Middle Earth is the legendary hard to find label with the Sauron’s Eye logo. At a Record Fair in Brighton, one stall was selling an empty Middle Earth 45 company sleeve for £15, just for some optimistic punter who hoped to find a single without a sleeve one day.
It was satisfyingly short-lived, with just five LP releases. It was run by Brian Waldman, and the name comes from his Middle Earth club. The club was in King Street, Covent Garden and a competitor of The Roundhouse.
The advert makes it clear why it was so famous in its 1967 to 1968 heyday. However, Waldman did not persuade either Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, Fairport Convention nor Al Stewart to record on the label. The original club had closed before the label started, but continued to present shows at The Roundhouse, where Jefferson Airplane and The Doors played their first UK concerts. Led Zeppelin played their first gig there.
Earthed: Compilation sampler LP
The label was started in association with Chess Records, which accounts for its Pye tie-in for distribution.
Writing On The Wall were a Scottish band, managed by Waldman, whose Middle Earth LP was entitled Power of The Picts. (MDSL 303). They’re described as ‘psychedelic heavy blues.’
Child On A Crossing is the 45 you’re most likely to find, but even then chances are remote. Online prices run from £20 to £95, but I’ve never seen one. At £20 you get Side one plays through with some surface side 2 doesn’t play through sticks as badly marked side 2 poor.
The second 45 was Sing My Song by Arcadium. As it books at four times the value of Writing On The Wall’s disc, it must be correspondingly scarcer.
The Arcadium LP Breathe Awhile is highly collectable, ‘Very Good Plus’ copies are listed on Discogs at £500 to £1700. At £500 you get “Mid-size liquid stain to back cover. “sample record not for sale” sticker to side B label.” It was also renowned for being poorly recorded.
Other artists are Sweet Plum (Lazy Day, MDS103) and Set The Wheels in Motion MDS105), Tam White (Lewis Carroll, MDS 104.
A Handful of Fragrant Delites: The Wooden O
Tam White: Tam White
There is a sampler 7” promo with Aries by Writing On The Wall, Overture by Wooden “O” and Poor Lady by Arcadium.