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This evening I’ve been going through my record collection (and lamenting a recent failed attempt to buy a replacement stylus in Bovey Tracey) and it struck me how, over the years, DBLW has always kept pace with emerging trends in the music business.

Take this record by Maddy Genets. I think these French musicians must have nipped across la Manche on a day trip to Appleton March before they put together this look. It’s classic DBLW. The men probably got kitted out at Modern Man, the other side of the Sue Ryder shop. Considering it is an album cover I think she could have made a bit more of an effort with her posture, which doesn’t show off the dress to its best. And I notice she’s rolled up the sleeves which is a bit workmanlike considering she’s the one without an instrument. They look as though they’re having a good time though.

For a few weeks Joyce cornered the market in mid-tempo love ballads, and this lady knew exactly what to do with her sleeves. If I had one criticism it would be that a red rose doesn’t stand out very well against this 60% viscose and 40% polyester dress. We still sell this same design. Ordinarily, I’m not a fan of big glasses but I think these work really well with Joyce’s perm. A bit Jill Gascoine I thought. Mind you, if  was her I’d be furious about the artwork and whoever put that line through her head. Omen-like premonition or straightforward incompetence?  From the expression on Joyce’s face I’d say she’s trying to make the best of it.

The Sherwood Singers, in their day, were the height of fashion. Seen here on the cover of their album Something Special this wholesome, knowing sixsome prove that great styling never looks out of place whatever the setting. These young people looked relaxed and happy although the redhead has more reason to look pleased with herself, having baggsied the comfy armchair. And it’s neither here nor there but it does look uncannily like Flo’s front room. Imagine coming home to find the Sherwood Singers sat in your front room in this arrangement! That would be very unsettling. Back to those dresses. The hems are high and so are the necks, it was a good look at the time. I just can’t get over how beautifully fitted these dresses are; not off the peg I can assure you.

For a few months the Braillettes were the number one blind girl group in the world. What pleased me looking at this album cover was that the girls’ stylist hadn’t taken advantage of the situation – how easy it would have been to stick any old frock on them and take the money. They’re all smiling, possibly because someone they trust has told them they look fabulous. Our Hearts Keep Singing wasn’t a very good record though, not in my opinion. It was an impulse buy on a day trip to Torquay. I bought it for the novelty value which is never a good reason. It was a mistake. There were no foot-tappers and the vocals were all over the place.

Here’s an interesting album from the eponymous Christian Crusaders. For me, what we’re seeing here is nothing less than the birth of ‘girl power’. It’s also an example of how there is such a thing as the right outfit just as there is a right time and a right place. The cravat, blouse and printed skirt combo are perfectly judged. The bride accompanied by her less flatteringly attired bridesmaids; the oldest trick in the book. I can’t remember the circumstances behind the purchase of this record and I can’t ever remember playing it, but as my body clock ticks down perhaps a bit of Christian Crusading wouldn’t go amiss.

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