Way back in my late teens when I was first exploring the world of music, the usual way I would choose LPs would be browsing the inky music papers and by judging an LP by its cover. Shallow perhaps, but both avenues left me liable to be misled by the general scorched earth policy of punk and post-punk, particularly when informed by the NME. I particularly recall seeing albums by the three bands below in the racks at the Ezy Ryder record exchange in Greyfriars Market.
The first of these, by the then London-based Ghanaian/Caribbean band Osibisa, was characterised by a Roger Dean cover, which naturally (if unfairly) led me to think this was some kind of ghastly Yes style prog rock. I say unfairly because, as the Wikipedia page on Osibisa observes, these covers predated Dean’s work with Yes. I took advantage of my explorations on Spotify to have a listen to Osibisa’s eponymous first album. I think I can safely say my younger self would have hated it (though partly to keep up with the prevailing taste of the era). Now, being a bit more broad-minded I actually quite like the record – at least enough to give it further listens (but probably not enough to buy it).
Van Der Graaf Generator are one of those bands which one definitely couldn’t like by the time 1977 rolled round. Unfortunately, one of the things that determines whether or not I like something is the vocal. And I must say I didn’t much care for this record too much.
Punishment of Luxury‘s Laugh Academy is an LP I definitely recall from EzyRyder’s racks. Goodness knows why I never gave it a blast at the time. Listening in 2013 (34 years after its original release!), it’s definitely a record of its period. But given that’s an era I am particularly fond of, it’s perhaps no surprise I rather like it. More listens forthcoming.