Wednesday, August 31, 2016

UK one-offs part 12: 12 Great Hits For All The Family

Not just a one-off, but two one-offs. So, that's a two-off I suppose.

This pair of LPs appeared in 1974/75 and is another example of drinks companies tapping into the vinyl market for some product promotion. In this case the bubbly is made by Corona, who not content with just releasing a couple of records, have even created their own label.

Mines's a double. Here they are.

Two LPs fizzing with pop. In each case, Corona have attempted to convince the listener that side 1 is somehow different from side 2, with comments like, "Featured on Side One is a selection of the most popular songs ever recorded. With Side Two ... six more dynamic chartbusters plus the added fun of Corona's latest batch of crazy radio commercials between tracks."

Er... run that by me again?

"Corona's latest batch of crazy radio commercials between tracks."

It's true! At least, it's true of LP1 side 2, and quite amusing they are too, at least to start with. (remind you of anything?)

Now, the question always arises with these promo albums - where did they get the recordings? In this instance, we know - they are almost all taken from the Windmill label's "Parade of Pops" albums. LP1 has tracks from various volumes up to and including volume 17...

above, volume 12: "Solitaire"; "Tiger Feet" - and volume 17: "Love Me For A Reason"

Meanwhile, LP2 has tracks from volume 17 again, up to and including volume 23 (from which, no fewer than four songs are taken) ...

above, volume 20: "Goodbye My Love"; "Please Mr Postman" - and volume 21: "Let Me Be The One"; "Bye Bye Baby"

There are three songs which don't show up in the "Parade of Pops" series, these being "Do You Know The Way To San Jose", "Something Stupid" and "Home Lovin' Man". We don't know where they came from, but the betting is, some other Windmill LPs. Let us know, if you know.

Apparently, after releasing their two promotional records, Corona went back to doing what they did best - manufacturing soft drinks - while Windmill pretty much disappeared! Strange business, budget cover versions.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

UK one-offs part 11: Everyone Who Had a Hit

This historical item was one of Britain's first cover version long players, appearing in late summer 1964 (the last of the featured hits to make a splash was "Do-Wah-Diddy-Diddy", which entered the UK charts in July, on its way to number 1). So it's not the very first - a couple of "Top Twelve" albums beat is to that accolade - but still a nice early example of the format. To our knowledge it was never followed up, making it the latest in our series of featured one-offs.

World Record Club are a slightly unusual name to see in the cover version arena, generally confining their interest to name artists of the day, as well as classical recordings. And while the title of the album is a play on "Anyone Who Had A Heart", the joke doesn't quite work, as it contains nobody who had a hit (at least, not a big one), but instead a bunch of soundalike singers and musicians.

They aren't entirely anonymous - some of the names are written across the back: Ray Ellington, Janie Marden, Sandra Gale, Angela Page, The Young Ones ... and some of these - particularly Ray Ellington - were known radio and recording stars of their day.

Nice to see the cover version idea taking shape, and great to see some Motown, Burt Bacharach and Beatles hits included.

Monday, August 29, 2016

UK one-offs part 10: Pop Concert

This LP appeared on the little-noted Tempo label in 1979, but the clues to its true origins are there - I need not point out to collectors of Chevron's "Parade of Pops" series the act name, The Sound Sensations, nor the credits for Multiple Sound Distributors. For what we have here is, essentially, a "Parade of Pops" compilation (almost - see below) and, to cap it all, it was pressed on groovy green vinyl:

Pretty cool, eh? So the dozen selections can all be heard on "Parade of Pops", on various volumes ranging from CHVP 3 to CHVP 12. (And, since there was track sharing going on, five also turn up on various "Top of the Pops" LPs too.)

Here's the track listing:
  • Bang Bang 
  • Sunday Girl 
  • Mr. Blue Sky
  • Lay Your Love On Me 
  • Sweet Little Rock 'N' Roller  
  • Night Fever 
  • Ring My Bell 
  • Banana Splits 
  • Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick 
  • Gotta Go Home   
  • You're The One That I Want
  • Painter Man

So, what's the odd one out which I mentioned? Well, it's the most ambitious of the lot. "Mr. Blue Sky" never appeared on "Parade of Pops". However Chevron nailed a copy for the album below - an ELO tribute album also from 1979.

Why "Pop Concert" was pressed on the Tempo label rather than Chevron, is unclear, but with the green vinyl to mark it out from the crowd, this is one "one-off" well worth hunting down.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

UK one-offs part 9: Sparkling Sounds

When Bill Wellings moved on from mfp in 1973, the label - which had pioneered the cover version format in 1967 - found itself without a product to fill the discount LP racks. "Hot Hits" folded, and mfp either lost interest or couldn't get their act together until the end of 1974, when they set upon a short-lived set of "Chart Choice" albums which never really caught on.

In the gap between "Hot Hits" and "Chart Choice", we were treated to occasional albums like Non Stop Pepsi Party, and this one - another drink promo with a slew of covers recordings:

Just the way you want to hear them, it says. The song selections are reasonable - mostly early-70s pop songs, originally from the likes of Gilbert O'Sullivan, Abba, Neil Sedaka and so on, plus "Hey Jude" - thrown in for Beatle fans out there.

It's not yet clear if this promotional LP was on general sale. It's unlikely that today, a product could be casually sold to kids with a blatant advert for alcohol on it (albeit looking rather like Bambi in a bow). (Bet you didn't know Babysham was also the first alcoholic drink to be advertised on British telly? No, I thought not.)

So was it a mail-order thing? Answers on a postcard please. (Or just leave a comment!)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Another coloured vinyl from "12 Tops"

A break from out ongoing series of one-off releases. (Yesterday was the blog's fourth birthday, by the way - yay!)

This post comes courtesy of Holger Schoeler. A couple of weeks ago we reported on the discovery that many of the "12 Tops" albums were pressed on Pye's little-known coloured vinyl formulation. The earliest we had proof of was volume 3 - but Holger has turned up a copy of volume 1 on what he describes as 'violet'.

Here are the images, and we must say he's done a better job than we did with the photography! Volume 1 duly added to the list. Let us know if you have any more...

Here's the updated list of confirmed coloured editions:
  • Volume 1
  • Volume 3
  • Volume 4
  • Volume 5
  • Volume 6
  • Volume 7
  • Volume 10
  • Volume 15
  • Volume 17
  • Volume 19
  • Volume 21
  • Volume 22
  • Volume 25
  • Volume 27

Thursday, August 25, 2016

UK one-offs part 8: Chart Toppers

Another odd one...

Although it's called Vol. 2, I have never seen another in this series, so am treating this as a one-off. The label is Coronet, but that's about as much as we learn from the packaging.

Not having an 8-track player, I've never heard the recordings. My efforts to identify them turned up just one clue, and it may well be right - all tracks on the cartridge may also be heard on the album below (itself something of a one-off), so there's a good possibility they are from the same source:

The LP is part of the Windmill label's output - they of "Parade of Pops" fame. It is in fact a charity fund-raiser, with Miss World, Belinda Green, on the front. The recordings never surfaced on the regular "Parade of Pops", adding to the idea that these were sourced from elsewhere as some kind of special project. It's a fair guess that Coronet made up their 8-track from these same tapes, although who got their hands on them first is anyone's guess.

Who though are Coronet, and did they release anything else?? Leave us a message if you know more.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

UK one-offs part 7: Request Time

Odd little album this. Never having heard it, we're only assuming it has some soundalike cover versions on it, so bear with us if this turns out to be a boo-boo.

It certainly looks like it should have some soundalikes on it! Just look at the track listing - 70s pop hits all, while on the cover we have one Beverley Pilkington, stalwart of budget albums from "Top of the Pops" to "Parade of Pops".

So what do we know about the "Request Time" LP? Well, the label is Tag - or to be more precise, T.A.G. - or to be even more precise, the Ten Album Group of Warrington. Odd name, that - the Ten Album Group, and this LP is sub-titled, "The best of our albums in one".

With the catalogue number, TAG 10, there is reason to believe that the Ten Album Group was formed in order to release just a decuplet (look that up, folks) of albums, this being the conclusion to the set. And in fact, it is a compilation from some or all of the other nine. Here are a few of them...

We'd very much like to hear more about this album - whether it's a bona-fide covers LP, a red herring, or part both. In any case, part of a curious project to release ten - and only ten - LPs, each with a little picture of itself in the top corner!

Monday, August 22, 2016

UK one-offs part 6: Soaraway Party Pops

Another "Top of the Pops" cousin we've known about for a while, but which deserves a fresh look. This one is quite unlike the other "Top of the Pops" spin-offs, and came out on the n.o.w. label in 1973.

Most peculiar. The album is, of course, a promotional item for the Sun newspaper. Down in the groove we find 14 standard songs from the Poppers, and - surprisingly - another seven which consist of the Poppers' backing tracks, but without vocals. Indeed they have been overdubbed with instrumentation!

Added to this are a further three titles from the Hallmark LP Happy Hammond Goes Pop, these being "For Once In My Life", "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "My Sweet Lord".

The source of the tracks is not mentioned on the record, but a few clues are there: the label credits "Special Products Division of Pickwick International", while the back cover carries a mock-up newspaper with the headline "Always Top of the Pops!" (hint, hint!) and the line "Britain's Brightest Daily Paper" is in tell-tale Cooper font, just like the regular Top of the Pops logo!

(Incidentally, this album is catalogue-numbered SUN 2. For the record, SUN 1 was an album of 14 original hits, put out in 1971. The tracks were selected from just four artists: The Move, Joe Cocker, T Rex and Procul Harum.)

Anyhoo - here's a track-by-track breakdown:

Side 1 
  • Band Of Gold (From volume 12)
  • Rose Garden - instrumental overdubs
  • Coz I Luv You (From volume 21)
  • For Once In My Life (from Happy Hammond Goes Pop)
  • Yester-Me Yester-You Yester-Day (From volume 8)
  • Beg Steal Or Borrow - instrumental overdubs
  • Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep (From volume 18)
  • The Good The Bad & The Ugly (From volume 3)
  • The Pushbike Song (From volume 15)
  • Rocket Man - instrumental overdubs
  • Floy Joy (From volume 23)
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water (from Happy Hammond Goes Pop)
Side 2
  • Get It On (From volume 18)
  • Don't Let It Die - instrumental overdubs
  • Yellow River (From volume 11)
  • She's A Lady - instrumental overdubs
  • Honky Tonk Women (From volume 6)
  • Poppa Joe - instrumental overdubs
  • Sugar Sugar (From volume 9)
  • Lady Eleanor - instrumental overdubs
  • I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing (From volume 22)
  • My Sweet Lord (from Happy Hammond Goes Pop)
  • Melting Pot (From volume 9)
  • My Ding-A-Ling (From volume 28)

Anyone got a copy of the paper this was sold through? We'd love to see what the ad says!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

UK one-offs part 5: Untitled, from Uni-Zel

We've known about this album for a while now, and had it noted on our Top of the Pops website. However, while we're running through our series of selected "one-offs", it seemed like a good idea to give it another outing, and highlight the perplexing nature of the record.

Completely, totally anonymous. No title, no act - just a producer credit for M. Zackariya. 

Who is he? 

Well, he appears to me the main mover behind the Zel label, which would morph into the Evolution label in the late-1960s. Zel in fact released three anonymous cover version EPs, and it will be noted that on this album, we have an imprint called Uni-Zel - so surely a direct link to those EPs is established. (ZEL, by the way = Zackariya Enterprises, London.)

Now to the nitty gritty - the producer credit conflicts with what we think we already know, since no fewer than 9 of these dozen tracks are the self-same recordings as featured on the very first volume of "Top of the Pops" - which, as everyone knows, was produced by Allan Crawford. (Interestingly, this album is in fully fledged stereo, whereas "Top of the Pops" only ever presented the tracks in mono.)

Now back to Zel: the three non-TOTP tracks, "Bend Me Shape Me", "Don't Stop The Carnival" and "She Wears My Ring" also show up on one of Zel's EPs:

This, and the other two in this short series, are all credited to producer, M. Zackariya - so the credits are legit - it's just a question of whether he really did produce all 12 tracks on the album, or just these three. If the former, we need to re-write the story of "Top of the Pops" volume 1!

Just to further stir things up, the three tracks on the "Top of the Pops" album which are not on the Uni-Zel album - "I Can't Let Maggie Go", "La La La" and "Something Here In My Heart", all appear on the next Zel EP (ultra-rare - we've never heard the recordings, so don't know if they are the same ones):

And there are more shared song titles in evidence too. So what's going on? Who produced what, and who's borrowing from whom? As per "Top of the Pops" volume 27, "There are More Questions Than Answers".