Behind The Barn

Well, you don’t get an offer like that on the sleeve every day will you?

Geri O'Brien Out Behind The Barn

“Geri O’Brien is a 26 year old bundle of energy from Gaspe, Quebec who has been setting country music fans on their ear all around the country,” in case you were wondering. What’s more she actually accompanied her singing on the snare drum when she worked live with Dusty King’s Country Cats. Chris Meloche, who sent us this new Canadian thrift shop find, adds that sadly the LP “doesn’t appear to showcase her wonderful snare-drumming. That must have been a gimmick for her live shows. I can’t find a date for this album but, I’m guessing 1965 at the latest.”

The cover is just brill; an over-saturated colour crayon drawing of a barn, title lettering which is attempting to look hick but just misses the mark, and a blue field onto which the photograph of Ms. O’Brien is artfully placed. Looking at her hair do, the dress and shoes, I’d guess around 1963/4 for the photograph.

The Arc label was a Canadian budget operation which released all sorts of low-budget country albums, tribute records, comedy LPs and anything else which might turn a (Canadian) dollar, some on subsidiary labels. They are apparently notorious for issuing albums such as I Walk The Line, sung by Jonny Cass, probably figuring that after a couple of root beers their target buyer wouldn’t spot the difference. Yet while it is easy to jest, the label did also release a lot of local music which would otherwise have been ignored, so some of their output is attracting attention today in Canada. They also had local hit singles in the 60s too and discovered the singer Anne Murray.

Like a lot of budget labels, Arc didn’t bother to date their output in any way (never figuring that 45 years on someone would be wanting to blog one of their sleeves!). ARC 534 came out in 1962, this is ARC 632, so Chris’s guess cannot be far off.  The label opened up as early as 1958 in Toronto first as a distributor, then began issuing their own records a year later, and lasted through in one guise or another until 1986. And before we go, take a look at their logo, if someone doesn’t rip that off soon I’ll be surprised – a great graphic.

Arc Records Canada

Note: there was an ARC label in the UK, but I do not think they were connected. ARC UK was mail-order and seems to have licensed titles from Westminster in America.

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