The Mystery of "Shilo" and Velvet Gloves and Spit
orig VG&S VG&S reissue orig BLTSS BLTSS w/ sticker
Exhibit 1A 
Original VG&S cover
Exhibit 1B 
Reissue VG&S cover
Exhibit 2A 
Original BLTSS cover
Exhibit 2B 
BLTSS w/ sticker
BLTSS/SC TYTM sleeve Soolaimon PS Soolaimon PS tap root slv
Exhibit 2C 
Reissue BLTSS/SC cover
Exhibit 3 
Inner-sleeve of TYTM
Exhibit 4A 
"Soolaimon" PS (front)
Exhibit 4B 
"Soolaimon" PS (back)
Exhibit 5 
Inner-sleeve of Tap Root Manuscript


Velvet Gloves and Spit came in 2 covers. The first release of the album was in Nov. 1968, and had what is called "the mannequin cover" (see Exhibit 1A). Sometime later, the album was re-released, with a different cover, which I will call the "day-glo" cover (see Exhibit 1B).

The oldest pressings of Velvet Gloves and Spit did not contain the song "Shilo". Re-issues of the album had "Shilo" added to it.

Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show also went through 2 covers. The earliest featured a purple cover with a wagon (see Exhibit 2A). Later reissues were renamed as Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show/Sweet Caroline and featured a close-up of Neil in a white shirt on the cover (see Exhibit 2C).

The oldest pressings of Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show did not contain the song "Sweet Caroline". Re-issues of the album had "Sweet Caroline " added to it.

The Mystery of "Shilo":

There is a lot of conflicting information regarding the reissues. The book, Diamond-A Biography alleges that the VG&S cover change, and the Uni re-recording of "Shilo" were done as early as 1968, in response to Bang Record's "Shilo" single (Bang 561- Sep 1968).

I think that this date is inaccurate. The reasons follow:

However, 1970 fits the "Shilo" mystery perfectly.

The next mystery is: So when did covers get replaced?

For Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show, all evidence points to 1969.

For Velvet Gloves and Spit, all evidence points to 1970.

It was standard record-company practice to use special inner-sleeves for albums. These inner sleeves would advertise other albums from the same company, hoping that buyers would be interested enough to buy more albums. The first release of Touching You, Touching Me (Uni 73071, Nov 1969) has an inner sleeve (see Exhibit 3) which clearly pictures the mannequin cover of VG&S, and the "white shirt" cover for BLTSS/SC! Since none of the album numbers of the records pictured on the sleeve go above 73071, it is logical to say that this particular inner sleeve came with the original release of TYTM. This means that the mannequin cover was still available in late 1969, but the wagon cover was not.

The "Soolaimon" 45 RPM single, which came out in Apr 1970, also came with miniature pictures of ND albums on the sleeve (see Exhibit 4A, 4B), and VG&S was still shown with its original mannequin cover. Therefore mannequin cover was still available as late as Apr 1970. Uni would not have advertised an obsolete coverů it would have confused potential buyers!

By the time Tap Root Manuscript (Nov. 1970) came out, the inner sleeve (see Exhibit 5) for it shows the new cover for VG&S.

This is the logical order of events:

Approximate Date
Sep 1968 "Shilo" 45 (Bang 561) is released and flops.
Nov. 1968 VG&S album is released with the "mannequin" cover. (see Exhibit 1A)
Apr. 1969 BLTSS album released with "wagon cover" and no "Sweet Caroline" track. (see Exhibit 2A)
May 1969 "Sweet Caroline", available only as a 45, becomes a hit 
mid 1969 BLTSS album released with original "wagon cover" plus the sticker advertising "Sweet Caroline". Song is added to the end of Side 2, but the cover itself is not changed. (see Exhibit 2B) 
late 1969 BLTSS is renamed BLTSS/SC and the cover is changed to the "white shirt" cover and track listing is updated. (see Exhibit 2C)
Oct. 1969 "Holly Holy" is released. Lee Holdridge does orchestral overdubs for it. 
Nov. 1969 Touching You, Touching Me album is released. (see Exhibit 3)
Jan 1970 "Shilo" alternate take (Bang 575) is released. Becomes a hit. 
early 1970 Neil, Tom Catalano and Lee Holdridge re-record "Shilo", understanding that their new concoction would be released on Uni. 
Apr 1970 "Soolaimon" 45 (Uni 55224) is released with picture sleeve. (see Exhibit 4A,4B)
mid-1970 VG&S is re-released with the new improved "Shilo" and a new cover (the day-glo one) and the songs are resequenced. (see Exhibit 1B)
Nov 1970 Tap Root Manuscript is released, with the inner sleeve reflecting the cover changes of both VG&S and BLTSS/SC. (see Exhibit 5)

This article is Copyright 2000, K.F. Louie. May not be reproduced without the written permission of the author.

Got any "Shilo" conspiracy theories? Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

There's no place like HOME