I picked up this book in Oxfam yesterday. It’s a gloriously entertaining compendium of record covers from the 50s, 60s and 70s – mainly the sort of budget label fare you see in jumble sales and the less discerning charity shop. It’s a riot of colour, and kitsch as hell. But unlike those “worst album covers ever” books, it doesn’t judge. These records were what they were, and the covers reflected that. Some of the records by the likes of Martin Denny, Esquivel and Jean-Jacques Perrey are hip as hell, and probably worth a mint these days. Other acts like Chet Baker and the Shangri-las have never been considered anything other than great, as far as I’m aware. A lot of this stuff, though, is totally of its time, and some seriously rubbish, even taking changing fashions into consideration. Some are rather good, though!
There have always been folk in other professions who secretly desired to be in showbiz. My brother, a postie, is a massive fan of Allan Smethurst, the Singing Postman.
My parents couldn’t understand why we wanted to buy singles when you could have a dozen hits on one of these fine albums. Like, duh! We had loads of them, but they all disappeared off to jumble sales over the years. Legendary these days, of course!
This has to be the campest cover in the book!
Album Covers From The Vinyl Junkyard is out of print, but there are definitely copies on Amazon. It was published in 1997 by Booth-Clibborn Editions. ISBN 1861540752.