Starline was one of EMI’s budget labels in the early seventies and covered a wide range of material from their various labels (remember Pink Floyd’s Relics?). They did at least five albums in the Capitol’s Country Festival series starting in 1970 and ending in 1974. There was no attempt to match the albums; they all had a very different designs, most using used stock library photographs.
Volume 4 featured here shows a gingham clad girl armed with a revolver hung over her shoulder and a Winchester rifle. She also appears to have forgotten her corset. Great decorative typeface too… It’s one of those titles which turns up quite a lot in boxes of cheap vinyl but as this was in really good condition I decided the sleeve was worth having.
The first album in the series which I got some time ago is also relevant to this theme, with a body stocking clad woman rolling on a blanket with just a six shooter and cowboy hat for protection. It was also a gatefold, an unusual feature for a lower price break series, but it does make good use of the grainy muted colours of the image.
Sadly the other albums in the series are a let down visually, the last has a very dull montage of black and white pictures of the artists.
Going downmarket further is the Pop Country album, which dates from 1970. There were a number of “Happy Hammond” album issued by budget bigwig Pickwick’s Hallmark label, many of which went for the slightly risque type of glamour cover shot pioneered by their more famous Top Of The Pops cousins. Indeed this cover could easily have been a TOTPs design, the way the type is laid out and even the decorative border are very similar in style.
Once again our cover girl is well armed with a pair of six-shooters, and like her Capitol country cousins she has dressed for warmer weather – a scarf hides her modesty.
Musically where the Capitol album calls on some of the big names in Country (which even I recognise) to help sell the series, Happy Hammond had just the services of ex-RAF National Serviceman Gerry Butler to cover Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdink and other well known British exponents of Nashville.