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You'll see these records at every record fair and in secondhand record stores. They have a distinctive and unnecessary picture of a small child, apparently smoking on them.
Despite that unpleasant photo, they're lovely records and they sound great. This is the history of them, right? Alright, pour yourself and drink and I'll meet you back here when we're done.
OK so, in 1970 Track began a 14-album Backtrack series. These were budget priced reissues and new compilations of earlier Track recordings, occasionally containing previously unreleased material and rare versions. Mostly they cost less than a pound. This series, which was very unusual for its time, included both Hendrix and the Who's first two Track albums along with works by lesser known Track artists. The reissue albums did not feature any of the original cover art though. The strategy of producing such a large number of reissues was probably a drastic attempt to boost sales as a direct result of the PPX lawsuit which Track had been fighting since 1967. This was all a result of Track facing a lawsuit from Ed Chalpin and his company PPX Enterprises, based in New York City. Chalpin had signed Hendrix to a three-year exclusive recording contract in October 1965. Chalpin viewed the 1966 Hendrix agreement made with Track as a violation of his PPX contract and was later able to claim a large monetary settlement. Boo. Boo.
Track quickly fell into financial trouble because of this, despite huge selling records such as Tommy. They got through it, but were severely diminished. It seem so unfair. They effectively made Hendrix into an almost grotesque money-spinning music machine, who everyone, including Chalpin, wanted to suck the life out of.
All these years later, maybe it ain't changed much.
Eventually, as part of the settlement, they gave Chaplin the rights to the Band Of Gypsys record in America. Track struggled on into the 70s but the glory days were well behind them. Even so, the Backtrack records are a lovely 14 records to collect. These are they.
BACKTRACK ONE: COMPILATION (UK TRACK 2407 001) (STEREO)
Side One: MARSHA HUNT - Walk On Gilded Splinters / JIMI HENDRIX - Hey Joe / ARTHUR BROWN - Devil's Grip / THE WHO - Pictures Of Lily / JIMI HENDRIX - All Along The Watchtower / JOHN'S CHILDREN - Desdemona
Side Two: ARTHUR BROWN - Fire / THE WHO - I Can See For Miles / EIRE APPARENT - Follow Me / ANDY ELLISON - It's Been A Long Time / THE WHO - Call Me Lightning / JIMI HENDRIX - The Wind Cries Mary
BACKTRACK TWO: COMPILATION (UK TRACK 2407 002) (MONO)
Side One: THE WHO - Under My Thumb / MARSHA HUNT - Desdemona / JIMI HENDRIX - Purple Haze / JOHN'S CHILDREN - Come And Play With Me In The Garden / FAIRPORT CONVENTION - If I Had A Ribbon Bow / THE WHO - Magic Bus
Side Two: THUNDERCLAP NEWMAN - Something In The Air / CHERRY SMASH - Sing Songs Of Love / THE WHO - Pinball Wizard / ARTHUR BROWN - Nightmare / JIMI HENDRIX - Let Me Light Your Fire / THE WHO - The Last Time
BACKTRACK THREE: WHO/HENDRIX (UK TRACK 2407 003) (STEREO)
Side One: THE WHO: Substitute / Disguises / Run Run Run / I'm A Boy / Whiskey Man / Happy Jack / So Sad About Us
Side Two: JIMI HENDRIX : Hey Joe / I Don't Live Today / Purple Haze / Can You See Me / The Wind Cries Mary / Stone Free
BACKTRACK FOUR: WHO/HENDRIX (UK TRACK 2407 004) (STEREO)
Side One: THE WHO: Pictures Of Lily / Relax / Sunrise / I Can See For Miles / Armenia City In The Sky / Our Love Was / Call Me Lightning
Side Two: JIMI HENDRIX: Burning Of The Midnight Lamp / Are You Experienced / If Six Was Nine / Remember / Gypsy Eyes / All Along The Watchtower
BACKTRACK FIVE: WHO/HENDRIX (UK TRACK 2407 005) (STEREO)
Side One: THE WHO: Magic Bus / Boris, The Spider / Mary Anne (With The Shaky Hand) / Tattoo / Pinball Wizard / I'm Free / Rael
Side Two: JIMI HENDRIX: Rainy Day, Dream Away / Manic Depression / Love Or Confusion / Come On / Spanish Castle Magic / Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)
BACKTRACK SIX: COMPILATION (UK TRACK 2407 006) (MONO)
Side One: THE SANDPEBBLES - Love Power / THE PARLIAMENTS - I Can Feel The Ice Melting / THE PRECISIONS - If This Is Love (I'd Rather Be Lonely) / THE DEBONAIRES - Headache In My Heart / THE SANDPEBBLES - Because Of Love / THE PARLIAMENTS - Let Hurt Put You In The Loser's Seat
Side Two: THE DEBONAIRES - I'm In Love Again / AL KENT - You've Got To Pay The Price / THE PARLIAMENTS - I Wanna Testify / THE PRECISIONS - You'll Soon Be Gone / THE PARLIAMENTS - Don't Be Sore At Me / AL KENT - Where Do I Go From Here
BACKTRACK SEVEN: 'MIXED BAG' COMPILATION (UK TRACK 2407 007) (STEREO)
Side One: JIMI HENDRIX & CURTIS KNIGHT - How Would You Feel / MARSHA HUNT - Hippy Gumbo / BENT FRAME - It's Only Me / THE WHO - The Seeker / THUNDERCLAP NEWMAN - I See It All / MARSHA HUNT - Keep The Customer Satisfied
Side Two: THE WHO - Summertime Blues / CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN - What's Happening / JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE - Long Hot Summer Night / THUNDERCLAP NEWMAN - Accidents / THE WHO - Here For More / JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE - Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice
BACKTRACK EIGHT: THE WHO 'A QUICK ONE' (UK TRACK 2407 008) (MONO)
Side One: Run, Run, Run / Boris, The Spider / I Need You / Whiskey Man / Heatwave / Cobwebs And Strange
Side Two: Don't Look Away / See My Way / So Sad About Us / A Quick One, While He's Away
BACKTRACK NINE: THE WHO 'THE WHO SELL OUT' (UK TRACK 2407 009) (STEREO)
Side One: Armenia, City In The Sky / Heinz Baked Beans / Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand / Odorono / Tattoo / Our Love Was / I Can See For Miles
Side Two: I Can't Reach You / Medac / Relax / Silas Stingy / Sunrise / Rael (1 and 2) - with continuous play into the run-off groove
BACKTRACK TEN: THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE 'ARE YOU EXPERIENCED' (UK TRACK 2407 010) (MONO)
Side One: Foxy Lady / Manic Depression / Red House / Can You See Me / Love Or Confusion / I Don't Live Today
Side Two: May This Be Love / Fire / 3rd Stone From The Sun / Remember / Are You Experienced
BACKTRACK ELEVEN: THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE 'AXIS BOLD AS LOVE' (UK TRACK 2407 011) (STEREO)
Side One: EXP / Up From The Skies / Spanish Castle Magic / Waiting Until Tomorrow / Ain't No Telling / Little Wing / If Six Was Nine
Side Two: You've Got Me Floating / Castles Made Of Sand / She's So Fine / One Rainy Wish / Little Miss Lover / Bold As Love
BACKTRACK TWELVE: THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN (UK TRACK 2407 012) (STEREO)
Side One: Prelude - Nightmare / Fanfare - Fire Poem / Fire / Come And Buy / Time / Confusion
Side Two: I Put A Spell On You / Spontaneous Apple Creation / Rest Cure / Money / Child Of My Kingdom
BACKTRACK THIRTEEN: MURRAY ROMAN 'YOU CAN'T BEAT PEOPLE UP & HAVE THEM SAY I LOVE YOU (UK TRACK 2407 013) (STEREO)
Side One: Three Kinds Of Highs / That's A Bust / The Banana Thing / Anything You Want To Do... / Good Chicks And Bad Chicks / Three Ways To Score / The Baja Marimba Band Story / The Riots
Side Two: Be There, Be There (Of Course) / Horror Films / Twiggy / Try This, Little Joe! / Good News / Join The Navy / War Films / Our Rael Enemy
BACKTRACK FOURTEEN: THE WHO 'THE OX' (UK TRACK 2407 014) (STEREO)
Side One: Heinz Baked Beans/ Heaven & Hell / Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde / Fiddle About / Cousin Kevin / Doctor, Doctor
Side Two: Medac / Boris The Spider / I've Been Away / Whiskey Man / In The City / Someone's Coming / Silas Stingy