Off the Beaten Tracks: The Joy of Samplers By Alan Ashworth June 29, 2020
FOR the hard-up music lover in the late Sixties and early Seventies, budget-priced sampler albums were heaven-sent. For just a few bob you could travel through a record label’s roster listening to the cream of its artists. The aim of course was to make you buy the full-price LPs at getting on for two quid from which the songs were taken. However this would often end in disappointment when you found you had the best track already.
Some samplers were actually classics in themselves, so it’s on with the crushed-velvet loon pants and RAF-surplus greatcoat for a deep wallow in nostalgia.
I’ll start with my favourite label of all time, Island. Its first sampler, in 1969, was You Can All Join In, named after the Traffic song. Retailing at a mere 14s 6d (73p), this was seriously good value. Even better, I was lucky enough to find a copy nestled in the second-hand racks at the Electron in Nelson for a mere 7s 6d (37p). I played it to death.
First of the 12 tracks is A Song for Jeffrey, an alternative mix of the track from Jethro Tull’s album This Was. Next is Sunshine Help Me, from It’s All About Spooky Tooth, followed by Free’s I’m a Mover, from Tons of Sobs. The Stephen Stills song What’s That Sound comes from the LP Supernatural Fairy Tales, by Art, and then a cover of Traffic’s Pearly Queen from Tramline’s album Moves of Vegetable Centuries. Traffic themselves close Side One with the title track.
Meet on the Ledge from Fairport Convention’s What We Did on Our Holidays kicks off Side Two in rousing style and then Nirvana (British band, nothing to do with Kurt Cobain) perform Rainbow Chaser from All of Us. Next, John Martyn with Dusty from The Tumbler, Clouds with I’ll Go Girl from Scrapbook, the Spencer Davis Group with Somebody Help Me from The Best of . . . and to conclude, Wynder K Frog with Gasoline Alley from Out of the Frying Pan.
Its successor, Nice Enough To Eat, came later that same year and was even better. Fairport get things going with Cajun Woman, from Unhalfbricking, a strange choice given that Island could have gone for the magical Who Knows Where the Time Goes? Mott the Hoople’s eponymous debut album provides a terrific second track with At the Crossroads. Better By You, Better Than Me is from the Tooth’s second album Spooky Two, We Used To Know from Jethro Tull’s Stand Up, Woman from the LP Free and to close Side One the epic Heavy Jelly single I Keep Singing That Same Old Song.
Side Two begins with Sing Me A Song That I Know by Blodwyn Pig from Ahead Rings Out followed by the lovely Forty Thousand Headmen from The Best of Traffic. Nick Drake makes his bow with Time Has Told Me from Five Leaves Left, then comes the King Crimson tour de force 21st Century Schizoid Man from In the Court of the Crimson King. Gungamai, by Quintessence, is from In Blissful Company and Dr Strangely Strange wrap things up with Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal from Kip of the Serenes. Wow. Fifty-five minutes for less than three quarters of a quid – what amazing value.
rredmond: Orion is good stuff.
May 6, 2021 13:53:56 GMT
jackinthegreen: I'm having a memory blank......has Benefit had the book version done yet?
May 6, 2021 23:50:23 GMT
Catqualung: jackinthegreen, as far as I know the book box set of Benefit is still due to be realized, but it has not appeared yet, as well that of Broadsword and the Beast, they should be the next in the row
May 8, 2021 7:36:47 GMT
jackinthegreen: Thanks Catqualung, yes, I'm sure that's the case, it will be out this year I would think
May 8, 2021 8:48:53 GMT
theothertull: Didn't know if I should laugh or cry, pathetic or what, "I played with Paul McCartney; well like a demo, no one has ever heard it, but it's big Japan. Can't remember if Paul was in the studio at the time of the demo, but ya mate, John, Paul, Ringo and I."
May 8, 2021 14:58:23 GMT
distantre: Hello Everyone and Happy Spring if it has reached where you live yet.
May 11, 2021 16:53:18 GMT
steelmonkey: Spring has sprung in California...or, at least, here in the land of two seasons, 'not rainy season' has begun.
May 15, 2021 20:48:54 GMT
steelmonkey: 'Walk Into Light' cued up as my headphone delivered soundtrack for bike ride home on empty streets at 3:00AM after 10 hour shift ends in 5 more hours.. True reward.
May 17, 2021 4:30:04 GMT
maddogfagin: safe journey Bernie
May 19, 2021 6:30:59 GMT
nonrabbit: Long shifts Bernie....my thoughts to you! X
May 22, 2021 17:35:32 GMT
Equus: It is cold in Denmark... Please help! Burn all the plastic you can... Global warming now!!
May 23, 2021 9:36:20 GMT
Jack -A- Lynn: In Greece, it is sunny and warm! Smelling flowers in the air, tonight is going to be a sweet night!
May 26, 2021 17:26:40 GMT
Jack -A- Lynn: Hello tull fans,also hello to my friend acreman (if you read us)
May 26, 2021 17:27:54 GMT