My postman is a rather surly chap. He’s never early, rarely speaks when I greet him and often delivers other people’s letters to my house for me to deal with. But despite all of these faults, I love him. I feel this way because even though he insists on leaving piles of bills and junk advertisements in my hallway day after day, he also brings me things that fill my life with happiness – music, books and DVDs. Yesterday, I managed to intercept him before trying to ram a package into my letterbox which was clearly a few inches too wide. I hastily rescued my delivery which was thankfully unharmed and as I rushed inside to escape the snow, my heart began pounding as I realised what the brown cardboard wrapping contained. Once indoors, I carefully split the tape holding the parcel together and removed the thick layer of bubble wrap protecting it’s precious cargo. Finally, I had in my hands a book which I had been searching for over many years and all but given up hope of finding a copy without paying a small fortune. My surly postman had made me feel like a child on Christmas morning once again!
The book in question is called The Music Library and is subtitled ‘Graphic Art and Sound’. It’s 208 pages contain a bewildering selection of cover artwork from some of the rarest and most beautiful library LPs produced during the 1960s and 1970s. It was conceived and compiled by a marvellous chap called Jonny Trunk (who also happens to run one of my favourite record labels – here) and features contributions from a host of library aficionados including The Specials’ Jerry Dammers (who also provides the Foreword). As if that wasn’t quite enough, the inside rear cover contains a little wallet which houses a CD compilation of tracks from some of the included LPs.
I spent the whole of yesterday evening leafing through the pages of this incredible tome whilst listening to a playlist consisting of favourite tracks culled from my own personal collection of library LPs. As the temperatures outside plummeted and the snow continued falling, It all made perfect sense.
The music contained on these albums was orginally produced exclusively for use by film and TV studios and never commercially released. Indeed, some of these fantastic records were pressed in such tiny quantities that only a handful remain today and are invariably snapped up for unbelievable sums of money by collectors when they occasionally surface. The artwork on these album sleeves cover all bases from the graphically utilitarian to the outlandishly psychedelic and all points in between. As Mr Dammers states in his foreword, the sleeve designers appear to have received the same creative brief as the musicians – “Zero budget and complete and utter artistic freedom to indulge in your most disturbed inner fantasies”.
I really can’t recommend this wonderful book highly enough and suggest that you keep your eyes peeled on the next visit to your secondhand emporium of choice. My thanks go out to the esteemed Jonny Trunk for sharing some of his library collection with me… and to my surly postman for delivering the goods!
Here is a small selection of my favourite LP covers from the book;