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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

When albums don't sell

I've been sent a splendidly repackaged edition of Andy Roberts and the Great Stampede. Andy Roberts was a much celebrated guitar player who was a member of the Liverpool Scene and Plainsong. John Peel was a great patron of Roberts. In 1973 he had a deal with Elektra and made this record. I never bought it but it had one of those covers that you often paused to examine as you browsed the racks in One Stop in South Molton Street or Harum in Crouch End. Andy's still around and the best of luck to him but I can't help smiling at what he writes in the sleeve note about the fact that Great Stampede wasn't a big success. The record company's offices moved, the publicity was mistimed and the oil crisis meant there weren't enough records in the shops because EMI was holding back vinyl in order to produce more Beatles albums for the Christmas market. In such terms have musicians down the years always explained away a project that didn't take off. It's never anything as simple as "we weren't popular enough". Andy may believe that there weren't enough records in the shop but I think there were quite a few because I visited most of them.