On top of Goldmine’s Market Watch for 4/11 was this item, described by the seller thusly:
This is supposedly the U.K.’s rarest album. They performed at a few local gigs, and as their playing got tighter, decided to go into SIS Studios, Northampton, with engineer Alan Bowley, to record an album. The six tracks, written and arranged by the band were recorded over a weekend in 1972 and consist of melodic progressive rock laced with bits of fuzzy guitar riffs. Only a handful of copies were pressed.
Given the startling sale price of $10,607.52, about three times the price of the nearest Beatles item that month, I had to track this down. Turns out, I’d snagged an abridged version (about ten seconds clipped from each track) from Usenet several years ago. The band was called Dark, and the album was Round the Edges. Metal Music Archives, which deems it proto-metal, reports:
Agreement to the exact number of original copies is non-existent. According to one source, the number is certified to be 40.
This would put Dark somewhere in between the Shaggs, for whom a thousand copies of Philosophy of the World were pressed, 900 of which subsequently disappeared, and Susan Christie, whose Paint a Lady was apparently issued in a quantity of five. If these acts can be reissued, so can Dark, and indeed they were, albeit in still-slender numbers.
Listening to the tracks from the CD reissue, it’s easy to hear some early metallic elements, though basically Dark seems to be splitting the difference between Circus Maximus, a Bob Bruno/Jerry Jeff Walker joint that specialized in long, noodling tunes like the FM hit “Wind,” and Blue Cheer, which hit in ’68 with a thunderous (and fuzzy) cover of Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues.” Of course, the ten-grand price tag is due to the album’s rarity more than its musical merit; but that musical merit is not at all inconsiderable. Most of the individual tracks have been YouTubed by now, should your curiosity overwhelm you.