It’s a small thing a record label. To most people under the age of 40 it’s something they may never have noticed. Growing up it was hard to avoid. The 7” single would be eased from its paper sleeve – that bit would often be quickly discarded – and the record would be stacked up with as many 45’s as the turntable took for a solid 20 mins of extended play. There would then be a short break while you turned the pile over and listened to all the B sides. ‘It was a simple life but we were happy,’ I can’t help feel you muttering.
Discarding floppy paper sleeves was not a big issue as all the real information was on the label. It was the label to which we were attracted. The Beatles were on Parlophone, The Stones were on Decca and T Rex on EMI with Bowie and the glorious CBS label was host to Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan and Brooooooce. We were hypnotised as then spun round at 33 and 1/3. When it came to signing a record deal in 1986 I would be lying if I didn’t say that having our album on the CBS label didn’t carry almost as much weight as our signing on fee.
In amongst all this were the indies…..punk brought some brilliant new ones with many of us buying anything a good label wanted to throw at us. Stiff Records toured on mass on a train. How much we envied that? The Clash signing to CBS contributed more to the aforementioned signing myth and Rough Trade and Factory added an independent allure to the whole caper. In the US there had been hundreds of labels. Many of them, like Mercury still carry the same graphic and one has just released new product for the first time in decades. Stax – home to Sam and Dave, The Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes and of course the greatest of them all, Otis Redding, is so famous it has its own museum in Memphis. The founders and producers of that label have long since disappeared but the imprint is owned by the Concord label now home to Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats. It’s great to see such a great logo spinning around again as it was on vinyl on last week’s AC.
This week we get the band themselves in session and an extended chat with the man himself. Gone are the days of chamber-folk, tender singer songwriter please welcome born again R n B dancing boy with a horn-section in tow. Don’t miss it.
Also…..Kurt Vile, Lewis and Leigh and a new spooky project by Ben Glover and Nielson Hubbard (producer to Dean Owens too) called The Orphan Brigade. We’ll remind you why we love that Daniel Romano album so much and reacquaint you with the talent of Willie Nelson, Dottie West and The Grateful Dead. All sound good? Join us this coming Tuesday evening from five past nine on BBC Radio Scotland.