The 7-inch 45-rpm vinyl EP (extended play) record was a phenomenon of the 1950s and 1960s. Usually containing four tracks, the EP represented a mid-priced alternative between the two-track single and the more expensive 10-inch or 12-inch 33-rpm long-playing (LP) record. Often the EP was a relatively inexpensive (if fragmented) way to acquire music that was otherwise available only on LPs. Unlike singles, however, EPs typically came in a durable cardboard sleeve, with artwork, recording details, and, in most cases, sleeve notes.

Chris Barber's EPs had a variety of purposes. In some cases (such as the Royal Festival Hall EPs from 1954 and 1955), this was the first medium in which the music was released, occasionally to appear on LP later. In other cases, the music was a selection of tunes from an LP, a good example being Chris Barber Special, which included three tracks from the Echoes Of Harlem LP. Occasionally (until the dawn of the CD era) some selections never appeared elsewhere or only sporadically on singles (Chris Barber Plus One, Minus One, and the sequence of "feature EPs" on Columbia for Ottilie Patterson, Monty Sunshine, Pat Halcox, Ian Wheeler, and Chris Barber). A last category was compilations from several previous recordings, most notably the Chris Barber Jazz Parade series on Pye/Nixa (although occasionally, perhaps in an effort to boost sales, the companies did sneak in an otherwise-unreleased song, such as "Trombone Cholly", on Jazz Parade Volume One).

This page features Chris Barber EPs from the combined collections of the Archives Team (Julian Purser, Andreas Wandfluh, and Ed Jackson), plus additional covers provided to us by fans. They're of interest as a long-disappeared slice of Barber (and British music) history; besides, the covers were often quite attractive, with artwork that is not available elsewhere. Most are now collectors' items. To the best of our knowledge, however, virtually all of the Barber music that came out on EPs is now available on CDs. This is certainly true of everything from the major labels, such as London, Decca, Pye/Nixa, and Columbia, but also includes rather more "obscure" material, such as the Gazell and Ken Colyer's Jazzmen EPs shown below, which have been re-issued on CDs by Lake Records and other companies.

If you own an EP that is not shown on this page, we'd be grateful if you would provide a scan of the front and back of the cover, or perhaps consider loaning it so that we can scan it for the Chris Barber website (with appropriate acknowledgment, of course). For more details, please contact Ed Jackson.

Thanks to Gerard Bielderman, Ivan Spring, Kjell Wiklund, Poul Villum, and Gilbert Voisin for kindly providing or scanning many of the covers shown below.

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