Following the success of the Rock Machine albums CBS came up with a trio of new samplers during 1970 and 1971. First up in March 1970 was Fill Your Head With Rock. Priced at 29s/11d (£1.50) and boldly subtitled “The Sound of the Seventies” it broke new ground by extending the format to a double album for the first time. Resplendent on the cover, bare-chested with long hair flying, was a colourised image of Jerry Goodman, violinist with Chicago jazz rockers the Flock (but soon to join the Mahavishnu Orchestra). The iconic photograph was the same one used on the back cover of the Flock’s self-titled CBS debut album, except much larger and in colour. “The Sound of the Seventies” tag was used to advertise many CBS LPs during 1970.
The Transatlantic samplers are so numerous and diverse they really deserve a lengthy article to themselves. Almost alone among the UK labels Transatlantic pioneered the single artist sampler with a dedicated numbering series separating them from the full-price releases. Between 1968 - 1977 the label issued over 40 LPs with the TRA SAM prefix (Transatlantic Sampler), of which at least 28 were devoted to one artist, either as an introduction to their work, or as a budget reissue of an earlier full-price album. Only Decca records (see below) released more budget samplers in the UK.
Below is a list of the TRA SAM releases. Starting in 1968 with a couple of various artist compilations Here’s To The Irish and Listen Here (A Transatlantic Sampler), the big sellers came the following year with two samplers each from Bert Jansch, John Renbourn and Pentangle. The early Transatlantic samplers retailed between 14s/11d (75p) and 15s/5d (77p) [hence the title of TRA SAM 3], rising to around £1 in the 70s.
Most World Of LPs need not detain us here, but with so many titles released (an average of more than 50 per year for a decade) it’s inevitable some would be of interest to rock, blues and folk fans. Moving swiftly past the seemingly endless list of MOR, classical and easy listening titles (including the Bachelors and Val Doonican with no less than five volumes each!) there are some real gems to be had, with around 40 World Of LPs worthy of attention. Listed below are what I consider to be the most interesting titles in the series. Some of the comedy releases by the likes of Kenneth Williams, the Goodies, the Goons and Benny Hill are also worth checking out, but I’m sticking with the rock/pop/folk LPs here.
There are over 500 titles in Decca’s World Of series and, just so you don't have to, I’ve waded through every single one of them. Here's what I consider to be 43 of the best releases.