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Home Sweden-Home-Decca-1959Home Sweden Home, featuring Egon Kjerrman Orchestra and soloists.
This charity shop find struck me a quite ‘seasonal’ cover (it even has a track on it called Black Rudolf!). Issued in America in 1959 on London Records, I have seen two editions of this album, which seems to have been released in conjunction with SAS Airlines, whose logo and advert appear on the back. The album was first issued in a sleeve featuring an SAS stewardess in 1958 (see below), then reissued in this more homely cover.
Clearly aimed at lonely Swedish ex-pats, or travellers to the country, the sleeve here features a very typically made up fifties woman in a Swedish traditional outfit. The painted wooden horse is also a traditional folk tradition, from the Dalarna region of the country. Despite the date, my copy has a decimal import tax sticker on the back and is a deleted cut-out, perhaps indicating a poor seller which was then off-loaded at ex-warehouse stock.

Home Sweden Home 1958 London Records

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Trevor Kelly IS Elvis

Trevor-Kelly, Belfast
With the opening of the Elvis Presley exhibition at the O2 Arena, I figured here’s one album which might have escaped the curator’s attention!  It’s another privately pressed album, this time by Trevor Kelly, “architect and entertainer”.  Resident compare at the Belfast Abercorn Club, he did an Elvis turn which according to the sleeve note had “all age groups drooling over him”…  This album was made to sell at the club, so that “all you ladies have a chance to take him home!”  The notes were penned by none other than Gloria Hunniford, who first saw Trevor “wooing hundreds of women in Belfast.”
The album was actually recorded in Manchester, and released in 1979 on MPA Records (MP071). Trev doesn’t actually look much like Elvis facially (or tonsorially) – more like Russ Abbott in fact – but clearly has gone to a lot of trouble with the jump suit and the cover photograph, which (while uncredited) is a lot more professional than many of the genre. Starburst filters rule!
There is a new fourth page of private pressing sleeves on the site, covers which seem to attract a sort of strange fascination amongst many record collectors.

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metal threesome

Gillan, Rainbow, Whitesnake Metal ExplosionA contrasting trio of covers for heavy metal collections circa 1980, from the sublime to the ridiculous perhaps!  It’s a music genre that threw up many real horrors cover wise but occasionally they aspired to something greater as one of the three demonstrates.

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Fancy knit-wear


The Clancy Brothers were a four piece Irish folk group who mostly found fame in America, where they were known for their trademark off-white Aran jumpers which one of their mothers had knitted back home in Ireland one winter and posted out during a cold spell. On this groovy 1968 sleeve someone had the idea of posing four girls in the same Aran knit-wear the blokes wore, a play on the album title (which itself was a nod at their 1962 album The Boys Won’t Leave The Girls Alone.) The resulting image is very like knitting pattern covers of the time.
The photograph was taken by Stanley Matchett, a Belfast photographer.  It was just a credit on a sleeve to me, but Stanley is a very respected news photographers who has won a number of awards, culminating in the MBE a few years ago (and a retrospective just last year). Locally he is remembered for his coverage of the Beatles shows in Belfast in 1963. I have dropped him an email to see if he recalls the session.  The cover also uses one of my favourite decorated Futura stencil fonts, very redolent of the time.
It turned up in two second hand shops I visited recently, the copy I bought seems to have had an international history.  The album itself is an Australian pressing on EMI Parlophone, the sleeve is printed in England, and the album was originally issued in Northern Ireland by Emerald Records, but distributed by Decca in London.
Emerald was one of the first labels to cater for the Irish showbands, very popular over there. Founded by a guy called Mervyn Soloman in 1964, they had offices in Dublin and Belfast. The label is still going but has moved into traditional music and reissues of their back-catalogue under the name of Emerald Music.

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W H Curtis delivery van

W H Curtis SheffieldWe have covered the Sheffield record retailer W H Curtis on the site in the past.  I was impressed to hear about a surviving van from the shop recently.  It seems as if the shop purchased a Mini van for deliveries around 1971, and had it decorated in a fetching two tone grey and red.  It was signpainted with the store name and other details. About a year on, their delivery driver crashed it.  The damaged vehicle was purchased by another shop-keeper, who had it repaired and repainted green to use for his chemist shop in Sheffield. But for some reason it never actually got used on the road, and sat in a garage for 42 years. Recently the vehicle was purchased by Tom Sanderson, who has put it through a total overhaul.  So, how do we know it once delivered for Curtis?  Because the original doors were quite badly damaged, and had to be replaced, but the owner kept the originals as spares.  So they have survived to show the original paint scheme. Tom sent me pics of the doors in place, before they were replaced by the restored ones.  It would of course be amazing to see it done up in the original W H Curtis paint scheme.  I wonder if any workers for the firm have snaps of themselves with the van?  Do get in touch if so.  My thanks to Tom for the story and pics. Curtis are also covered in our extensive A-Z of Sheffield record shops past and present.

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Ann Pickford, fifties cover girl.

ann pickford paul huf philipsThe world’s first LP cover super model?  Ann Pickford appeared on over fifty albums sleeves in the mid-fifties, stunningly photographed by Paul Huf for the Dutch Philips label.  The story of her sleeve career and nine examples are shown in this gallery. More will follow.

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12″ gallery

12" sleeve gallery 1It’s about time I made some inroads into the piles of interesting 12″ sleeve covers I’ve been finding.  It’s almost as if this format is one of the last outposts for interesting vinyl design (I mean have you seen Robert Plant’s new album? What a waste of a gatefold.)  So here’s half a dozen to be starting with, more to follow. This batch date mostly from the last 15 years or so.

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wild-oates-boxAcid landscapes, back to front juke-boxes, tartan camouflage trousers suits and the fez. Yes, time for some more of those strange private pressings which seem to attract a lot of interest from vinyl fans! Gallery 3 is now up, with gallery 1 and 2 for newcomers who might yet to sample the delights of this sub-genre of vinyl collecting.  And there is word that BBC Radio are preparing a modest documentary on the scene, so if you were in a band who issued one of these records do get in touch.

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Kitsuné covers

Kitsune Maison 12" sleeve France

A label which has done over 100 12″ covers all based on a developing cover theme? Based in France, Kistuné has been issuing these designs since 2004, each one reworking or developing the basic idea of a montage of sketched faces.  They’ve been fascinating me for some time, but it’s taken ages to get a handle on what’s been going on.  So, no posts for weeks, then 40 new cover images to look at all at once… There are three linked galleries, the first looking at the overall idea and who is responsible, then two pages of front and back cover images. Kistuné Maison.

Kitsune Maison sleeve montage

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girls, guitars and ganzies

A mid-sixties German sleeve which turns out to have an interesting back-story, being an early example of designer Peter Wandrey‘s work. He also took the fabulous cover photograph…

Peter Wandrey Sweet Beat Star Club records

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