In the elite world of the charity shop vinyl record hunter, there are certain record sleeves that are almost of mythical status, and there is a considerable amount of competition between collectors to find one of these rarities. It’s a little bit like Andy Murray winning Wimbledon, Leicester City winning the premiership or Donald Trump becoming president of America. Actually, it’s more likely that “the Donald” will become president that it is finding one of these picture sleeves.
So, here we go with my top 5 most sought after picture sleeves ever, and yes, I’m going to go in reverse order, keeping the suspense going until the very end!
No. 5 – Tino – Por Primero Vez
The first thing to point out here, is that I am not actually all that interested in the audio, which is just as well, because it’s a disco horror of a track that will give you nightmares. No, it’s the sleeve…and, WHAT a sleeve!! I’m trying to imagine what the art directors thought process was here. Could there be, in the back of a cabinet somewhere, a story board that he/she built up culminating in this image? It’s a sleeve that screams “Come and get it” and “Hey girls, do you want some” louder than Jose Mourinho screaming “Gizza job”. If you are lucky enough to find this little beauty in your local charity shop, buy it quickly and run, before you’re arrested by the bad taste police.
No. 4 – Norberto De Freitas – Trapalhadas Do Balbino
I know what you’re thinking, you’re setting the bar pretty high here! You’re right, I am, but this is a list of the most sought after picture sleeves ever, and more importantly, ones that you will only find in a charity shop. So, what’s going on here? If your first thought is, this must be an advert for Colgate, you’d be wrong. If you think Norberto has a passing similarity to Wurzil Gummage, I’d agree with you. But what, I hear you ask, does the title mean. Trapalhadas Do Balbino roughly translates as The Blunders of Balbino, which presumably refers to the choice of artist portrait that the record company made when putting this release together. I only ever found this album once in a charity shop, and I’d been on the lash the night before, and when I picked it up, I thought I was looking in a mirror. It was at that point I decided that I had to cut back on my boozing.
No. 3 – Wayne Cochran – Goin’ Back To Miami
Oh my, where do I start? Well, firstly, let me say that Wayne Cochran is still alive and he cut some really cool records, and in fact his track Last Kiss was covered by Pearl Jam. Did you also know that he is sometimes referred to as “The White Knight of Soul”, and that he helped inspire Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi’s characters in The Blues Brothers ? But, I don’t care what sort of gear was going around in 60’s, it was clearly having an impact on his follicle growth rates. The hair is simply stunning, and there must be so much product on it, I suspect that Wayne is responsible for the hole in the ozone layer. This is one of those mythical picture sleeves I mentioned at the beginning, and I salute you if you can find one.
No. 2 – Jacinto – O Donzelo (Dentro da Abertura)
Oh!! Donzelo indeed! What on earth is going on here? This appears to be some kind of homage to Benny Hill, mixed in with one of those Top of the Pops album covers from the early 70’s. The title literally translates as “Within The Aperture” but perhaps more literally it means, I’m a dirty bastard and if I get caught I’m going away for a long time. Either way, it’s a total cracker and for certain, deserves its place in our top 5.
No. 1 – Wasnatch – Front To Back
As you can see, I’ve definitely kept the best ’till last!! I truly do not know where to start, but let me assure you, if you find this album in your local charity shop, just pray that some octogenarian volunteer is not looking over your shoulder. It doesn’t matter how genuine your pleas are, you are not going to convince a jury in the land that you are not some kind of brass band deviant!! So, forgetting what the album cover may be trying to convey, in the immortal words of Roy Walker from Catchphrase, just say what you see. So, I see a naked lady on all fours with some kind of brass instrument near her face, looking over her shoulder at a hairy man straining as he blows into a tuba that appears to be positioned over her rear end. I can hear Roy saying “It’s close, but it’s not right”. Too bloody right it’s not right!
Well, there you are charity shop pickers, my countdown of the 5 most difficult to find picture sleeves. It is Record Store Day 2016 tomorrow, and I am sad to say that you will not find any of these beauties being reissued in any form tomorrow. But, you will find loads of cool releases, and as ever, its great to support your local independent record store. If you have any surplus vinyl you are thinking of selling, please get in touch.