SRT

             

Founded by Dave Richardson and ex-Tornados-guitarist George Bellamy, SRT - Stereo Records and Tapes - appears to have been mainly a custom-recording firm; in that capacity it was responsible for the production of a number of DIY Punk / New Wave singles, on various labels.  The actual SRT label seems to have featured mostly self-financed or home-taped recordings by Club or Cabaret artists, but the company did sign acts and release records: Billboard of the 16th of November 1974 refers to it signing a band called the Second City Sound and reports that it had a success with a Mick Abrahams guitar tutor LP.  Amidst all the amateur things, therefore, are singles by well-known names such as the Tornados, Jet Harris and Screaming Lord Sutch.  Sometimes the fact that the single was a custom recording was made clear on the label (5, 7), but not always.
For several years all catalogue numbers were in the SRTS-xx000s, where 'xx' apparently represents the year in which the recording was made: for example, SRTS-75355 was recorded in 1975, and SRTS-79424 in 1979.  Recordings made at the end of one year could be released in the following year, as was the case with the Def Leppard EP, 'Ride Into The Sun' (SRTS/78/CUS-232), which was recorded in November 1978 and issued in January 1979 (on the 'Bludgeon Riffola' label).  I have yet to find a record with a number in the SRTS-74000s, which suggests that the 73000 series was continued through 1974 for some reason.   This SRTS-xx000 series continued to be used for what appear to be actual SRT issues throughout the '70s, but from some time in 1974 the company adopted a different numbering system for its custom pressings.  Initially they were numbered in the CUSTOM-000s (10) but after around half a dozen issues the CUSTOM prefix was replaced by an SRT/CUSTOM one (11), which was soon shortened to SRT/CUS, or SRTS/CUS for stereo records (12).  The only reference to SRT on the labels of these custom recordings was in the catalogue numbers; a state of affairs that continued throughout the decade and beyond.  In 1977 the catalogue numbers gained a '77' in front of the 000, becoming SRTS CUS-77000s; the extra digits were moved between the SRT and the CUS the following year, giving SRTS/xx/CUS/000.  Again the 'xx' seems to stand for the year of recording, SRTS/80/CUS-741 being from 1980.  Records which came out on labels other than SRT and had catalogue numbers appropriate to those labels seem to have been given an 'S' prefix instead of an 'SRTS' one to their SRT numbers.  I haven't as yet discovered when SRT started making records; I have yet to find an SRT single numbered in anything earlier than the SRTS-71100s, so if the first two numbers do usually indicate the year it's possible that the company started making recordings in 1971 and that the first one was numbered 71101.  Singles and albums shared the same numerical series but had slightly different prefixes.
The earliest SRT label that I have seen is the black-on-yellow one (1), the scan of which comes by courtesy of 45cat.com and Ian Pakes; this also came in red (2), orange (3) and silver-on-red.  In 1973 the 'forbids' at the bottom of the label grew in size and moved to the top (4); the colours changed to silver-on-black or occasionally black-on-white - the scan of the white 'non-custom' label (6) was supplied by Robert Bowes, as was the 'SRT/CUS' one (11).  The black labels seem to have been replaced by grey ones with a picture of a mixing desk on (8) for SRT's own issues in 1975; occasionally the word 'Records' was added above the spindle hole (9).  Plain labels in a variety of different colours (13, 14, 15) replaced the black ones on custom pressings in or around 1977.  While SRT never enjoyed any kind of Chart success, it appears to have built up a solid reputation and a wide client base by pressing other people's records, and it was still going in 1995.  The discography below lists the few custom pressings that I have been able to trace, as well as the singles which Music Master lists as being issues, and it only covers the 1970s.   As can be seen, records with 'SRT/XX/CUS' catalogue numbers often appeared on other (DIY) labels, singles with S/79/CUS numbers appear to always have been on other labels.  Distribution of the issues was generally by one or more of the Lugton / Enterprise / H. R. Taylor triumvirate.  As far as manufacture is concerned, the few post-1972 SRT records that I have seen in the vinyl have been Orlake products.  Thanks to Sid Stovold for the thirteenth scan, and to him and Stephen Small for discographical input. 

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Copyright 2006 Robert Lyons.