So, thanks to amidar & giantchicken for reminding me to do this, and pointing towards the pretty wonderful ST33 Art of the Vinyl Sleeve blog which had some interesting info on the World Record Club label:
Well I first noticed them when I was getting back into records about five years ago and picked up this for the sleeve, which funnily enough is in ST33's banner.The World Record Club, which had begun life in the mid-50s (and remained) a mail-order only label, used generic sleeves in their early days, but later moved to full colour covers on which they spent a lot of effort to counter the perception of being a budget label. You joined up and got a monthly catalogue to browse (though there was one show store in London). Initially material was classical but they branched out to Easy Listening, Jazz and Pop. Because the records didn’t have to struggle for attention in shop racks, WRC developed a clean style much of their own, with bright photographs and illustrations – some very good, others less so. Once you’ve seen a few, you soon get to recognise the look, and although you only saw them back in the 60s and 70s if you were a WRC member, today a lot ore reaching the second hand market. Titles were generally quite plain in typographic terms. Back covers were always white with black text. The label had their own art director, and much of the cover material was specially commissioned. WRC also operated in America and Australia. The Australian WRC actually set up their own art policy and so most of their sleeves were unique (a book on these is in preparation in Australia and we will review it here as and when). In the mid-70s WRC was purchased by EMI who kept it going for some years.
When I see them out shopping I don't tend to buy them unless they are very, very cheap as the music is not (always) the sort of thing I go for. However, a cursory inspection has indicated I have acquired a few. All of them have that bright, clean, spacey feel that appeals to me alot. Here are some I've just snapped now. Some are better than others, of course.
Finally, the sleeve that amidar (and I'm sure many others) picked up. Do add your own!