Thursday, 26 April 2018

"D'you wanna Dolby with it?"

"D'you wanna Dolby with it?"

I had a radiogram in my bedroom, you know! Younger readers may wish to look that up, but in a reversal of a certain 'Not The Nine O'Clock News' sketch, it really did have all the speeds : 33, 45, 78 and 16.

To this day, I've never even seen a 16 record...

Although we've nothing to play them on, I've still got some of my old record collection and the recent mention of the LP 'Jesta Giggle' by The Barron Nights on Tim Worthington's 'Looks Unfamiliar' podcast, reminded me of just how odd my tastes in audio were, and still are.

I had almost nothing that would be considered normal by my school chums of the time. There were collections of sketches from 'Monty Python's Flying Circus' and adaptations of 'Fawlty Towers' episodes with added narration from Manuel if you were lucky.

The back page of the paperback of 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy' had an offer for an LP version, so I sent off for that, losing the last paragraph of the book in the process, as someone had not thought through the placing of the advert. I enjoyed this immensely, and the follow-up was soon purchased as well, though it was only years later that I became aware the record versions were noticeably different to the original radio productions.

I lived in the country, so 'The Wurzels, 'The Yetties' and the rather less well-remembered 'Shag Connors And The Carrot Crunchers' were obvious choices. And throw in a couple of releases of Pam Ayres doing her poetry for good measure.

'Doctor Who And The Pescatons' was scary, so didn't get played quite as often, but when the show was cancelled in 1985, I remember playing the single version of the Delia Derbsyhire theme arrangement at 33 rpm in a sort of depressive teenage protest.

There were theme tune arrangements by Geoff Love and Cy Payne and 'The World Of The Goodies' had some strange songs about gibbons and sparrows.

 When it came to singles, chart hits were almost always ignored, unless they were slightly different. 'The Bucket Of Water Song' by The Four Bucketeers or Keith Michell's rendition of 'Captain Beaky And His Band' passed the selection process. of course...

Just lookng back through the pile now, I notice there's an album entitled '12 Tops' from 1975 (MER 125 - original price 50 New Pence!) that boasts such numbers as 10cc's 'I'm Not In Love' and 'The Hustle' by Van McCoy. But if we're being honest,the only track on there that really tickled my fancy at the time was 'Whispering Grass' from Windsor Davies and Don Estelle.

And frankly, I don't think I've changed my opinion in the intervening years.

Though I think I now know why very few people ever came round my house to listen to my records...

Ah well, it was their loss!

(By Andrew Trowbridge)

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