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May 31, 2003

That Pesky Album Art

The list of Not Found On Google cover art now stands at four; the Huw & Tony Williams mentioned below, two Early Learning Centre children's albums (Bop Till You Drop and Space Boogie, for what it's worth), and the first, self-titled Rose Among Thorns album. I'm sure the count of ephemeral kiddie music that nobody has ever bothered to produce a tribute website for will rise, too.

General appeal to the web: do any of you have a copy of The Circle and the Square by Red Box? This is now right at the tippy top of the list of albums I mistakenly bought in an insufficiently electronic format. Hey, it was 1986, ok? I didn't have a CD player then, and although I played my cassette until it was basically worn through, I didn't ever get round to replacing it with a CD. In the late 80s it was quite obvious that nothing would ever be deleted again and that all really interesting music would be available for ever. At any rate, either Red Box were ten years ahead of their time, or all the world-fusion-celtic-y music we're listening to these days is because every Brit of my age was imprinted on "Lean on Me" and "For America", both of which were huge hits.

My idle day of futzing about sorting music out on the computer was shockingly interrupted at 4pm, when the doorbell rang. "We're not expecting anyone," I said to the kids. "Oh, yes, you are," explained Pam Wells from outside the front door. I checked our various electronic and paper diaries, who nodded emphatically and confirmed that yes, they were all expecting Pam to come and stay for the weekend. Steven and I were, meanwhile, astonished. Luckily, she brought scones with her and seems broadly immune to chaos.

Posted by Alison at May 31, 2003 02:10 AM


Red Box...wow. I don't think I've heard "For America" since the eighties, but now I've got the catchy "Ye-di-di-yeh, ye-di-di-yoh" chorus bits running through my my head on continuous loop.

I suppose I could order the import from Amazon or wait until a copy comes up on eBay, but that seems like too much effort (and expense) just to listen to a single song again. Isn't this one of the holes music download services ought to be filling? (Kazaa...mumble mumble...but I'd prefer a legitimate solution.)

Posted by: Martin Sutherland at May 31, 2003 09:18 AM

I believe the import's not actually available (the amazon.com listing has the depressing sidebar 'Sell Your Copy; 11 buyers waiting!). I joined the Red Box Yahoo Group, who mentioned that amazon.de has the import listed on '4-6 weeks delivery', and invited members to report back if they actually got hold of a copy by this route. Back before I had Enough Disposable Income, I specifically rejected buying a Japanese import from an American website; I regret that decision now.

My one Napster experience was my attempt to get hold of tracks by Red Box. I spent about a week on it (this was before we had broadband), and got really quite good versions of four songs, and partial versions of two more. "Not Worth The Candle" was my tentative conclusion.

And yes, it's a great mystery to me why every record company in the world isn't trawling through its back catalogue, putting everything online that anyone might conceivably be interested in as fast as possible. Money for old rope. It seems like the natural way to sell music which isn't sufficiently commercial for a re-release.

In the case of The Circle and the Square, Simon Toulson-Clarke has the master tapes in a cupboard in his flat, so it might be tricky; but there's certainly enough interest to justify an e-issue of this CD and the second Red Box CD, "Motive".

Posted by: Alison Scott at May 31, 2003 11:27 AM

I just found the CDs on eBay: Circle And The Square (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2534335771&category=1573), currently going for about 30, and Motive (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2534330350&category=1057) for 16. Both have a few days left to run, so chances are the prices will go higher.

I never seem to have much luck with music on eBay. Books are fine, but I always seem to get outbid on CDs. I've been trying to track down a copy of Steve Booker's "Dreamworld" for ages now, and I've missed out on all three copies I've seen. I suppose the answer is "bid more", but goshdarnit, all I want is a *listening copy*. I'm not after it for its collectable value. I just want to replace my worn-out tape.

Posted by: Martin Sutherland at May 31, 2003 11:21 PM

Good choice of thread my people.

Please join the Red Box group and browse the website. Happy hunting,


Posted by: Lewis Slade at June 28, 2003 11:23 PM

A good place to look for CD issues of apparently deleted music is Andy's Records in Cambridge and elsewhere. Through their second hand record business, they've sometimes put together a CD from tracks salvaged from several discs with master tapes when they can get hold of them. (E.g. their reissue of Kip of the Serenes by Dr. Strangely Strange, where there was clearly one unrecoverable track at the start of what would have been side 2 of the LP; it goes graunch scrumble for a second or two -- perhaps this is also why there are 10 tracks listed on the insert and there are 10 tracks on the CD, but they are not exactly the same ones.)

Posted by: David at July 12, 2003 07:50 PM

www.gemm.com has lots of old CDs. I tried there to buy a Japanese import (Japan was the only place that ever got The Circle and the Square on CD, I think), which was listed with two sellers at about 35. Nothing came of it. They are as rare as hen's teeth. I might have an electronic copy of the album somewhere, though.

Posted by: Ben at October 7, 2003 09:36 AM

Would the person who wanted the artwork for the Rosemary's Sister album like me to send it to them.

Huw Williams

Posted by: Huw Williams at December 12, 2003 02:51 PM

Gosh. Huw Williams, posting in my little blog. {wipes front of pinny, checks hair, and wishes she'd thought to put a batch of scones on}

Posted by: Alison Scott at December 12, 2003 04:05 PM

I have an original LP of 'The Circle and The Sqaure' which I have transerred to CD and removed the crackle with software. It sounds quite good, but I'd still like to buy the CD someday!

Posted by: Andy at October 24, 2004 08:19 PM

I am always interested in support for a re-release of The Circle and The Square. It's true, the masters are in my attic, but I need two 2" 24-track tape machines to revisit this album with any degree of control. Alternatively, the mix masters (finished stereo mixes ) will still be at WEA records or East West records. Those are the guys to make aware of the demand and current rarity of the CD. Also Max Hole now at Universal records in London was a supporter and could maybe make it happen. Suggest writing to these 3 parties- oh and request the songs on radio stations; that's how to keep a supply of oxygen

trickling through the material. And thanks for such ardent love for a record into which I put heart and soul.

Simon Toulson Clarke

Posted by: Simon Toulson Clarke at December 22, 2004 09:42 PM

Hi Simon,

I found your comments on your fantastic album whilst trying to find a copy of it somewhere in the ether. I had the album on tape and for months when I was in my teens I went to sleep listening to it. Sadly and stupidly it went with a load of tapes to a boot sale whilst making space for CDs. I have been searching for a couple of years with no luck. At the moment there is a copy on Ebay for 62.00 with a day and a half to go so it will go for more. Its the same everywhere I look people are looking for your album. I dont know the politics of the music industry but you created a masterpiece which should be heard by many more people and if it is in your power please consider doing something about it.

Posted by: Mike Kendrick at January 22, 2005 12:13 AM

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