Hell Preachers Inc

March 15, 2010

I bought this record when I was in my early teens despite not having a clue who Hell Preachers Inc were. Even then the title “Supreme Psychedelic Underground” must have attracted me. The bargain price probably also helped. Marble Arch was a budget priced label (a subsidiary of Pye and a place you more usually found Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen). And yes I think I’ve got the cover the right way up………

Hell Preachers Inc excerpts from Time Race 1, Courante and Turn turn

To the best of my knowledge it has never been revealed who played on this LP from 1969. It has been suggested that perhaps members from the first line-up of Deep Purple were involved. Certainly the vocals and Hammond organ have similarities. Others suggest that session musicians from Hamburg were responsible. There were other similar records issued via a studio in Hamburg in the late 1960s featuring skilled session musicians who would be/had been in rock bands such as The Rattles.

Here in 2010 I have recently thrown away all my David Bowie and Alice Cooper LPs. I purchased them when I was a teenager and cannot imagine ever wanting to listen to them again. And yet I’ve spent the last hour transferring this budget LP recorded by unknown session men onto my mp3 player and look forward to listening to (most of) the tracks again. Funny old world isn’t it ??

Of course the best known bargain basement LPs were “Music for Pleasure”, “Contour”  and “Pickwick” so often seen on spinner racks in Woolworths. Usually these records contained Brass Bands, Childrens Nursery Rhymes or numerous LPs like “Hot Hits” with pictures of girls in bikinis on the front and session musicians making their best stab at cover versions of tunes that had just fallen out of the top 40 on the discs. Even Reg Dwight was involved at one point. Sometimes a few “Greatest Hits” LPs were mixed in from bands like “The Move” or second-tier solo artists. Sometimes there were LPs with interesting material such a “The Eternal fire of Jimi Hendrix” which was really a Curtis Knight record where Jimi had been a session player. Sometimes an LP containing original material was slipped in. Usually they were instrumentals from James Last or people pretending to be The Beatles. These LPs are still available for pennies from your local charity shop. One day they may even become collectable (especially the ones Reg Dwight was involved in). Personally I have become fascinated by these records in recent years. Sometimes the versions of Top 40 tunes are indistinguishable from the originals. Sometimes they are laugh-out-loud diabolical. Sometimes they just add a new twist to an old song you used to like.

2 Responses to “Hell Preachers Inc”

  1. Dirigible Says:

    I was once chatted up by a fine-looking ‘lady’ in a Manchester hotel who modelled as a Diana Ross look-alike for those covers albums. Thankfully the barman managed to tell me she was no female before I went to her room!
    But nothing on any of those dreadful lps can compare to James Last’s version of ‘Silver Machine’, I can tell you.
    D


  2. Actually a light orchestral version of “Silver Machine” is something I’d like to hear !! Cindy and Bert’s version of “Paranoid” and Tiny Tim’s version of “Stairway to Heaven” are already great favourites of mine………


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