I have been trying to buy a copy of Space Ritual for years without any success. There has been one reissue on Back to Black but it was only two thirds of the album which is a bit of a premature moment by anybody’s standards. The original sells for outlandish amounts of money in decent condition and there are not many left in decent condition it seems.
This album may very well be one of the potentially most abused pieces of vinyl ever. It was a record designed for the out of their faces, it is the aural equivalent of a hostile take over of your brains by rampaging barbarians, it is a regime change with no potential for a rational government after. Listening to this album will and has changed your brain by the end of the experience. As such when people played it they may have forgotten to care for the vinyl, spillage and messes follow this thing as a natural outcome of the act of listening.
I have watched many on eBay be described as Near Mint or Ex and wondered how did that really happen? I have even bid on a few over the months stopping at the $30 mark and watching the price be driven up for ridiculous amounts. Pictures show tatty and holed sleeves with stains of dubious origin. You have to wonder how that sounds at the end of the day.
Then I saw it, Rhino records with a release of the whole album, there was very little information apart form it was a double LP and the price on Amazon was $32 so why not.
I ordered and then had a little remorse, it was going to be a disappointment. I cancelled the order once and then re-ordered. There was very little description of what to expect on-line and then I stopped looking.
Obviously a gatefold sleeve at best I thought and then today it arrived in all it’s glory. A recreation of the original album with that amazing foldout sleeve with the space nonsense on the inside six panels of silliness designed by the genius of Barney Bubbles. There was also the six color panels on the outside of cosmic silliness. They even reprinted the inner sleeves.
The label on the shrink wrap states it was cut from the original analog tapes but who can really tell it’s Space Ritual. But maybe this time I can look after it the way I should have done in the first place rather than treating it as a combination coaster, ash tray and drink catcher.
Then I had the thought, how come every re-issue isn’t treated with this much reverence? Where is the foldout Hawk from X In Search of Space and the Eternal Champions shield from Warrior on the Edge of Time? Why oh why can’t they get it right more often. Me and my middle child spent twenty minutes this evening examining every panel in it’s early 70’s loopiness and enjoying the fact that someone finally did it right.