Catalogue No.


The ambient, electronic and pastoral sounds of the Bruton library catalogue.

Over the last three decades I’ve collected library music. But I’ve never had a great deal of luck with the Bruton catalogue. By this I mean I’ve never stumbled across a massive stash, or lucked-out buying a huge run for practically nothing – I say this as that’s the kind of thing that used to happen in the 1990s and the early noughties if you were out there looking hard for library music. But I did get about 25 in one hit about 20 years ago when the BBC shut down their “TV Training Department” near Lime Grove and a box of Brutons ended up being dumped at a hospital radio, and they didn’t want the records, so I got a call.

Over the years I’ve been buying any Bruton LPs as and when they pop up. There are lots of them about – over 330 LPs in the vinyl catalogue, issued between 1978 and 1985. I have to say that they do look really good on a shelf, simply because of their colour coded spines. Many of mine can be seen in a classic “rainbow” spread from the book Dust & Grooves (published 2014) when this guy came around and took pictures of my library records and put them in his book. Have a look on pages 156 and 157.

Anyway, for many years the “trophies” from the Bruton catalogue have been the beat or action driven LPs – the two Drama Montage albums (BRJ2 and BRJ8) have always been the big hitters, and others such as High Adventure (BRK2) too.

But I always found myself drawn to the lime green LPs, the pastoral, peaceful albums (The BRDs), which were full of the kind of gentle, lovely music that would turn up in Take Hart as Tony was painting a woodpecker or a badger or an Autumn tree. The other Brutons I liked were the orange ones (The BRIs) simply because they were full of experimental futuristic electronics and would remind me of 1980s ITV backgrounds. This series includes Brian Bennett’s cosmic classic Fantasia (BRI 10). Myself and fellow library collector Martin Green would refer to this style of music as “Krypton Factor library”, because it’s exactly what that strange but successful TV quiz show sounded like.

In recent years as interest in library music has expanded, I’ve watched the number of original cheap (£5) Bruton LPs for sale fall away, and the prices of many rise. If you ask me, many of these library music LPs are simply not worth the daft money that is often fished for on-line. Yes, they are quite rare and non-commercial, but people seem to forget that these library LPs are not really made for normal LP usage or listening – they were never made to be put on like rock or pop or jazz LPs with a journey or artist’s message as part of the experience. No, they are made as working LPs - you are supposed to pull them out when you are in the middle of a production, needle-drop and see what track might be useful for your comedy, quiz show or space cop drama, dub it off then put the LP back. Many original library LPs may have one or possibly two tracks that are a modern day revelation, but to get to those you often have to skip past many less interesting compositions. Very few library LPs offer up consistent modern day musical ride.

Anyway, I digress. What I’ve certainly noticed recently is the price of a handful of Brutons really going through the roof - not the action and drama ones, but the more esoteric and experimental LPs – like the BRDs and the BRIs. I get the vibe that people finally want to hear this other more interesting and experimental side of the Bruton catalogue. So what better time than now to put together a compilation of such sounds.

Not only does this album bring together a set of fabulous cues that would cost the average man in the street a month’s wages (if the originals were all wanted), but it also chops out the need to listen to other tracks that are nowhere near as good.

The cues here all date from between 1978 and 1984. They come from the BRD, BRI, BRH, BRJ, BRM, BRR and BRs catalogues.

The composers are all legends within the genre, and here, were doing what great library composers do best – fulfilling a brief and utilising modern studio equipment to both commercial and beguiling effect.


7th Heaven - BRH 7 – Les Hurdle 1979
Vibes - BRS 6 – Frank Ricotti 1981
Utopia Revisited - BRJ 18 – Johnny Scott 1980
Trek - BRM 9 – John Cameron 1981
Tropic 2 - BRM 9 – John Cameron 1981
Reflections - BRM 2 – Frank Reidy / Eric Allen 1978
Stargazing - BRI 2 – Francis Monkman 1978
Drifting - BRI 3 – John Cameron 1978
Dissolves - BRI 3 – Les Hurdle / Frank Ricotti 1978
Floatation - BRI 9 – John Cameron 1980
One Language - BRR 18 – Orlando Kimber / John Keliehor 1984
Saturn Rings - BRI 6 – Alan Hawkshaw 1979
Billowing Sails - BRD 20 – Steve Gray 1982
The Swan - BRD 19 – Brian Bennett 1982