Bram Stoker - Heavy Rock Spectacular. 1972 England

Windmill was a UK based label that specialized in hokum. With titles like The Beatles Golden Songs (by the Studio Five Orchestra Singers & Chorus), Sing-Along With Phil Tate & The Happy Gang, and Immortal Reggae Hits by Black Funk - you pretty much know these were the albums staring you in the face as you checked out at the counter of your favorite discount nickel and dime with your undies and chewing gum. They were, as collectors call them today, an exploito label. A cash-in job.

And speaking of staring back, there was however one album that looked every bit as silly as the others, but in fact was a legitimate fully realized album. With the day-glo negative image of a mega babe, the album promises the middle aged housewife a Heavy Rock Spectacular - wow! What does that mean? Well to the cynic, it's probably more like happy organ covers of The Beatles, Stones, Doors, etc... right? Wrong. Then is it really a heavy rock album? Of course not. What the hell is it then?

It's a prog rock album, heavy on the keyboards with psychedelic guitar accompaniment and vocals. Not that much different from albums by Morgan, Fields, Duncan Mackay, ELP/The Nice, etc... Some of the tracks borrow from classical music, but they're serious arrangements, not trite renditions. The album is quite consistent, with no real highs - nor lows - but a solid entry for the genre. It's really a tragedy the album was marketed as it was. Had it come out on Polydor, with a Hipgnosis like cover, and a title like Schizo-Poltergeist (wait a minute...), then it would have been more highly revered. As it is though, it remains a curio piece - an album that was completely mishandled in its day.

Personal collection
LP: 1972 Windmill
CD: 1997 Audio Archives (as Schizo-Poltergeist)

Despite the exploito nature of the album, I love the cover all the same, and the original is prominently displayed on my wall of albums. It would have been even better had they left off the track titles from the front, yet another trademark of albums such as this.

The first CD to market was the Audio Archives release, which changed the title and cover art. This was my first introduction to the album. This release seems to obscure all band member involvement, and copyright info. And it's taken from vinyl. So it's probably not one of their legit releases (the label had a few CDs such as this back in this time frame). That isn't the same thing as saying the band didn't benefit. It's possible the rights were tied up somewhere else and everyone hushed up. We may never know the full truth and no one will talk. There are for certain legitimate releases today, that use the original cover and add bonus tracks (recently recorded apparently).

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