No trip to Newcastle (the one in Australia on the New South Wales north coast) can go without a visit to one of my favourite second-hand record store haunts – Antique Sounds on King Street. Its a tiny little shop that is literally chock full with a wide range of second-hand items – from clocks, to clothing, bakelite radios, trinkets, toys….you name it and its probably there.
Up the back of the shop are racks and racks of old vinyl and amongst them many Beatles and Beatles-related collectables. To be perfectly honest most of these are not in the best condition or what you might call at the high-grade end of the collectable spectrum. And for the condition that some of the items are in the owner is usually asking an inflated price. But, the thing about this store is that you just never know what you might find.
The other day I had to pass through Newcastle briefly and so dropped in.
While there I discovered a nice clean copy of an interesting Beatles-related 12-inch vinyl disc I have had on my “should get” list for some time: Harry Nilsson’s “Son of Dracula”, which is the soundtrack to the Apple film of the same name.
Way back in 1974 Apple Corps, the Beatles’ company, was still operating its soon to be defunct Apple Film division. When they first set up Apple the Beatles always envisioned a film arm and, while not prolific, some films they made include the well-known “The Concert for Bangladesh” and the lesser known “Born to Boogie”, a concert film featuring T-Rex and Marc Bolan – directed by Ringo Starr.
Well ahead of the present-day fascination with vampires, “Son of Dracula” was billed as “the first rock-n-roll Dracula movie musical”. It starred Nilsson, Ringo Starr, Peter Frampton, John Bonham and Keith Moon….
Apparently it wasn’t much of a film – but the soundtrack and songs provided by Harry Nilsson (still relatively fresh and marketable from his huge, world-wide hit album “Nilsson Schmilsson”) along with contributions from legendary orchestrator Paul Buckmaster, had some really great songs – all largely taken from the LP’s “Nilsson Schmilsson” and its follow-up “Son of Schmilsson”).
I already had the Australian release of this record – which came out here with a very plain, single sleeve cover, and on the standard orange-coloured RCA record label. However, the original US pressings were released with a unique cover, complete with opening bat wings (see pics below):
“Son of Dracula” is also interesting to Beatles collectors because it was on something of a unique hybrid label called Rapple Records. There isn’t a lot of detail about this but I can only assume that as Nilsson was contracted to RCA at the time, and this was an Apple film, they decided to combine RCA and Apple and came up with the name Rapple! Its the only time this label was ever used to my knowledge. I like it because they also created a custom record label for the project, complete with a half-eaten apple….perhaps a sign of things to come as the company slowly self-destructed:
So, another junk shop treasure to add to the collection: an original US pressing (in great condition) of 1974’s “Son of Dracula” – on the intriguing Rapple Records.
Harry Nilsson’s own site has some further reading and pictures from the project if you are interested.
(By the way, the record cost me $8.00 Australian).