Private Pressings • 2

Another batch of album sleeves from the strangely fascinating world of the private pressing.

Ricki Disoni SRT

Ricki Disoni – This Is (SRT) • A very typical private release, from the biggest supplier of such albums, SRT. They made the recording, at The Talk Of The Midlands club (which was in Mill Street, Derby, and opened in 1971), mastered the album and designed the cover (with a photograph by J. E. Davison), which shows Ricki sat by one of those very popular  in the sixties gates made out of old cart wheels (though here the wheel has rotted away).  No date given, but judging by the mauve suit and pink shirt, we’re looking at circa 1973 here. A New Faces winner, this was Ricki’s second such album, and we learn that “…his reputation is rapidly growing and was invited to a special concert at the Sydney Opera House.. Ricki’s capability of moving an audience has to be seen to be believed.” Indeed. His band here were the club’s house group, the Bob Taggart Orchestra and the sleeve notes were penned by the club’s owner Julian Beck. Ricki was also the club’s compare for a while and the album was sold at the club.

Johnny Golde Hillside Records

Johnny Golde – Johnny Golde (Hillside) • Another example from this local Ipswich label, pressed in 1976 (the label seems to have operated from 1973 to 1981).  What puzzles me is why Johnny’s organ is on it’s side, unless he included a Keith Emerson tribute as part of his act. “I am always being asked for something by Jim Reeves…” writes Johnny in his own sleeve notes, which explain that this is his first album and he’s already looking ahead to the next. The Golde surname provides the inspiration for the orangey yellow sleeve colour, with a special photo taken by Fisher’s Studio in Great Yarmouth.

Frieda Hall - The Phantom Finger of (Look Records)

Frieda Hall – The Phantom Finger of (Look Records) • Watch out for those phantom fingers!  Frieda was something of a child prodigy according to the sleeve notes on this album, recorded in Ossett Town Hall and issued in 1977 (the year The Sex Pistols signed their record deal with Virgin). Look Records operated out of Golcar in West Yorkshire. Great cover shot, even if Frieda does look a little too much like Edwina Currie for comfort on it!

Tony Goodacre - Grandma's Feather Bed (Outlet Records)

Tony Goodacre – Grandma’s Feather Bed (Outlet Records) • A busy Belfast label, but included for the rather weird sleeve photo showing Tony surrounded by children in the East Bedroom at Harewood House near Leeds (by kind permission of The Earl of Harewood), and snapped by MPH Studios in Harrogate. Clearly Tony is trying to get across a Jim Reeves look as befits his country music material (or maybe his Grandma was related to the Harewoods). He kicked off his career back in the 1950s and this album was issued in 1975.

Family Four Singers - Waltzing On The Waves

Family Four Singers – Waltzing On The Waves (E Mann) • This one is a great cover. On the front most of the septet demonstrate the problems of VPL in seventies fashion, as they gaze out to sea. They’re not going to jump, as the stern deck is below them. For the back cover they all turn round to grin at the photographer, Dan Fransén. The album was recorded as a souvenir for sale on board the Tor Ferry Line between the UK and Gothenburg. What’s more it’s a fab gatefold, with a misty photo of the ferries at sea across the middle. It was pressed by Polydor Sweden and released in 1976. There’s nothing about the band on the sleeve but they sign themselves The Swedish Group in the biro dedication inside. Elisabeth Melander (that’s her in the middle) was one of the singers and has a long career in Sweden, everything from Disney soundtrack in her early days to a recent soul funk group.

Phil Kelly - Sings (Nevis)

Phil Kelly – Sings (Nevis) • Another very active label on the indie club scene, with a great logo. The cover photo here is fantastic. At first I thought they’d cut out a photo of Phil and superimposed it on the Blackpool seafront buildings, but it’s just a wide aperture which has produced the strange foreshortening and makes him look like a giant. Again no date but from the cars parked up I’d say circa 1974. The gear is well over the top; spotted trousers, lumberjack shirt and necktie. Phil (on his second album release) covers standards with the “controlled power” of his tenor voice, though the sleeve note writer can only manage two lines on the back cover. Recorded in Camel Studios in Egypt. I lie, it was in Poynton, Cheshire.

As with all private pressings, all these albums are signed bar one – shame on you Ricki!  More private pressings on our first gallery. Third gallery now added.

5 Responses to Private Pressings • 2

  1. RandomRules says:

    Those are some great covers. Very entertaining read.

  2. Tony B says:

    I love the title ‘Phantom fingers of…’! Yes – that shirt and tie ensemble must be around 1972-74! I also remember Tor Line ferries (their smorgasbord was amazing).
    As someone who’s made an LP himself as a private pressing the above is very interesting. In those days the only way to record and put out your music (apart from being signed) was to go to a local studio record it and somehow have it pressed plus, as stated above, get a photographic studio to take the pictures for the cover as well. It was far easier for me to record in my digital studio, take the photos myself, assemble all and send to a media company for processing! I do however still believe analogue recording would be better but I would wager the above would be better/more disciplined musicians than me with limited studio time.
    As well as welcome nostalgia for me, there’s still an element of creativity in the covers above, with some scene setting (and) idea behind it rather than nowadays where CD covers feature a po-faced ‘artist’s’ face shot and that’s it. Plus the photos above are (to me even viewing on a PC) pretty good shots too. Thanks for these interesting covers and the stories behind them.

    • simon robinson says:

      Thanks Tony. Yes, technically most of the album covers are very good as they were taken by professionals. And I agree they have an individuality about them which is often missing these days on sleeves where marketing is everything.

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  4. I thought I recognised that name (Ricki Disoni) straight away!

    The site of The Talk Of The Midlands is one of the stops on my ‘A Night Out in Derby…In the Afternoon???’ led walk. Julian Beck later went on to manage, with his wife Suzanne, a pub on another Derby walk of mine, the ‘Streamline Moderne/Coffee Bar Modernist’ buildings walk, the curved-cornered Royal Telegraph, then known as Trinians and later Strutts before reverting to the name under which it opened in the 1930s.

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