Sitting proudly face out on a shelf in my flat are two seven-inch card sleeves, for "long "eating"" milk chocolate records made by Rotterdam company Beukers & Rijneke. The first I found was for Contemporary Mood - from the catalogue number on its front (Melodisc MLP 508), I guess this was an album sleeve shrunk down to size; no artist is given, but the feel is very 'fifties. (In the Record Collector Rare Record Price Guide there's a Lord Kitchener ten-inch numbered MLP 510 and dated 1957, which helps to pinpoint the date of the original jazz (?)record*, though I can't say if the chocolate version was produced in that year.)
The second sleeve was eagerly snapped up by me on eBay as it's a version of a cover I have (illustrator : Denis Piper) with the actual record inside - a wonderful 45 r.p.m. extended play entitled Calypso Time (Melodisc EPM 7-67) featuring Lord Kitchener's All Stars; Lord Kitchener with The Fitzroy Coleman Band; Russell Henderson Steel Band; and The Mighty Terror and The Rupert Nurse Calypso Band. Neither disc nor sleeve bear a date, though I'd hazard '57 for this one too, judging from a couple of the Leadbelly catalogue numbers with dates given in the aforementioned price guide.
The backs of the two choc record sleeves are identical - "This MILK chocolate record is wholly edible once the paper disc has been removed", runs a portion of the text. How many different Melodisc sleeves were used for Beukers & Rijneke chocolate records ? Would these discs have been playable in any way ? The reference to the paper disc is puzzling - could that have contained a sound recording ? Or was it just to protect the record's sleeve from staining by the confectionery ? Perhaps the chocolate record had paper labels, and this is what was meant ? I'm sure I've read about chocolate records covered in (briefly) playable tinfoil...
Whatever, these definitely served as unusual advertisements for the Melodisc label's output.
What other chocolate discs existed ? You'd think there might have been ones sold in repro Elvis and Beatles E.P. covers as those would have been real moneyspinners - but then such huge artists didn't exactly require the sort of commercial boost which would have been of benefit to a label such as Melodisc which dealt in more specialist musics.
I'd very much love to unearth an intact choc record in its sleeve, though fifty-two (?) years on it's unlikely that any survive owing to the foodstuff's fragility - as well as its utter scrumminess to the purchaser. Who'd not have felt tempted to eat their record ? (Having said that, I still have an unopened Thornton's Screaming Lord Sutch chocolate lolly made for the 1997 General Election.) I wonder if Robert Opie might have one... ?
* Edit : the artists on the Contemporary Mood L.P. were Ginger Folorunso Johnson, Fernand Calvet, Lionel Kerrien, and George Browne.