The Vinyl Issue: Gimmick LPs

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Sometimes a plain disc with grooves on either side just isn’t enough, as these five examples of vinyl lunacy prove.

JOHNNY WINTER

_Second Winter _(COLUMBIA, 1969)

Too many tracks for a single album, not enough for a double. What to do? Simple: release three sides of music along with a side of… nothing at all, actually. Well, oil was cheap in ’69. Gimmick or not, this arguably showcases the now-legendary Texan blues guitar man at his peak.

GAYE BIKERS ON ACID

Drill Your Own Hole (VIRGIN, 1987)

Standard bearers for the short-lived ‘grebo’ phenomenon that kept the UK music press busy for a year or so in the early 90s, Leicester’s Gaye Bykers were inveterate mischief-makers. Their unhinged and chaotic debut LP came, as you may have guessed, without a hole in the middle. That meant – in Benny Hill terms – there was nowhere to slot your spindle. None more DIY.

MARILLION

Brave (EMI, 1994)

There’s just one way of listening to Brave, the dark tale of a girl found wandering on a bridge with no inkling of her own identity, and that’s on vinyl. Drop the needle down on to the plastic and, depending upon which of two grooves in which it lands, a cunning alternative ending to the story is revealed.

MR BUNGLE

Disco Volante (WARNER BROS, 1995)

A strong contender for ‘weirdest major label album ever’, the second Mr Bungle album would have been mind-bending anyway, but the vinyl version featured a dual groove on track three of side one, wherein lurked demented curio The Secret Song. Disco Volante also came with a bonus seven-inch single by Trey Spruance’s Secret Chiefs 3. Result.

**JACK WHITE **

Lazaretto: Ultra Edition (THIRD MAN, 2014)

The patron saint of vinyl was at his most playful here, with tricks that included two bonus tracks concealed beneath the centre labels, a Side A that played from inside-out, and a ‘dual-groove’ that meant Just One Drink started with either an acoustic or electric intro, depending where you dropped the needle. Oh, and the music wasn’t bad either.