Picked up this fabulous LP recently.
Exactly as the cover implies, it's a collection of old pub standards delivered with bellowing, pissed-up imprecision by what would seem to be a genuinely assembled crowd of booze-crazed wastrels.
I'm not sure if the piss artists performing are the same ones saluting us from the magnificent cover, though I suppose it is unlikely. A shame, because they look like a great crowd. I particularly like the chap on the right, who resembles the actor Norman Eshley, and the one in the background, leering sinisterly from between the one that looks like a country solicitor and the redhead in the denim suit.
Also, though it's probably less striking in this scan than it is on the cover itself, the barman looks like, but presumably can't be, a cardboard cut-out.
The album dates from 1974, and 'Stereo Gold Award' is the name of the label, not an indication that it actually won any kind of award.
There's a slight possibility that it was meant to provide 'English atmosphere' abroad, perhaps for ex-pats or English theme pubs. The sleeve notes read like the instructions you get with Japanese stocking-fillers:
Young and old alike are invited to this foot tapping "glasses up" sing along party with the Rowdies. You pay yer money and you gets the choice collection of good time well known songs on wax today. Here's the ones we love to sing whenever happy folks get together. And if you're all alone, come as a solo it'll put a smile on your face and a bit of sing along magic in your heart.
These ones we love to sing whenever happy folks get together include Underneath the Arches, I Belong to Glasgow and Ilkley Moor Ba'tat. It's infectious fun for sure, but the thought of someone who really is all alone resorting to Sing Along With The Rowdies in order to put a bit of sing along magic in their hearts is a genuinely poignant one.
Strangely, though the album is generally cagey about naming those responsible - no producer is credited, and exactly who the Rowdies are is never revealed - it does tell us that the cover photo was taken by Julian Ruthven at the White Hart, Harlington, Middlesex.
This pub still exists, so I shall write to them to see what they can tell me about the Rowdies.
Watch this space...