Available light

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.

Dark Round the EdgesGiven 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.







3 comments

  1. David Fleck »

    28 March 2011 · 8:43 pm

    I had no idea Philosophy of the World was rare. I am now contempating kicking myself for tossing my copy out. (I carried it around faithfully for years, though — I only got rid of it when I got rid of my turntable and all my other LP’s.)

    Where is Foot-Foot?, indeed.

  2. CGHill »

    28 March 2011 · 9:10 pm

    Well, it was never intended to be that rare, but things happen.

    The 1980s reissue on Red Rooster/Rounder is a bit more common than the 1969 original on Third Word [sic], but only a bit.

  3. Beatles Fanatic »

    18 May 2011 · 3:46 pm

    I agree, I can’t believe it it really that rare at this point. Check out some of the stuff on YouTube….it got that great sound that you expect it to have. But, no….I could get a lot of Beatles stuff for 10k….

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