Rach returned from a recent op-shop expedition with a couple of additions to the record collection, one of which was a K-Tel compilation from 1973 called Souled Out! As you might guess from the title, it gathers together a number of soul hits from the ’60s and early ’70s. We gave it a spin last night, and it’s a great record, but what caught my eye was an advertisement on the back cover for the K-Tel Record Selector.
If you’re younger than about 30, you will probably struggle to remember the K-Tel Record Selector, or even K-Tel for that matter. Though for many Australians K-Tel will always be associated with TV ads flogging dodgy compilation albums, it is in fact an American company that began with door-to-door kitchenware sales, before moving into the music business. K-Tel is allegedly responsible for releasing the world’s first “compilation” album, 25 Great Country Artists Singing Their Original Hits, in 1966.
Anyway, back to the K-Tel Record Selector. It’s nothing more or less than a simple plastic storage rack for vinyl LPs:
I can’t improve upon the ad copy on the back of Souled Out:
Record Selector is a new space age device for storing and selecting your favourite records. Simply place all your albums in record selector, move the first record forward and all the other records flip slowly forward. When the selector reaches the album you wish to play, simply remove it and return all albums to their starting positions. When you wish to return the album to the record selector, again flip the first record forward. The other albums will automatically flip slowly forward and the selector will stop at the spot where the record was removed. You can then replace the album.
Below this text is a series of bullet points, summarising the many outstanding features of the Record Selector:
- Finger touch starting
- Runs fast or slow
- Works like a computer
- Find your favourite music in seconds
- Holds 24 records
Firstly, to address the most obviously ridiculous part of the above spiel, this is no “space age device”. It’s a milk crate with the sides cut off. And it works like a computer? Of course, because when I need to find a document on my computer I tell it to start at the first one and proceed slowly through each document until it chances upon the one I’m after. I also doubt that the records will “flip slowly forward”. More likely, at the slightest touch, the entire contents of the Record Selector will topple forward like dominos, sending your valuable vinyl rolling across the rumpus room floor.
Seriously, I can’t see how this device is any more efficient than a cardboard box and careful application of the concept of alphabetical order. And it only holds 24 records! The Record Selector is, however, a very efficient way of extracting $3.99 for a shonky piece of plastic whose design is based solely on the earth’s gravitational pull.
So, I know the question on your lips right now is, “Where can I get one?”
Once again, from the back cover of Souled Out:
This record selector is available now from your nearest Majestic Record retailer at $3.99, or enquire from K-TEL International (Aust.) Limited, 46 Pyrmont Bridge Road, Pyrmont, 2009.
Sadly, K-TEL went belly up in 2007, when it was “taken private in a 1 to 5000 reverse split” – whatever that means – so I doubt that enquiring at 46 Pyrmont Bridge Road will get you very far.
P.S. Check out the fantastic K-Tel blog to enter compilation album nirvana (those aren’t the real covers by the way).