During the sixties the vinyl album was often seen as a useful promotional format. Many people are familiar with the cheap and cheerful flexidiscs, but specially compiled albums were also popular, either as giveaways or available by collecting tokens off product wrappers.
CBS seem to have had a department to put these albums together for clients from their extensive repertoire, CBS Special Products. Sparkling Colour (WSR932) was assembled for Clairol hair-spray in 1970, although the product name only appears in very small print by the CBS logo. The swirling illustration (uncredited) is very late sixties. Probably supplied by the client, and might have come from an actual Clairol package, and it’s a shame they didn’t try using it across the whole of the front. Music wise it’s a largely straightforward pop collection from the era, with plugs for the albums on the back and some sleeve notes.
20 Top Hits From The Sixties (BHC001) is a similar collection, with a glossy laminated cover photo again probably supplied by the clients, in this case Vaseline Balanced Care hair products. Released in 1973, it actually looks more modern to me, and even has a touch of the Smash Hits about the typography and the way the photo is cropped.
The album has a bit of a twist in that the tracks are all cover versions ‘recorded in the style of the originals’. A look at the label reveals our old friends Alan Caddy and Avenue Records have put this together. Which given normal Avenue sleeves makes it all the more surprising that the cover is so good. It’s the only time I’ve seen Avenue recordings reused in this way, and one wonders how the people who sent off for the album felt when (if?) they found out.