Our third collection of private pressings cover more strange locations, and even stranger outfits!
Memory Lane – Souvenirs (SRT) • A classic example of the genre, with a basic vignetted photo (posing by a Wurlitzer) and a bit of typesetting (I assumed typesetting, but looking at it again some of those baselines look very dodgy!). They couldn’t even get the photo the right way round. This Jersey based group did revivals of 50s and 60s music on the circuit, “exciting local audiences with sounds they thought they had forgotten.” They were also winners of the Channel Islands Search For A Star competition in 1978. The back of the album has a longer list of credits than many chart bands felt the need to include (and I speak as someone who has read Whitesnake thank-yous).
There are short profiles of the four members on the back, but poor old drummer Eddie Paul had left the band after the album was made (1979). His replacement’s photo is unceremoniously stickered on top, and (on my copy) his biography has been scribbled out.
Moira Kerr – In Glen Nevis (Mayker Records) • Happily Moira doesn’t take the title seriously and is stood on the banks of the river instead. Not that it’s easy to spot her in the muted tartan trouser suit ensemble which blends into the autumnal surroundings (photo by Chris Worrall). Mayker Records? That’s from the surname of Moira herself and partner Fred Mayer; this was their second (undated, probably circa 1975) release.
Moira extolls the beauties of Scotland in the sleeve notes, “Fabulously fertile, a venerable vastness of luxuriant vegetation, breathtakingly beautiful, perfectly peaked and sinuously streaked…” and so on. Is Alex Salmond after a speech writer? Design and artwork are by Ultra Art Ltd.
Wild Oates (SRT) • What can you say? Fez-tastic. Another SRT special, recorded at Box Studios in Heckmondwike. We can only assume that Wild Oates were a music and comedy style act, judging by the Wilson Keppel and Betty pose on the cover, and the comedy songs interspersed with ‘serious’ cover versions. I’ve not dared to listen but one blogger reckons they make hard work of it. It’s difficult to find out much about them as bands of the same name worked Australia and America. This trio did the Northern Club circuit for a while and released the album in 1979 (which must have been a busy year for SRT). Sadly no sleeve notes to give anything away, and only one of the band has signed it. The other two must have been fighting off the groupies backstage.
The Bigwoods – Paradise Beach (Chance Records) • I figured this to be an American album because of the flat paper slick style sleeve, but Chance Records were out of Broadstone (in Kent) and also had offices in London, Paris, New York and Margate (only one of those last four is true).
The trio (named after Anne and Bobby Bigwood – brother and sister?) made their mark on the QE2, doing at least two winter seasons on board, and presumably selling this album to their captive audience, before they arrived in Barbados to stay at Cobblers Cove. The sleeve is also very American in design (albeit uncredited) and colourful too, thanks in part to Cordovox player Robb’s Paisley pattern shirt and the acid version of a tropical island behind them. The back has a large photo of the beach and an inset of the trio on stage. Anne, the one with the Bobby Gentry hair do, played the drums (a pair of tom toms). The album was pressed in the UK and issued in 1971.
White Rose – It’s A Long Time (Look Records) • Another from the Golcar based Look label, this time a quartet of wholesome looking, acoustic guitar playing, standards covering musicians who “would not claim to be the most startling event in music since Haydn’s 94th.” I suspected a religious based offering when I first saw it, but happily not so. We also learn from the sleeve that “…their musicianship faultless and their blend unique.”
The album was issued in 1976, and the great publicity photo on the front is by ‘Child Photography’ based in Wetherby. “It’s impossible to stand with White Rose after one of their concerts…”
Robin & Jimmie – Highlands & Lowlands (Nevis) • A proper indie label cover, with the overlarge Olde English typeface and slightly camp photograph (pipe, cravat, manbags and all – mind you that was what most blokes were wearing back then.) That’s a 1948 Triumph Roadster on the cover; it also gets a mention in the sleeve note, and quite rightly so. The photo was taken in 1971 by Ian Hamilton of Glasgow while the time-served pair were touring Scotland, and this album dates from shortly after. They first teamed up in the late 1950s and were still working together until quite recently (this album has been reissued on CD). As well as their small label releases, they also worked with Decca Records and Fontana in the early 70s. It was not unusual for some of the indie label bands to get a major deal for an album or two (or for that matter major label acts to step down to indie releases when their 15 minutes were up.) Very traditional Scottish fare musically too, hence finding a home on the Nevis label (based in the rather un-Scottish Tudor Close, London). With a “ho van gorry o go ” to everyone.