In the Lap of the Gods.

A few days ago… well, look, I won’t lie to you, it was two weeks ago, Killer Queen by Queen was playing on the wireless, you know the one, “She keeps Moët et Chandon, in her pretty cabinet…” and as the song finished and faded into the next song on the radio station’s playlist, in my head I segued into the next track on the album from which Killer Queen comes, that album being 1974’s Sheer Heart Attack. I even started to sing along to that next track, “I am forever searching high and low…”

Then I stopped and thought, Lily of the Valley? Is that the next track?
I had to stop what I was doing, which let’s face it wasn’t much, and go and dig the album out and look. True, I could have asked the interweb but as I had the album I thought I’d be old school and actually go and look.

I was wrong, the track after Killer Queen is Tenement Funster and then Flick of the Wrist and then Lily of the Valley… I decided there and then that as I obviously hadn’t listened to the album in its entirety for a goodly while, it was high time that I did listen to it.

So here I am two weeks later, and I’ve just listened to Sheer Heart Attack, all the way through as albums should be listened to, and after reacquainting myself with the songs and their running order I can say, “Yeah, what an album! Brighton Rock, what an opener!” And think smugly to myself that forty-eight-year-old vinyl still sounds good.

The cover though, that’s another matter. Maybe they didn’t expect these things to last so long but the glue that holds the cover together is failing, that on the bottom edge has failed completely and the top isn’t far behind. This failing glue though, and it’s not just confined to this one album, has allowed us to finally see the inside of the covers.

Not that there’s anything to see inside most of the time but back in the day, once you’d removed the inner sleeve and its precious vinyl cargo, the lyric sheet if there was one and any stickers that might be included along with cut-out sergeant’s stripes and moustaches (I’m thinking the Beatles and Pink Floyd here but others did throw in the odd freebie), you’d hold open the sleeve and peer inside just on the off chance that there was something else in there.
No? Was that just me then? 😀

Anyway, the hidden and secretive depths of the album sleeve were a mystery. Sometimes the record shop has written or stamped something just inside the cover and sometimes the artwork made a feint of continuing down into those depths but mostly it was just plain cardboard.

It was even worse with double albums and gatefold sleeves, there were two secret places to tempt you and in the case of single albums with gatefold sleeves, one end was glued shut! Such a temptation to prise it open or try to see into the other ‘side’ from the open end. Plain cardboard but somehow alluring and now due to the ravages of time and failing glue, those secret depths are being revealed.

The vinyl though, that played through without a hitch and it did sound good, so that’s a result.

And In the Lap of the Gods? Opens side 2 and closes it with, In the Lap of the Gods… Revisited.
But you knew that, right? 😉

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