Wednesday, February 2, 2011

When I was a lad...........

In the years before 1980 and my "mod epiphany" I was a huge fan of the British Invasion/60's music from 1975 on. A few nights back in conversation (and well into a full bottle of Mouton Cadet) with a British friend of mine a good ten years my senior we began talking about all the cheezy/ cheap LP's of our younger years (he mentioned Pickwick and MFP in the U.K.).  Growing up in a dinky little town nearly all of my records came from department stores that had stuff of similar "cheese", though not always.  The first 45 I ever bought with my own money was The Beatle's "Got to Get You Into My Life" from Two Guys in 1976, the first LP I ever bought with my own money was the octagonal shaped Rolling Stones album "Through the Past Darkly: Big Hits Volume Two" in about 1977 at a JC Penny's store, but usually for nearly all of my records I was reliant on gifts from my family (though my aunt supplied me with loads of her "old" Hermans Hermits, Animals and Billy J Kramer 45's and a Hermits LP and a school friend gave me his dad's Donovan, Byrds, Searchers, Gerry & The Pacemakers and Animals 45's and a Searchers LP).  For my family and the effort's to address my gift requests there was one place they shopped. There was a store called Jamesway, which back in the day was like Target.  They had a record department and they had the weirdest stuff there, lots of U.K. compilation albums and "Best Of.." stuff which immediately caught my eye.  I'd bring a pad shoved in my back pocket and a pen and carefully copy down the LP's title for a "wish list".  For some reason there were lots of import albums there.  I used to make my Xmas gift requests accordingly and my parents and aunt did their shopping there and I wound up with these LP's for Xmas or my B-Day from about 1976 on. Sadly I cannot locate any pics online of The Searchers "Golden Hour Of.." LP or The Dave Clark Five's "Best Of.." on EMI's Starline which would've joined this bunch:

A double Hermans Hermits "Best of.." LP on swindler Allen Klein's ABKCO label.

Sadly this was "Live" not much help for my quest for "On A Carousel" or "Carrie Anne".  I didn't ask for this but my parents got it for me on a hunch, they redeemed themselves with another "hunch" concerning 4 guys from Muswell Hill (see further below).

A Donovan "Best Of.." containing his "folky" stuff.



The back cover of the same Dono LP, I swore he was puffing a "j" in the left pic and I still do!  I always thought the pic of him on the right in the roll neck and shades looked cool as *uck to my 11 or 12 year old mind.



A wiggy U.K. Stones Decca comp of lots of 60's stuff, most of which I'd never heard and heavy on Chuck Berry material.  After my "conversion" I referred to this as The Stone's "Rocker album".



A Yardbirds "Greatest Hits" comp. on Epic, truth be told I never had the LP: my sister bought it for me on 8 track for Xmas and it repeated one track twice for filler and had a sleeve that was a collage of 60's "current events" listed with song titles in between.


A various artists "Mersey" compilation album with Manchester's Hollies and a few Liverpool acts.  It introduced me to The Big Three AND The Swinging Blue Jeans.  Strangely I did not like either until MANY years later........

Another folk era Donovan LP on Hickory with post folkie photo and trippy artwork. There were at least two or three others in the store but this looked coolest after I got the "Best Of.." one.....

I never asked for this one and I'd no idea who The Kinks were but since they were British AND from the 60's my mom and dad took a gamble on it, and of course I was blown away.  Weird anecdote:it was all hits save "Wait Till Summer Comes Along"!

I never got this one, though I REALLY wanted it.  I begged and pleaded for it but the response was "Your sister got you a Yardbirds tape last year and this probably has all of the same song".  My reply (bad move) "Yeah but it's got other songs too".  I bought it in the early 90's just because I couldn't get in as a kid and used the pic of Clapton on the cover in my zine in and then sold it......



When you're 11 and ask for a Byrds LP make sure it's not one of half baked early sh*t......



Craftily Arista launched this LP in 1976 or so as the TV show was running every day after school in 1975 (which in turn led me to discover four guys from Liverpool lurking in my mom's stuff in the attic) and no doubt there were loads of kids like me seeking out The Monkees.  I know two other 9 or 10 year olds who got it for Xmas like me, were you one as well? It contained all their hits and because someone at Arista had a sense of humor "Listen To the Band", which me and all of my friends detested then.



6 comments:

tele66_2000 said...

Those Pickwick cheapo records made up a good part of my Kinks collection back in HS (the rest were all Arista era records); I hade the one above along with another greatest hits comp, a version of "Kinda Kinks" with a cover photo circa VGPS era, and even "Muswell Hillbillies." Then I finally got "Kinks Kronikles" and a whole new world opened up. Another great cheap collection from the 70s was "Lola, Percy and the Apeman Come Face to Face with the Village Green Preservation Society" on Golden Hour. Its contents are perhaps obvious from the title.

wilthomer said...

Actually my first "cool" girlfriend turned me onto a few tracks I hadn't heard via "Lola, Percy and the Apeman Come Face to Face with the Village Green Preservation Society", a great place to start. I then snagged a bunch of cheap Spanish PRT pressings of their '65-'68 LP's, god save the bargain bin!

diskojoe said...

I remember a lot of those albums that you posted. The bargain bins that I remember were the ones for Ann & Hope (dept. store)& Strawberries (record store).

Besides the Kinks albums mentioned, I also remember seeing plenty of copies of Muswell Hillbillies & Soap Opera, as well as the Great Lost Kinks Album, in the bargain bins.

My introduction to the Yardbirds was that 2-LP comp from 1970 that had the similar artwork as the withdrawn Live Yardbirds that my brother-in-law had (& still has).

Monkey said...

Those MFP albums were a handy introduction to 60s stuff as nipper in England, early 80s. For about £1.79-£2.25 I bought a lot of my first few LPs - comps by The Animals, Manfreds and co plus some Marvin Gaye - albeit dodgy mid 70s live shows.

JZ said...

Amazing; I have everyone of these albums, including the Golden Hour of the Searchers (both volumes). In the Washington DC area, the place I got most of my LP's was Korvettes; sadly they went out of business in the late 1970's. It was the only place I could find this stuff (I got almost the whole Small Faces catalog there, or at least what was available at the time). After that, I frequented a couple of collectors shops, Hit & Run and Yesterday and Today. They are long gone now too...

wilthomer said...

Ahh Korvettes! We had a few of those around! R.I.P. Korvettes, Two Guys, Grants, Bradlees, Jamesway, Kresge's.....