hits - Pop Express Band rarity

There's rare, and there's rare, and then there's the LP below. It's called "Super Hits" and was released on the Turnover record label, probably at the start of 1972...

What do we know about this record? There are several things to note - not least the appearance of the record label. Look vaguely familiar? It does if you view it next to one of the Deacon labels of the era:

Note the similarities of text placement, and of course, the typeface used on the label name. A straight connection then? Probably not. We think the coincidence is just that, and the similarity is a red herring. In terms of pinning down the background story, we turn instead to the Flag/Boulevard label, and their "World Top 12" series.

The tracks on the LP are all from the pop charts in the latter part of 1971, as follows:

  1. Coz I Luv You
  2. Till
  3. Banks Of The Ohio
  4. Gypsies Tramps And Thieves
  5. Jeepster
  6. Tokoloshe Man
  7. Is This The Way To Amarillo
  8. Mammy Blue
  9. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
  10. Brandy
  11. Simple Game
  12. Maggie May

When we listen to them, we find that they match the Flag releases in all cases where we are able to do a comparison. To recap - Flag not only issued the regular "World Top 12" but also end-of-year round-ups and a nice run of six-track EPs, numbered in sequence.

What we now know is that four tracks are from "World Top 12" volume 36 (tracks 3, 5, 6, 7); two are from the end-of-year "1971 Top 12" (tracks 1 and 12); and four more are from the EP number 21 (tracks 8, 9, 10, 11):


The inclusion of tracks from the EP is especially curious. Nearly all the Flag EPs use tracks from Flag's main LP series - except this EP number 21, which has non-LP tracks. It's odd that this very EP should be purloined to make up a third of the "Super Hits" album.

Then there are the other two tracks, "Till" and "Gypsies Tramps and Thieves", which so far as we know, don't turn up in the Flag discography at all. This though could just be the result of incomplete data - we don't have a track listing for EPs 20 or 22 in the set, so it's possible the recordings did appear on one of those. Time will tell.

Getting back to the album itself, we are able to link it in to one known album series through the use of the "Super Hits" title, plus the name, Pop Express Band. These, we've seen before:

The album above appeared on the Polymax label in 1971, and contains older recordings leased from Avenue. Polymax issued a run of five such albums in 1971, all with older material, and forming a set which sits nicely with the usual cover version series. (See here for a listing.)

There's every reason to assume that the name "Super Hits" and the Pop Express Band identity on this Turnover album provides a direct connection with the then recent Polymax set - and so we can link the two labels and view this "Super Hits" album as installment number 6.

There must be a back story here, though we don't know the full details. Suffice to say all of the Polymax/Turnover albums are hard to find, so adding this one to our collection was a real bonus.

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