Library Music … a very exclusive blend

library music

As a kid, teen and young man, I used to enjoy some of the groovy, poppy music you’d hear on TV shows. Sometimes it would be the theme tune, sometimes it would be music in the background. The first time I remember feeling this way was when watching an ITV Schools Television programme called Stop, look, listen in the late 1970s. I thought the theme was such a happy tune but, at such a tender age, I clearly didn’t really think about who had made the music or whether you could buy it. It wasn’t until many, many, many years later that I found out that this particular version of the Stop, look, listen theme was entitled Cock of the roost by the Pandora Orchestra. This track is a piece of Library Music.

Thinking back, there were several pieces of music used as TV show themes that seemed quite cool to me as a young person; Grange Hill, Superstars, Dave Allan at large, BBC Rugby special, etc. There was also the incredible array of incidental music used on The Sweeney cop show. All of these are Library Music tracks. This is a good example; Fruity flute – Reg Wale Quintet which was used on a TV cooking show called Farmhouse kitchen. The track was recorded for the De wolfe music library. Other music libraries dedicated to providing incidental music included; KPM, Amphonic, Bruton, Conroy, Chappell and Bosworth.

In 2019, Jonny Trunk said of library music, “it is non-commercial music made for economic use in film, TV and broadcasting.” Despite kinda enjoying this type of music from the late 1970s courtesy of various TV shows, the only tracks I got to own were on a cassette of sporting themes which I purchased in c.1988. Even then, I didn’t really understand that the tracks on the tape constituted Library Music.

All that was to change in the mid-1990s when there was an easy listening revival in Britain. As part of this movement, a lot of Library music was commercially released on easy/lounge compilations such as 1995’s The Sound Gallery. In 1996, the first Blow Up – exclusive blend compilation was released which focussed on the KPM music library and tracks recorded from 1968-70 by artists such as Alan Hawkshaw, Keith Mansfield, David Lindup, etc. Killer tunes on this album included; Exclusive blend by Keith Mansfield and Rocky Mountain Runabout by Alan Hawkshaw

Library Music montage

Since library music was intended for use in contemporary films and television programmes, it was notable how the musical styles evolved to keep ‘in tune’ with the times. (Very) generally, library music in the mid-1960s tends to be rather big and brassy or very cocktail jazz, but by the late 1960’s it’s all hammond organ and vibes often with a beat group rhythm track. In the early – mid 1970s, library music got seriously funky, and by the mid-late 1970s it was getting more synth-drenched and other-worldly and disco was featuring too. There are many exceptions to this general pattern of course because library music albums tended to focus on required themes/moods. For instance, Ron Geesin’s “Syncopot” was released in 1972 which seems pretty early to me for this particular kind of electronic soundscape.

Whilst there was a glut of Library music compilations issued in the mid-late 1990s, it is important to note that there is still considerable interest in the genre and several KPM albums have been reissued on CD and vinyl from 2007 onwards. Strut’s KPM collection was released in 2013 and Soul Jazz records released the Inner city beat Library compliation in 2014.

Kie 2

Some of my favourite Library Music was used as incidental music in The Sweeney television programme (1975 – 1978). A compilation of some of the funkiest tracks used across the four series of the show was released in 2001 by Cinephile. A few of my favourite library tracks featured in the show include; Condition Red by Barry StollerUndergroove by Alan HawkshawMighty Atom by Stephen Gray and Holy Mackerel by Brian Bennett (which was also used as the theme tune to BBC Rugby Special.

Shut it sweeney cd

In October 2018, I was lucky enough to attend the KPM All Stars gig in London at The British Library. Some of the real big hitters performed including John Cameron, Duncan Lamont and two of my Library music heroes who I managed to get lo-fi photos with; Keith Mansfield and Alan Hawkshaw.

KPM all stars

This blogpost has focussed on British library music but there is a wealth of library music from other countries particularly Italy and France. Those are separate blogs to be written of course! Library music has been a fully fledged part of my life for 25 years now. I still uncover new tracks every week. In fact, a very recent discovery for me is 1972’s Mr Milkman by Mike Vickers

Long may this voyage of discovery continue.

For further reading, if you are interested, why not take a look at The strange world of library music

The Final 24 hour flash sale (14/05/20)

Hi pop fans!  . . . it’s another chance to fill those gaps in your record collections with these bargains.  £13 with free local delivery or £3 postage for up to 3 albums . . . get your orders in ASAP . . . limited stock at this price.

Flash sale 4

Aldous Harding – Designer

Bauhaus – Press the eject and give me the tape

Black Midi – Schlagenheim

Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas

The Fall – 458489 A-sides

FKA Twigs – Magdalene

Gruff Rhys – Pang!

Interpol – Marauder

Jungle – For ever

Kurt vile – Smoke rings for my halo

The Libertines – The Libertines

The Libertines – Time for heroes

The National – Boxer

Parquet Courts – Wide awake!

Pixies – Come on pilgrim

Savages – Adore life

SBTRKT – SBTRKT

Stereolab – The groop played space age bachelor

The Strokes – Comedown machine

The XX – I see you

Vampire weekend. Modern vampires of the city

DROP US A LINE POP FANS.  PAYMENT BY PAYPAL.

 

It’s 24 hour flash sale time! . . . £13 vinyl

Hi pop fans!  . . . it’s another chance to fill those gaps in your record collections with these bargains. £13 with free local delivery or £3 postage for up to 3 albums . . . get your orders in ASAP . . . limited stock.

Flash sale 3

Anthony & the Johnsons I am a bird now

Bon Iver Bon Iver

Camera Obscura Desire lines

Cat Power The Greatest

Cocteau Twins The pink opaque

Cocteau Twins Head over heels

Gruff Rhys Babelsberg

Interpol Antics

Jungle Jungle

Peaches The teaches of peaches

Pixies Trompe Le Monde

Sampha Process

Sleaford Mods English Tapas

Snail mail Lush

The Breeders All nerve

The Fall The wonderful and frightening world of.

The Strokes Angles

The Strokes First impressions of earth

The XX Coexist

Vampire weekend Contra

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Daniele Patucchi “Susan theme” (1970)

We simply had to write a brief post about this truly beautiful Italian soundtrack single from the Turin tunesmith, Daniele Patucchi, released in 1970.

Daniele

Despite scoring over 50 soundtracks, there is scant information available on the 75 year old Daniele Patucchi. This beautiful single is taken from the soundtrack to the film, Così Così…Più Forte, which was released in 1970.

The film is about two young women, Lisa and Susan, who fall in love in Rome. A man named Fred enters the fray and Susan cheats on Lisa with Fred. Jealousy, whisky, arguments and police intervention ultimately results in collective suicide in a car crash.

The single was released in 1970 on the CAM label with a catalogue number; AMP 80.

Susan theme – the A-side, a very erotic scat, bossa theme with vocals by Edda dell’Orso.

Fred Love theme is the B-side. Wonderful summery bossa with sultry, breathy female la la las.

 

Another 24 hour flash sale . . . £13 vinyl

Hi Folks, another chance to fill those gaps in your record collections with these bargains. £13 with free local delivery or £3 postage for up to 3 albums . . . get your orders in ASAP . . . limited stock.

Flash sale 2

Aldous Harding. Party

Bauhaus. The sky’s gone out

Cat Power. Covers record

Cocteau Twins. Tiny Dynamine / Echoes in a shallow bay

Cocteau Twins. Treasure

Dead can Dance. Dead can Dance

Dead can Dance. Spleen and ideal

Dizzie Rascal. Boy in da corner

Jungle. For ever

Kim Gordon. No home record

Parquet Courts. Sunbathing animal

Pixies. Bossa nova

Pixies. Doolittle

Stereolab. Peng!

The Strokes. Is this it?

The Birthday Party. Junkyard

The Breeders. Last splash

The Fall. This nations saving grace.

The XX. Xx

Drop us a message ASAP.  PayPal payment please . . . #isolationvinyl

 

 

 

80s Hip Hop – a top 10

Back in the 1980s, American Hip Hop really captured the imagination of Strand Records‘ Dave. In fact, as the photo below shows, he fancied himself as a bit of a B-Boy with his Kangol hat, Darryl ‘Run DMC‘ Mc Daniels’ glasses, Campri ski jacket, adidas trackie and sneakers.

B-boy

For folks of Dave’s pedigree, there had been some limited exposure to American rap music very early in the 1980s, via records such as Sugarhill Gang – Rapper’s Delight (1979), Kurtis Blow – The Breaks (1980), Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Message (1982) , Afrika Bambaataa – Planet rock (1982), Melle Mel – White lines (1983), etc. Famously, there had also been Debbie Harry’s rap in Blondie’s Rapture from 1980.

But, it was from c.1986 that rap really started to hit home with many more music listeners in Britain. Dave’s top ten reflects this particular era of rap. The sound seemed to get a bit edgier and urgent somehow. Of course, any Hip Hop top 10 of that era could be made up of Public Enemy records alone but in the interest of variety . . .

  1. South Bronx – Boogie Down Productions (1987)
  2. Saturday night – Schoolly D (1986)
  3. Public Enemy no.1 – Public Enemy (1987)
  4. Follow the leader – Eric B. & Rakim (1988)
  5. My philosophy – KRS1 & Boogie Down Productions (1988)
  6. Jack the Ripper – LL Cool J (1988)
  7. Express yourself – N.W.A. (1989)
  8. Peter Piper – Run DMC (1986)
  9. Paul Revere – Beastie Boys (1986)
  10. Kool Keith housing things – Ultramagnetic MCs (1988)

So there we have it, all tracks from 1986-1989. By c.1990 onwards, American rap seemed to increasingly move into a rather formulaic ‘gangsta’ direction and some of the inventiveness of the mid-late 80s seemed to get lost, although artists such as Ice Cube continued to offer challenging beats for a while and clearly Dr Dre/Snoop caused quite a stir. For Dave, the glory days had past and he hung his Kangol hat up for good. It should be mentioned though that 1980s respect is also due to various tracks by Stetsasonic, Ice T, Spoonie Gee, The Jungle Brothers, EPMD, De la Soul, Mantronix, Big Daddy Kane, Original Concept, etc. Manchester’s Ruthless Rap Assassins also deserve a mention for hip hop this side of ‘the pond’.

Ticket hip hop

 

 

 

 

24 hr flash sale . . . £13 vinyl

Flash sale

Hi folks, fill the gaps in your record collections with these bargains . . . £13, with free local delivery or £3 postage for up to 3 albums . . . Get your orders in ASAP!!!

Bauhaus – Mask

Bon Ivor – For Emma, forever ago

British Sea Power – Do you like rock music?

Cat Power – Moon pix

Cocteau Twins – Blue bell knoll

Daughter – If you leave

Interpol – Turn on the bright lights

Libertines – Up the bracket

National – Alligator

Pixies – Surfa Rosa

Savages – Silence yourself

The Breeders – Pod

The Fall – Wonderful and frightening world of

The Strokes – Room on fire

Vampire weekend – Vampire weekend

Drop us a message ASAP, PayPal payment please . . . Isolation vinyl!!

 

Working in a Stoke record shop (early 90s)

Hot on the heels of our Growing up in Stoke’s record shops post, friend of Strand Records, Jayne Taylor, talks about hearing vinyl for the first time, buying records in Stoke-on-Trent and working for Replay Records . . .

Replay 2

My first encounter with vinyl was terrifying! I must have been around five or six years of age. I was idly flicking through my dad’s record collection when I encountered a Leo Sayer vinyl . . . I remember being absolutely traumatised by the cover . . . it would appear that poor little Leo had sat on a drawing pin judging by the pained expression on his face and as a result he’d been catapulted 50 feet in the air. (Endless Flight . . . Google it . . . I dare you).  Editor’s note: no need Jayne, here it is for you to enjoy all over again!

Leo Sayer

I put it on the turntable of our Alba radiogram, which was basically  the size of an Hillman Imp, and dropped the needle on the record. To my utter joy and delight, I discovered that Leo sounded just like my then heroes, The Smurfs . . . my joy however was extremely short-lived as my dad thundered into the room and told me I was playing his musical hero, Leo on the wrong speed and with the flick of a switch my blue and white heroes had been transformed into something which I told my dad, “sounded a bit rubbish” . . . with utter indignation he snatched the record off the turntable and told me never to listen to Leo again . . . not that there was much danger of that!

The months rolled by and, aged 7, I decided The Smurfs were for kids and fuelled by my older brother’s love of all things Punk and New Wave, I embarked upon my lifelong irrevocable musical obsession. Age ten, I bought my first ever single “The Model” by the peerless Kraftwerk . . . I dashed home to play it, not before staking my claim on it by writing my name on the back in biro like we all did way back when . . . why did we do that? It still hurts when I look at it!

Anyway, hundreds of trips to Woolies to peruse and obsess over the Top 75 singles racks followed and fast forward to the Autumn of 1990 when I landed myself the absolute dream job of Sales Assistant at Replay Records. On my first day my then boss probably wondered what the hell she’d landed herself with when she found me nose deep in a box of fresh vinyls inhaling deeply like some kind of plastic pervert but the stuff is pure magic right? Don’t look at me like that!

Replay 1

Anyway, moving swiftly on . . . head honcho Bryan, Replay’s founder, CEO and all round smashing fella had four shops when I began working there. Longton, Hanley, Macclesfield and finally the nerve centre of the operation, Tunstall, which stood proud on the High Street for many years. I worked at three of the four shops spending most of my time at the small but perfectly formed Hanley branch. Hanley at that period in time was awash with record shops, there was Mike Lloyd Music, Lotus, Our Price, Discs and of course the chain stores such as Woolies and WH Smith that had huge record departments (was it just me or were all the CDs and vinyls from Woolies in really poor nick like they’d been stored in sandpaper sleeves or something?). What we lacked in size we made up for with our boundless enthusiasm, passion and dedication to providing a first rate personal customer service and we did a stunning trade with the, “If I hum it/sing it to you, can you tell me what it is and sell it to me?” peeps, which was always great fun.

We sold mainly chart stuff but had a good selection of most genres . . . O.K, maybe we fell a bit short with the Pirate Metal,Wizard Rock and German Reggae but we could have ordered it in for you. We stocked the legendary Top 75 hit parade back when the charts were a big deal and you could still own a beautiful piece of plastic for mere pocket money but the humble vinyl 45 was by now facing stiff competition from both the CD single and the cassette single. This was way before the internet so we did a huge trade in ordering stuff in for people . . . we had a huge red book, a rather impressive tome which closely resembled the one grasped by Eamonn Andrews on This Is Your Life. It was the absolute bible of all things music and contained the catalogue number of every single UK music release since the charts began in 1952. This is where you’d have to source your catalogue numbers for the customer orders . . . it all seems so dated now. The tome was so heavy you’d pretty much risk some sort of wrist injury each time you lugged it up onto the counter and of course you’d have to have smaller add on versions every few months containing all the latest releases.

Jason, my then boss, loved his techno and rave choons and we did a steady trade selling 12 inches to the young ravers who’d park up their VW Golf GTIs and XR3is outside the shop wanting their vinyl fix . . . happy, happy days.

It’s hard to believe but by Autumn 1991 vinyl sales of albums had been completely eclipsed by CDs and cassettes and we actually stopped selling vinyl albums altogether. A sad day indeed but fear not vinyl, you will rise again like a phoenix from the ashes . . . and you did!

Always a sucker for a gimmick me, and we sold them by the bucket load. Who remembers the 10 inch single? 3 inch mini CD single? CD singles in tins? Vinyl of all colours of the rainbow, limited editions, numbered editions, novelty packaging of every description, singles in plastic sleeves full of glitter and the one that sticks in my mind was the Divinyls, “I Touch Myself“. A CD single containing X-rated photos apparently . . . sold like hot cakes that one!

Central to everything we did was our core of wonderful, loyal customers. People from all walks of life who would often take you into their confidence and treat you like a friend. My favourite memory was a lady that came in to buy a single because it reminded her of her dear mum who had sadly recently passed away. She asked me to play the record and as we listened she shared some of her memories with me and showed me some photos of her lovely mum. Replay was more than a record shop, it  gave a sense of community and it was a joy to be part of something so special. I moved on to the dizzy heights of the record department at WH Smiths but I will always look back at my time at Replay with fondness. Replay may be long departed but hopefully there’s a few of you out there that remember us as fondly as we remember you x

Jayne’s Top Ten Albums of 1991

  1. My Bloody Valentine-Loveless
  2. Teenage Fanclub-Bandwagonesque
  3. Electronic- Electronic
  4. Nirvana-Nevermind
  5. Julian Cope-Peggy Suicide
  6. P.M Dawn -Of the Heart,of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience
  7. Primal Scream-Screamadelica
  8. The Orb-Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld
  9. Dinosaur Jr.-Green Mind
  10. Talk Talk-Laughing Stock

Record Store Day 18.04.20

Saturday 18th April 2020 would have been Record Store Day 2020 @RSDUK!

RSD 2

Fo independent record shops like Strand Records, RSDUK has been a great day to highlight the love of vinyl and music generally. It’s also been a good day to sell records too of course. The immense support we have received since being part of RSDUK is evidenced by these photos and the commitment, dedication and endeavour of our army of crate diggers is both appreciated and applauded.

RSD3

To be honest, we can never quite get over the level of support we receive on RSDUK in our shop on The Strand in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent. A queue starts forming around c.04:00am (maybe even earlier?) and the shop is effectively mobbed from opening time until mid-afternoon. For the last couple of years we have had live DJs in the afternoon too. A splendid time is guaranteed for all!

RSD4

We can’t celebrate in our favourite shops today but we can still support them online. Please get in touch with us if there is anything you require. What gaps need filling in your vinyl collection? Let us know and we’ll track them down!

We generally post items second class but we can also offer 1st class postage and next day delivery options as well as click and collect. There is also free local (Stoke-on-Trent) delivery on orders over £30. If you require any of these options, please just contact us.

Thank you for being you . . .

RSD 1

TOP TRACK: Lord Creator – “Such is life” (1978)

Lord Creator

A reggae track that the Strand Records’ boys have really got into recently is the re-recorded version of Such is life by Lord Creator, released in the UK on Seven Leaves Records in 1978.

Creator – “Such is life” (1978)

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry produced this version at the Black Ark and it has a fabulous roots-dub, laid back feel. Such a mellow throb with magical mixing skills on display from the Upsetter. The track is sung by Lord Creator AKA Creator AKA Prodigal Creator.

Lord Creator was born Kentrick Patrick in Trinidad and Tobago and, despite the blissed out feel of the 1978 version of Such is life, Creator is a calypso, ska, R&B and rocksteady artist. He recorded his first hits in 1958 and Creator’s Independant Jamaica Calypso was the very first single on Chris Blackwell’s Island records in 1962. Creator had a big hit with Kingston Town in 1970 (later covered by UB40). 

Lord Creator’s original rocksteady version of Such is life was released in 1968 on Randy’s Records. Creator is backed on the recording by Tommy McCook and the Supersonics.

Lord Creator – “Such is life” (1968)

Lord Creator; “In my days of sufferation when I had nothing, when I could not pay rent, when I could not find food for me and my children to eat, while sleeping up in a plum tree with a pregnant woman, I put together a melody, and that is how I recorded the song called Such Is Life“.

The 1978 track is, for us, an undoubted highlight of the ’70s Black Ark era.