Vinyl has always been more than just about the music for me. There’s nothing like digesting the sleeve notes whilst listening to the music, or opening up that massive Hawkwind gatefold or peering into the Hypgnosis sleeve art. Digital formats have never really achieved that added buzz. Digital, deletable, disposable?. C.d.'s have tried to get slightly more inventive with the packaging, but there’s nothing like holding 12” in your hands... phnarr.

However, most crate-diggers will find the visual aspect of collecting as stimulating as the audio aspect. The visual has lead to discovering some great new sounds - and, some howlers!  The sleeves range from the “eh?”, to, “by ‘eck!”, Over the next few pages are some fine examples that caught my eye. The sleeves usually fit into the categories of sex,FX,self-help/education, family, odd/kitsch or a combo’ of all.

The Bizarre Gallery pages feature some of the oddities in the collection and some submitted by fellow crate-diggers. The music may be crap or wanting, but they all deserve a little fame  - even if it’s for the wrong reason!

Geeks and nerds with an excitable disposition, look away now....

Clackers - Mike Terry

Joy - Joys 223 ----- 1972

For those of you who remember Clackers, you really didn’t need the date on this record.  They were much more fun than this Northern Club Honky Tonk pianist. Perhaps the record should have been banned like Clackers were? What’s not to like about the cover? 

Geoff Stephenson at the Organ of Kitchen Bros. Garage, Diss

3/19 Wurlitzer

Acorn CF 229

What? This has everything and more. A classic example of a great crap cover. Nice GT6 though!

Man In The 5th Dimension - Billy Graham - RCA CDS 1039 - 1969

In Praise of God$ - Look around the eyes...

Owd Grandad Piggott - Alan Povey

Midland Sound Recordings - MSRS 1420


Stories created and told in the Potteries dialect.

Roll Up The Carpet - Mike Terry

President - PTLS 1035 - 1969

Erm... roll it up and smoke it. Blackpool Toweresque Honky Tonkin’ delight from Leeds lad done good.

Style, Love and Music - Bielle Empire

Moda Bielle - GB001

Proof that the 80’s were really crap (unless you are 35 and on a nostalgia trip). The title couldn’t be more inappropriate. White Spandex, bleached highlights, gold trim, kiddies Timmy Mallet shades, permed hair, and as for the blurb on the back....

“In the year 2010 a group of travelers in Time and Space arrived in a quiet London suburb totally unobserved. They came, they saw and they wanted it! “What a strange place” the beings remarked. England 1987 was indeed a strange place...”

And so it goes on in wistful Empirical terms. As 2010 approaches should you see these be-shoulder-padded souls, please ask them to return to Time and Space, and, if they could take their records back with them that’d be a bonus.

‘Ow Do - Jack Howarth

Fontana - 6438040 - 1971

Superb jowly actor who played Albert Tatlock in Coronation Street reciting some superb Lancastrian monologues.

Congratulations, You’ve Got The Job! - Dolland And Aitchison - 1972 SLX 386

A great cover for this promo for this U.K. opticians. Imagine getting this in the post rather than the usual job acceptance. Brilliantly bizarre.

...or if you are impetuous and want to skip to another gallery of gems, click on a link below



The Best Of Top Of The Pops ’71

Hallmark SHM 775 - 1971

The Mutha of Crap Covers.

And the award goes to...

Getting in to Spinal Tap “Smell The Glove” territory here with man in Terry-Towel pants looking all too happy to be on a leash.

“Just over three short years ago we at Pickwick International decided what the fans wanted was a top quality, low priced album covering twelve of the best hits of the day. Only we wouldn’t be using the original artists or groups. We would gather together the cream of the session musicians and try to make even better versions of the current hit tunes than those recorded by the original artists.”

This also saves a packet - enough to splash out on   some top notch album ‘art’.

Top Award - 2011!

Taboo Vol. 2 - Arthur Lyman

Vocalion SAV 8003 - 1968

Standout horror from ’68. Pretty good record with some odd easy kitsch lounge vibe. Just hide the cover!

Dvorak - The Water Goblin

Supraphon - SUA ST 50455 - 1962

Jasper Carrot at his worst. Loving the knitted green gloves.

The Highway Code - The Master Singers

Parlophone GEP 8962 - 1966

King Singers style EP with a couple of tunes about the Highway Code and even more stimulating, the Weather Forecast!


Hallmark - SHM 768 - 1972

I realise that Godspell was a big hit, but why, oh why did budget Hallmark opt for the scary kiddy-fiddler look?

The Best Of Top Of The Pops 1974

Hallmark Records SHM 890

Normally, these T.O.T.P. records are adorned with some babe or other. However, here’s a great example of why you shouldn’t put make-up on in a dark room.

Bobby Bigwood - Mainly Country

Phase II Records - BAR 106 - 1980

I’d have pegged this LP at the early 70’s judging by Bobby’s hairdo. A thoroughly nice chap who entertained on many a cruise ship, later to entertain in the hotels of Bournemouth. The sleeve notes,”...produced with a country flavour, by popular request. Before you scoff - the chap had a Rolls and sage green Interceptor! Nice work...

J.J.Stewart - From Obscurity To Oblivion

Nevis NEV LP 137

Former New Faces winner, never has a title been so apt.

Al Hirt Play Bert Kaempfert

RCA SF 7943 - 1968

Whilst looking like a kindly gentleman, I think I’ll decline the offer of a sweetie - thank you.

Best Dreams - Burnley Building Society

Lyntome - LYN 6172

This little 7” disco gem is an odd promo from the northern Burnley Building Society. Quite why they thought a disco number would bring in extra savers is a mystery. However, I’d love to know how much Salman Rushdie - YES!!!! Salman Rushdie, got paid for these lyrics (see right picture to ensure I’m not pulling your leg).

Edmund Hockeridge Sings For You

Pye - NPL. 18072

An easy offering from 1962. However, we really love the audience which then sets off alarm bells with titles such as, “We Kiss In A Shadow”, “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face” and “A Fellow Needs A Girl” followed by “Who Cares?”... indeed.

Aerobic Dancing - Lionel Blair

Dureco Benelux 33.04

From 1983, Mr Blair is one of those bods that has looked the same age forever. However, what were they thinking putting him in a dodgy pair of white shorts?

Cornelis Sjunger Taube - Cornelis Vreeswijk

Metronome - MLP 15347

Not quite sure if I should have put this Swedish folk singer in the Sexy section?

Farewell... Blazing Brass - Melbourne Fire Brigade Band

W&G - WG/BS/5501

An odd choice of title and cover for a fire department band. Dramatic scene of the collapse of Buckinghams Department store, Sydney.


And the award for crap cover find of 2013 (so far) goes to...

Gems From Gilbert & Sullivan

Marble Arch - MAL 1184

Homoerotic piracy or a dodgy Dick Turpin.

“Oi! Mate, put a shirt on. You’ll catch your death”

We wonder why there are no art or design credits on the sleeve. Whomever it was, I’d like to thank that bod in person for delivering a sleeve that’s wrong on many levels! Hats off to you. Not sure if I should file under bootleg or pirate copies.

Georgia Keeps Pulling On My Ring - Conway Twitty

MCA-2328 - 1978

Conway gets in here for being Conway and,combined with a great title. Sounds painful.