Rare vinyl recorded in Rainham home
It might look like any other
ordinary mid-terrace house.
But more than 40 years ago, a hard-up
blues band recorded an album in the living room of this Rainham
home, which would go on to become one the world’s rarest
The Backhouse James’ Blues Band
recorded 10 tracks in the front room of the house in Roberts Road
in 1968 and only 30 copies of the album were ever produced.
One resides in the huge vinyl
archive of the legendary late DJ John Peel, but most of the others
have been lost to history.
Now a copy of the ultra-scarce
home-made album – complete with a track listing scrawled in biro –
has been snapped up by a mystery buyer from Germany. The LP went on
sale online and sold for £1,800.
Julian Thomas, from the rare vinyl
website www.991.com, based in Meopham, who sold the album, said:
"This is rarer than hen’s teeth.
"It’s astonishing that a low-key
record by an obscure English group has become such a ‘holy grail’
for collectors of rare vinyl.
"This is one of the rarest albums
in the world and it’s been sought after for decades. It was even
considered collectible in its day."
He added: "It’s a really quirky,
idiosyncratic record which is a kind of forerunner of punk – not in
its sound, which is quite traditional, but in the manner in which
it was made.
"They were obviously fiercely
independent and totally against the idea of compromising or
polishing up their sound for commercial success. It’s hard to know
what they would think of their DIY effort becoming such a
The cover bears the cautionary advice: "Recorded in
the front room of a private house, every track done in the first
take, and no dubbing or superimposing, therefore producing a ‘live’
sound, which can be faithfully reproduced on stage."
Julie and David Aiken, who live at
the house in Roberts Road, had no idea their living room was such
landmark in vinyl history until they were approached by the Medway
Julie, who was born in Marshall Road the same year the album was
recorded, said: "It will be interesting to find out what it sounds
like. We’ve never found a copy in the loft, but we might have a
look for one now."
Richard Austin from 991.com said
the album has become a collector’s item because of a combination of
the way it was recorded, the few number of copies and the style of
He added: "It was very unusual
in those days to do authentic blues style like it. Even at the time
the albums were selling for three times the cost of an
Little is known about the band
members themselves - singer and bassist Bob Mullet, drummer John
Taylor, keyboard player ‘Spot’ Velovitch and guitarist Barry
Bailey came closest to fame when
he auditioned – unsuccessfully – to replace Eric Clapton in John
Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in 1966, when Clapton left to form
The 14 ‘mono’ tracks on the
album are said to be undistinguished blues in the then fashionable
style of bands like Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated.
Ten songs on the album were recorded in the house in
Roberts Road, along with a harmonica player called Tim Harris. A
further four were captured live in front of an invited audience at
a concert at the Aurora Hotel, now the Kings Charles Hotel, in
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