Double Grooved Records Offer Twice The Fun/Headaches

record grooves
it’s all there in the grooves…twice, this time – photo: Mark Schulte

The notion of a double grooved record first slapped me in the face when I had borrowed my good friend chasinvictoria’s “Matching Tie + Handkerchief” to hear it when we were still in high school [40+ years ago]. But at the time I was unaware of it! I only knew that side B sure seemed to end very quickly. Eventually I realized the level of trickery necessary to play the whole side and finally got to hear my beloved “Oscar Wilde” sketch; possibly my favorite Monty Python moment. But recently, I was committing my Blow Monkeys collection to digitization, and came across the next

blow monkeys - wicked ways double grooved Uk 12" cover art
RCA | UK | 12″ | 1986 | MONK TG 2

The Blow Monkeys: Wicked Ways [Double Grooved} – UK – 12″ [1986]

  1. Wicked Ways [longer]
  2. Wildflower
  3. Wicked Ways [instrumental]
  4. Walking The Blue Beat

I had bought the UK 12″ of The Blow Monkey’s “Wicked Ways, ” and so had my friend, The RAHB. In fact, it was he who acted first after I shared the “Digging Your Scene” viddy with him and he wasted less time than I did in buying a copy of “Animal Magic.” He let me know that this group was no flash in the pan and needed action! So one one of our record buying jaunts he saw the second UK 12″ with the cover trumpeting the parallel grooves so he beat me to this record. The instrumental mix of “Wicked Ways” was the big bait here, apart from the novelty of the format.

I’ve subsequently seen that the instrumental remix by famed DJ John Morales was also on various UK/US promo 12″ singles, but recently I played this record to have all of The Blow Monkeys records on my racks digitized for the big barrel full of Blow Monkeys BSOG that I hope to make in my lifetime. The record’s owner, The RAHB, encouraged me many years ago to sift through his remaining vinyl to take select items for digitization for safekeeping.

I have to admit, that the frustration of trying to queue up the correct groove to hear the instrumental track took me much longer than I would have preferred. It’s a crude, basically random process that took numerous needle drops to hit the correct groove, so I’m glad that this was not a heavily used gambit. I can imagine that making a record like this is an even bigger pain for the cutting engineer who was tasked to do this!


martha + The Muffins - saigon cover art
Dindisc | UK | 7″ | 1980 | DIN 17

Martha + the Muffins: Saigon – UK – 7″ [1980]

  1. Saigon
  2. Copacabana
  3. Copacabana [backwards]

The only other parallel grooved record in my Record Cell, according to a sort in Discogs, which is a your-mileage-may-vary phenomenon, is the “Saigon” single by Martha + The Muffins. The A-side was a standard issue of the track from “Metro Music,” but the B-side was placed on side-B twice. One forward, and once backward, which I’m sure would be a very disorienting experience. With the band almost pranking the listener.

This is a record I bought a dozen years ago but have yet to actually play, in accordance with my usual neurosis. But Discogs tells us that the timing of the, presumably instrumental] B-side was only 1:20 long, so there was probably no groove cramming done to achieve this pressing.

The idea of running across a record that didn’t mention it as the Blow Monkeys record helpfully did, just might be the sort of thing to really irritate me. But by the same token, before I looked into “multi-sided” records as they are sometimes called, I had the impression that I had a few more of such discs in my Record Cell, and was surprised when only these two came up in my search.

How about you, dear reader? Are there other “gimmix”records out there that would be at home on Post-Punk Monk with parallel grooves in your collection that you can mention in the comments? There’s no better time than now to discuss.

-30-

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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9 Responses to Double Grooved Records Offer Twice The Fun/Headaches

  1. uofsc93 says:

    De La Soul’s Me Myself & I 12” also has the same.

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  2. Nick says:

    I thought the most famous one was the 12inch of M’s Pop Muzik…I have German and Dutch 12s of this that was double grooved but I know the UK 12 was too

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  3. iac4ad says:

    That is a great Martha and the Muffins single – it’s a sharper, tighter remix of the album version on the A side that I don’t think has ever surfaced in CD, you should give it a spin for sure. As far double-grooved goes, the obvious one that springs to mind for me is the wonderful ‘Pop Muzik’ by M, of which a double-grooved 12” edition is out there which lets you play either the regular mix of ‘Pop Musik’ or ‘M Factor’, while the B side just plays the 12” mix of ‘Pop Muzik’.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      iac4ad – You remind me that I only need a few releases to round up a rarity collection for Martha + the Muffins. And now I can add the remix of “Saigon” to that tally, though my M.O. these days is to digitize EVERYTHING I have on vinyl by an artist so as not to miss “buried treasures” this this might have been. Helpful labels declaring a track a remix are not a given. Here in America, the “Pop Muzik” 12″ was a standard release, and since it was a huge hit and widely available, I can’t remember seeing the import manifest.

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  4. thxdave says:

    Monty Python’s “Matching Tie…” was my first experience with the double groove. I had a buddy over and wanted to play a cut for him but couldn’t find it despite several tries. He thought I’d lost my mind until the tonearm finally dropped into the right groove. Fun times!

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  5. Rob Harris says:

    I’ll take your ‘two grooves’ and raise it… the fourth side of the 1981 double album “You’re The Guy I Want To Share My Money With” – by Laurie Anderson, John Giorno And William Burroughs – has three grooves. Each artist has a side, while the fourth is split between them.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Rob Harris – Welcome to the comments! What an equitable solution.If that album had come out a decade later, I suspect that it would have been a three-sided 2xLP with the 4th side etched as 90 minute 2xLPs gave way to 74 min CDs.

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