Oh dear, what a corny pun of a title.

OK… recently I’ve become interested in music on vinyl again. I won’t bore you with the details of this fascination, but I’ve been digging through my collection, digitising them, and adding details to Discogs as I go. (Plus, of course, frequenting second hand record shops, and rooting through the vinyl bins in charity shops in search of ancient gems… but I digress)

Finally, I hit new ground. Take a look at this label:

fes 4503 - label side A

Fairly straightforward, hmm? OK, look up the catalogue number on discogs – nothing. Eventually, searching through all the labels called “Festival” (which included a Swedish record label that may (or may not) have belonged to the Salvation Army), I found the right one, verified by looking at the label of the only other submission in the catalogue (at the time, by the time you read this I might even have got round to entering my other two records on there as well as this one).

But there are still other mysteries to be solved…

  • When were they made? My original thought was maybe these records were made to be sold at the Festival of Britain. But why do the catalogue numbers start with 45? Does this mean they were made in 1945? If it does, well, that rules out my Festival of Britain theory, as that took place in 1951. Of course, it wouldn’t have ruled them out if the records were 45RPM – but they’re not. And I’m no further forward in my imaginings.
  • Did they ever come with covers, other than the rather damaged polythene bags I recently threw away because they were sellotaped up and couldn’t be opened without being pretty much destroyed? (The records are safe and comfy in nice new sleeves, don’t worry).
  • Is there any significance in the change from gold lettering to white? (FES4503 and 4509 have gold lettering, 4533 and 36 have white)?

Of course, there’s always my usual wonderings about second hand records. Who bought them originally? Did they look after them, love them, cherish them? Or just throw them in a cupboard thinking “wish I’d never bought that”? Those last are questions I’ll never get the answers to. But it would be nice to know just a little bit more about these unusual little records of mine…