Welcome to my web site! Here you will find information related to early pressings on compact disc. Included is an up-to-date list of my collection of these and other collectable CDs, along with pictures of some of my rare discs. I hope you find this site to be a useful resource!

Back in February, we discussed an early Canadian issue of Paul McCartney’s Pipes of Peace album (click here). That issue paired a Japan-for-U.S. CBS/Sony pressing with U.S. inserts. The barcodes on the inserts were covered with CBS-Canada distribution stickers, thereby denoting it a Canadian issue. We called it a Japan-for-Canada pressing for short. Here we consider on a companion piece, one that contrasts nicely with that Japan-for-Canada issue.

It seems obvious that the Japan-for-Canada issue previously posted was the first CD of Pipes of Peace released in Canada. One might expect that a Canadian pressing (e.g., Cinram) would follow. Not in this case. The second Canadian issue is featured here. Let’s call it a U.S.-for-Canada issue.

The second Canadian issue pairs a U.S. DADC pressing with Canadian inserts (actually customized for the Canadian market). Comparing the two releases, we see a clear sequence — the Japan-for-Canada issue matches the earlier disc with earlier inserts, while the U.S.-for-Canada issue matches the later disc with later inserts.

The U.S.-for-Canada issue is still on the Columbia label and bears catalog number CK 39193, just like the Japan-for-Canada version. As an early U.S. DADC pressing, the disc has the text “Made in USA – Digital Audio Disc Corp.” stamped on the clear plastic ring. It also has “MADE IN U.S.A.” printed along the perimeter around 5 o’clock. The matrix code on the particular DADC disc considered here is “DIDP 20036 21A2”. For comparison, the matrix code on the Japan-for-Canada disc posted earlier is “DIDP-20036 21A2”. At first glance, it would seem that the two discs have the identical matrix code, meaning they were made from the same glass master. However, the Japanese disc has a hyphen in the matrix code, while the U.S. pressing lacks the hyphen. They are distinct pressings.

As noted above, the second Canadian issue has customized Canadian inserts. The booklet and back insert are quite a bit different in appearance than the corresponding U.S. inserts. The Canadian inserts reference CBS Records Canada Ltd. in Don Mills, Ontario.

Shown below are the cover, a spine label, and the back insert for the U.S.-for-Canada issue of Pipes of Peace, along with the U.S. DADC pressing.

 

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The cover for the U.S.-for-Canada issue of Paul McCartney Pipes of Peace (Columbia, catalog number CK 39149). This booklet was customized for the Canadian market and is therefore different than the booklet issued by Columbia in the U.S.

 

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The back insert for the U.S.-for-Canada issue of Paul McCartney Pipes of Peace (Columbia, catalog number CK 39149). Like the booklet above, the back insert was customized for the Canadian market and is different than the back insert issued by Columbia in the U.S. Note that “Distributed by CBS Records Canada Ltd.” is printed along bottom in English and French. The CBS Records address in Don Mills, Ontario is included. The catalog number is printed in the bottom right corner. Note the hyphen (CK-39193). The hyphen was unique to Canadian CBS inserts.

 

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A spine label for the U.S.-for-Canada issue of Paul McCartney Pipes of Peace (Columbia, catalog number CK 39149). As with the back insert, a hyphen appears in the catalog number. The font is different than the one used by CBS for spine labels in the U.S.

 

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The U.S.-for-Canada pressing of Paul McCartney Pipes of Peace (Columbia, catalog number CK 39149). This same disc was issued in the U.S. and bears the U.S. catalog number. The disc has “Made in USA – Digital Audio Disc Corp.” stamped on the plastic ring, and the matrix code is “DIDP 20036 21A2”. It also has “MADE IN U.S.A.” printed along the perimeter. The “triangle-in-circle” symbol beneath the CD format logo at 3 o’clock was used by the DADC plant and does not appear on the earlier Japanese CBS/Sony pressing.

Back in December, we looked at an early country Christmas CD (Willie Nelson). Now in April, we consider country music again. The twist here is that the disc is an early mail-order club issue. After selling records and tapes for years by mail — Remember 12 records for a penny? — it only made sense for Columbia House and BMG to offer CDs by mail. The promotions with CDs were similar (as were the shipping charges).

The mail-order clubs began selling CDs in the U.S. around 1986. As such, some of the early club issues were pressed in Japan and West Germany. Generally speaking, these early club discs are very rare. Here we consider an early club issue of Greatest Hits from The Gambler, Kenny Rogers, that was pressed in Japan. This particular disc was distributed by RCA Direct Marketing, which later became the BMG music club.

Although the RCA Direct Marketing issue of Greatest Hits was pressed in Japan, it is not the first CD issue of the album. No, the club disc was preceded by a retail issue that was pressed in West Germany. The West German disc was pressed by PolyGram and was released under Liberty/EMI catalog number pressing CDP 7 46004 2. As expected, the catalog number is shown on the disc and inserts. Interestingly, this original retail disc shows the album title as “Lady”, which is one of the included song titles. The retail disc has black text with no color coating.

Getting back to the club disc, the album title is shown correctly as Greatest Hits. This disc is also unique in that the text is red instead of the ubiquitous black. For the RCA Direct Marketing issue, catalog number CDP 7 46004 2 is only shown on the booklet cover. No catalog number is presented on the spines or back insert. The disc only shows the RCA Direct Marketing stock number, 150019D.

The early club disc was pressed in Japan by Denon and bears the familiar Denon dot-matrix matrix code font. The matrix code is “D1-50019 1A3 75”. Thus, the aforementioned RCA Direct Marketing stock number is contained in the matrix code, but with the ‘D’ at beginning rather than at the end.

Shown below is the booklet, back insert, and a spine label for the early RCA Direct Marketing issue of Kenny Rogers Greatest Hits, followed by the unique Japanese pressing.

 

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The cover for the RCA Direct Marketing mail-order club issue of Kenny Rogers Greatest Hits (Liberty/EMI, catalog number CDP 7 46004 2). The catalog number is printed in the lower left corner.

 

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The back insert for the RCA Direct Marketing mail-order club issue of Kenny Rogers Greatest Hits (Liberty/EMI, catalog number CDP 7 46004 2).  RCA Direct Marketing text and the stock number of “D 150019” is printed in the top right corner in place of a barcode.

 

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A spine label for the RCA Direct Marketing mail-order club issue of Kenny Rogers Greatest Hits (Liberty/EMI, catalog number CDP 7 46004 2). There is no catalog number. Note that the record label is shown as EMI America.

 

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The early RCA Direct Marketing mail-order club issue of Kenny Rogers Greatest Hits (Liberty/EMI, catalog number CDP 7 46004 2). The disc was pressed by Denon, and the matrix code is “D1-50019 1A3 75”. The matrix code is stamped in the typical Denon dot-matrix font. Note that “MADE IN JAPAN”, the stock number “D150019”, and “Mfd. for RCA Direct Marketing, Inc. under License” are printed at about 3 o’clock. The catalog number does not appear on the disc. The Liberty Records logo is printed at 12 o’clock.

As the U.S. is in full March Madness mode, why not take a look at a Madonna CD? (That reminds me of a Garbage Pail Kids card from my youth, but back to the CD.) To the experienced collectors in the audience, the idea of an early Madonna CD immediately evokes thoughts of those Target pressings of Madonna (self-titled debut album) and Like a Virgin. Nice discs, no doubt, but let’s go with something not so obvious.

The eponymous debut album took the pop world by storm in 1983. The look, the style, the moves, the beat, the hits. Madonna and the album had it all. Given Madonna‘s popularity, WEA made it among their first releases on CD on its Sire label. There are both West German and Japanese Target pressings of Madonna. These are not the only collectable versions of the album, however.

In Europe, once the Target discs went out of print, Madonna was reissued under the title The First Album. The cover photo was also changed (now color instead of the original black and white). The catalog number for The First Album is shown on the inserts as 923 867-2, which is just a different grouping of the catalog number characters shown on the Target discs (9 23867-2). 923 867-2 is the typical character grouping used by WEA in Europe, while 9 23867-2 is the U.S. character grouping. The debut album stayed in print in Europe as The First Album for many years and is typically found as a budget issue with various German pressings. The original issue of The First Album, however, appeared as a West German Non-Target pressing.

The West German Non-Target was also issued in the U.S. with the standard Madonna album artwork. The album title is shown on the disc as Madonna, not The First Album. The disc has a plain label design of just black text with no paint coating. The catalog number is shown on the disc in the format 9 23867-2. The disc was pressed by Philips-DuPont Optical (PDO), the renamed version of the original PolyGram plant in Hanover, West Germany. The disc states “Made in West Germany by PolyGram” at 9 o’clock and also has “MADE IN WEST GERMANY BY POLYGRAM” printed along the perimeter. The PDO identifier is found in text stamped on the inner aluminum hub near the center hole. On the play side near the hole is found “MADE IN W. GERMANY BY PDO”. The matrix code on this pressing is “7599 23867-2 2893 683 01#”.

As stated above, U.S. collectors will find the West German Non-Target with typical album artwork. The copy featured here is unique by virtue of the inserts (again, unique cover photo and unique title). As a European issue, the inserts state “Manufactured in Germany by Record Service GmbH, Alsdorf”. Thus, the inserts were printed in anticipation of German Record Service pressings. It could be that WEA had remaining West German PDO pressings on hand to distribute with the new inserts first or that PDO discs were supplemented to meet demand that Record Service could not address initially. Either way, the combination of the West German Non-Target with The First Album inserts is relatively uncommon and a curiosity for the collector.

Shown below are the inserts for The First Album as well as the West German Non-Target pressing.

 

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The cover for Madonna The First Album released in Europe (Sire, catalog number 923 867-2). The photo is different than the one used for the original self-titled release.

 

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The back insert for Madonna The First Album released in Europe (Sire, catalog number 923 867-2). The catalog number is printed in the European format beneath the barcode in the upper right corner. “Manufactured in Germany by Record Service GmbH, Alsdorf” is printed along the bottom.

 

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The West German Non-Target pressing of Madonna (Sire, catalog number 9 23867-2). The catalog number is shown in the U.S. format below the CD format logo at 6 o’clock. This disc was issued in the U.S. with standard Madonna inserts and in Europe with The First Album inserts shown above. “Made in West Germany by PolyGram” is printed at 9 o’clock. Although partially hidden by the shadow of an outer mirror band, the disc has “MADE IN WEST GERMANY BY POLYGRAM” printed along the perimeter. Note also that the disc has “MADE IN W. GERMANY BY PDO” stamped on the play side near the center hole. The matrix code is “7599 23867-2 2893 683 01#”.

In the nearly ten years since this site launched, never have we had a post related to the Fab Four (aka The Beatles) or any member of the Liverpool Four. That changes now. In this post, we will look at an early Paul McCartney CD. An early Sir Paul CD with a twist (and shout). The album is the famous songwriter’s 1983 effort, Pipes of Peace. The twist? It is an early Canadian issue.

When the CD format launched, Paul McCartney’s Wings and solo catalogs were split between EMI and Columbia Records (part of CBS Records). Looking at the major release regions, EMI covered McCartney’s albums in Japan and Europe, while Columbia had the rights in the U.S. This provides collectors with a variety of early releases on CD to track down. As it turns out, EMI gained the rights to McCartney’s catalogs in the U.S. in the mid-’80s, so the handful of albums released on CD by Columbia (Band on the Run, Venus and Mars, Wings Over America, Tug of War, Pipes of Peace, and Give My Regards to Broad Street) were in print for only a short period and therefore are desirable with collectors. In this post, we will look at an early Columbia release of Pipes of Peace.

After reading the first two paragraphs, you might be asking yourself, what do Canadian and U.S. releases of Pipes of Peace have to do with one another? Here is the connection.

Back about six years ago, a post was offered on an early Canadian release of Santana Zebop!. You can see that post here. The disc is actually a Japan-for-U.S. pressing, meaning a Japanese pressing issued in the U.S. The inserts, however, were customized for distribution in Canada. As a result of Canada being a small market compared to the U.S., CBS Records initially distributed Japan-for-U.S. pressings north of the border. U.S. DADC pressings followed in Canada before Canadian pressings took over. Generally speaking, early Canadian releases with Japanese or U.S. DADC pressings are quite rare.

These early Canadian releases containing a Japanese or U.S. pressing take on different forms when looking at the included inserts. As noted above, the Zebop! inserts were customized for distribution in Canada, at least slightly. Overall, the inserts are very similar in appearance to the inserts issued in the U.S. In other cases, a Japanese or U.S. pressing is found with completely customized Canadian inserts that are quite different than their U.S. counterparts. The inserts for the Japan-for-Canada issue of Pipes of Peace are different still. (Just to be clear, the Pipes of Peace disc is a Japan-for-U.S. pressing, as it was also issued in the larger U.S. market. The particular release considered here is a Japan-for-Canada release.)

For Pipes of Peace, CBS merely used the U.S. inserts and placed Canadian distribution stickers over the barcode on the back cover of the booklet and the barcode on the back insert. Modifying U.S. inserts in this way was done seemingly only with Japanese pressings and thus represents CBS’s first entry into the Canadian CD market. With CDs being relatively new and with demand being limited, modifying existing U.S. inserts with distribution stickers was expedient.

The Japan-for-Canada Columbia issue of Pipes of Peace bears the U.S. catalog number of CK 39149 on the disc and inserts. The inserts state “Record made in Japan by CBS/Sony Records, Tokyo, Japan”. This or similar statements are found on many U.S. CBS titles where the disc was first pressed in Japan. The matrix code on the particular Japanese pressing featured here is “DIDP-20036 21A2”. The disc has “MANUFACTURED BY CBS/SONY RECORDS INC.” stamped on the clear plastic ring and “MADE IN JAPAN” printed along the perimeter.

While a standard Japan-for-U.S. Columbia issue of Pipes of Peace is pretty rare, copies with the Canadian distribution stickers are seldom seen on the market. Shown below are the inserts for the rare Japan-for-Canada issue along with the Japanese pressing.

In an upcoming post, we will take a look at another early Canadian issue of Pipes of Peace on Columbia. Details of that disc will be contrasted with the release featured here.

 

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The cover for the Japan-for-Canada issue of Paul McCartney Pipes of Peace (Columbia, catalog number CK 39149). This is the same booklet released in the U.S. by Columbia. Although not shown, the barcode on the back cover of this booklet has been covered with a CBS Records Canada distribution sticker.

 

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The back insert for the Japan-for-Canada issue of Paul McCartney Pipes of Peace (Columbia, catalog number CK 39149). This is the same back insert found with Japanese pressings issued in the U.S. Note the CBS Records Canada distribution sticker over the barcode in the lower left corner.  Looking closely, a portion of the UPC code underneath the distribution sticker is visible along the left edge. The paragraph printed above the Columbia logo begins with “Record made in Japan by CBS/Sony, Tokyo, Japan”.

 

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A spine on the back insert for the Japan-for-Canada issue of Paul McCartney Pipes of Peace (Columbia, catalog number CK 39149).

 

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The Japan-for-Canada pressing of Paul McCartney Pipes of Peace (Columbia, catalog number CK 39149). This same disc was issued in the U.S. and bears the U.S. catalog number. The disc has “MANUFACTURED BY CBS/SONY RECORD INC.” stamped on the plastic ring, and the matrix code is “DIDP-20036 21A2”. Although difficult to see in this picture, “MADE IN JAPAN” is printed along the perimeter.

Here is a first for keithhirsch.com. This post marks the first time folk music has graced the home page. We’ve looked at jazz, rock, pop, blues, metal, classical, crooners, but never folk, until now. In this post, we will take a look at an early CD from the group that led to the breakthrough of oft-politically-charged folk music in the 1950s and early 1960s. That group is The Weavers, and the artists that they influenced include Peter, Paul & Mary, The Kingston Trio, and Bob Dylan.

The Weavers formed in 1948 in New York, New York as a quartet comprised of Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert, and Fred Hellerman. They took their name, The Weavers, from a play written by Gerhart Hauptmann. Their best-known recordings are a combinations of originals and renditions and include “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine”, “Goodnight Irene”, and “House of the Rising Sun”.

The CD feature here is an early compilation simply titled The Weavers Greatest Hits. It includes 25 well-known recordings culled from the studio and live recordings. Included are the three songs cited above. The compilation was released on CD in 1986 by Vanguard Records. Vanguard signed The Weavers back in 1955 after their famous first concert at Carnegie Hall, and this compilation includes recordings from that performance. Getting back to the CD, The Weavers Greatest Hits was released under catalog number VCD-15/16. As a result of its length, the compilation was originally released as a double-LP. The cover for the single-CD release states “twofer” and “2 ALBUMS IN ONE”.

The original CD of The Weavers Greatest Hits was pressed in Japan. Although the pressing plant is not revealed on the disc or inserts, the simple three-digit matrix code of “183” indicates that it was pressed at the Daio Kosan plant. The inserts are dated 1971 and 1986, with 1971 representing the original release date on vinyl, and again, 1986 being the release date for the CD. The disc is dated 1986. The booklet is stark; no song lyrics are provided. The inside of the booklet merely lists other Vanguard titles available on CD, while the back cover lists the tracks on the disc. The back insert also provides the track list.

Shown below is the cover and back insert for The Weavers Greatest Hits, along with the Japanese pressing. This disc is an enjoyable listen and is highly recommended. If you are unable to locate the original Japanese pressing, fear not, as this compilation is still in print.

 

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The cover for The Weavers Greatest Hits (Vanguard, catalog number VCD-15/16). Shown from left to right are Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert, and Fred Hellerman. This compilation fits on a single CD but was originally released as a double-LP. Note the circle in top left corner that reads “twofer” and “2 ALBUMS IN ONE”. The Vanguard logo appears in the lower left corner, and the CD catalog number is printed in the top right corner.

 

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The back insert for The Weavers Greatest Hits (Vanguard, catalog number VCD-15/16). The track list is shown. The catalog number is printed beneath the CD format logo in the top center. Copyright and phonogram dates of 1986 and 1971, pertaining to the release dates for this CD and the original LP set, respectively, are printed at the bottom.

 

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The original Japanese pressing of The Weavers Greatest Hits (Vanguard, catalog number VCD-15/16). “Made in Japan” appears beneath the track list at 6 o’clock. The matrix code is “183”, which indicates that the disc was pressed by Daio Kosan.

 

 

2017 is nearly here. Happy New Year!  With this post we will take a look at a unique promotional sampler CD from 1988. It is a compilation of artists signed to Dick James Music, frequently referred to as DJM. The collector of early CDs may best know DJM as the label that released many of the original European Elton John CDs in the ’80s. This promotional disc is titled The Best of Dick James Music Vol. I.

The booklet for this compilation gives a brief history of Dick James Music. Included in this write-up is the following:

“In October 1986, PolyGram International Music Publishing purchased this timeless catalogue. The Best of Dick James Music Vol. I on Compact Disc represents just a few of its many classic songs. Due to the number of legendary copyrights, additional volumes are also planned.”

This promo sampler was released by PolyGram under catalog number SACD 072. (Depsite the catalog number, it is a CD, not a Super Audio CD. Again, it was released in 1988.) Despite the above statement in the booklet, subsequent volumes were never released. So, we are just left with the promotional Vol. I.

This disc is, in the writer’s opinion, a great compilation. It contains 20 tracks with the following artists represented: The Beatles, Pat Benatar, The Fortunes, Crystal Gayle, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Jimi Hendrix, The Hollies, Elton John, Barry Manilow, Al Stewart, and The Troggs. You might be asking yourself, “The Beatles on a multi-artist compilation?” It is uncommon to see the Fab Four on such a disc, so this Dick James Music sampler is certainly noteworthy from that standpoint.

The three Beatles tracks on Vol. I are “Please Please Me”, “Ask Me Why”, and “Don’t Bother Me”. The booklet says the following about their inclusion:

“In 1962, while looking desperately for publishing support for his new Liverpool group The Beatles, manager Brian Epstein approached Dick James with a tape of “Please Please Me” — and history was made. (Note: The Beatles’ three songs represented here make their first appearance anywhere in digitally remastered stereo.)”

The Vol. I disc was pressed in the U.S. at the Philips-DuPont Optical (PDO) plant. We’ve mentioned PDO here before. The original West German pressing plant in Hanover was opened by Philips under the PolyGram banner. It was later renamed Philips-DuPont Optical, which was typically represented as PDO on such West German pressings. As demand for CDs increased, PDO expanded their footprint, most notably in the U.S. and U.K.

Similar to West German PDO pressings, the U.S. pressing of Vol. I has aluminum to the center hole instead of a clear plastic ring. Also bearing resemblance to the Hanover discs, Vol. I has “MADE IN USA BY PDO” stamped on the play side of the disc near the center hole. The disc is dated 1988, and the matrix code is “SACD 072 01 @”. The booklet cover and back insert state “FOR PROMOTIONAL USE ONLY” and “NOT FOR SALE”. These statements do not appear on the disc.

Shown below are the inserts for The Best of Dick James Music Vol. I as well as the CD. This disc is rare in my experience. Given the breadth of the compilation, including the three stereo Beatles tracks, this is an early pressing worth tracking down.

 

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The cover for the promotional sampler, The Best of Dick James Music Vol. I (PolyGram, catalog number SACD 072). As noted along the top, this compilation was released under the banner of PolyGram Music Publishing Companies. It is labeled “FOR PROMOTIONAL USE ONLY” and “NOT FOR SALE” along the bottom.

 

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The back insert for the promotional sampler, The Best of Dick James Music Vol. I (PolyGram, catalog number SACD 072). As is common for promotional CDs, there is no barcode. The track list is shown, and promotional language is printed at the bottom. The Phonogram and copyright date of 1988 also appears at the bottom.

 

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The promotional sampler, The Best of Dick James Music Vol. I (PolyGram, catalog number SACD 072). The disc was pressed in the U.S. by Philips-DuPont Optical, as noted by the text “MADE IN USA BY PDO” stamped on the play side near the center hole. “MADE IN U.S.A.” is also printed on the label side of the disc at 6 o’clock. The matrix code is “SACD 072 01@”.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…Happy Holiday 2016! Just about every headlining artist seems to have recorded at least one Christmas album at some point. That’s good for the festive CD collector, including those of us collecting early pressings. Country legend Willie Nelson made his holiday contribution in 1979 with the 12-track collection titled Pretty Paper. The album is best known for the title track, but it includes many other excellent interpretations of Christmas classics, including “White Christmas”, “Jingle Bells”, and “Silent Night, Holy Night”.

Pretty Paper was originally released by Columbia Records on vinyl, cassette, and 8-track tape. Roundabout 1984, Pretty Paper debuted in the U.S. on CD under Columbia catalog number CK 36189. The first CDs of Pretty Paper to hit the shelves in the U.S. were pressed in Japan by CBS/Sony.

Typical of an early U.S. Columbia (CBS Records) issue, the inserts for Pretty Paper state “Disc manufactured in Japan by CBS/Sony, Tokyo, Japan”. Also typical of U.S. CBS releases, this Japan statement was retained on inserts accompanying later U.S. pressings, which often causes confusion among buyers and sellers. It should be noted that U.S. pressings of Pretty Paper are commonly, but not always, found with the statement “Now Made In The U.S.A.” printed next to the barcode on the back insert. To cause further confusion, the earliest U.S. DADC pressings can be found with a back insert that lacks the “Now Made In The U.S.A.” statement. With U.S. CBS releases, always study the disc to determine where the disc was made. In many cases, the disc will say where it was made. Otherwise, refer to the matrix code to identify the pressing plant and to get an idea of when the disc was pressed. Now, back to the Japanese pressing of Pretty Paper.

As noted above, the Japanese pressing of Pretty Paper was produced by CBS/Sony. “MANUFACTURED IN JAPAN” is printed along the perimeter at 6 o’clock. The particular copy featured here has “CSR COMPACT DISC” repeating in the clear plastic ring at the center, and the matrix code is “DIDP-20114 11A3 +++++”. Minor variations can be found in the matrix code. As an example, another Japanese pressing in my collection is slightly earlier and bears matrix code “DIDP-20114 11A1”. With the exception of the matrix codes, the two copies are identical.

The Japanese CBS/Sony pressing of Pretty Paper is quite rare in my experience. If you cannot locate a copy in short order, later U.S. pressings under catalog number CK 36189 and a budget reissue are readily available. Get yourself a common disc and enjoy the music this holiday season.

Shown below are the cover and back insert for Pretty Paper, as well as the Japanese CBS/Sony pressing.

Happy Holidays, and be safe.

 

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The cover artwork for Willie Nelson Pretty Paper (Columbia, catalog number CK 36189). Different cover artwork was used for a budget reissue CD.

 

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The back insert for Willie Nelson Pretty Paper (Columbia, catalog number CK 36189). Note the text “Disc manufactured in Japan by CBS/Sony, Tokyo, Japan” along the bottom. As this back insert accompanies an early Japanese CBS/Sony pressing, it does not have the “Now Made In The U.S.A.” statement printed next to the barcode. This statement fills the white space for later copies pressed in the U.S.

 

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The Japanese CBS/Sony pressing of Willie Nelson Pretty Paper (Columbia, catalog number CK 36189). Although difficult to see in this picture, the disc has “MANUFACTURED IN JAPAN” printed along the perimeter at 6 o’clock. Also, the disc has “CSR COMPACT DISC” repeating in the plastic ring at the center, and the matrix code is “DIDP-20114 11A3 +++++”.

For this entry, I must confess an air of sentimentality as well as personal preference for the music, not just presentation of another rare, collectible CD. The artist is the rock band Boston, and the album is Boston. This is the 1976 blockbuster debut from the Beantown band headed by composing and engineering mastermind Tom Scholz. Scholz, an MIT graduate but musician at heart, built a recording studio in his basement in the mid-’70s. Around the same time, he formed Boston with lead singer Brad Delp, guitarist Barry Goudreau, bassist Fran Sheehan, and drummer John “Sib” Hashian.

Boston was recorded primarily in Scholz’s basement studio and featured sound effects generated on equipment designed by Scholz. In that sense and in others, Boston and Boston broke new ground. The album was an immediate success due to its accessible, radio-friendly blend of melody and hard rock. The brilliant vocal highs of Delp, powerful guitar and bass work by Goudreau and Sheehan, respectively, masterful keyboard play of Scholz, and driving drum work of Hashian created a unique sound, and of course, radio hits. Boston opens with the band’s best-known track, “More Than a Feeling”. Other hits include “Peace of Mind” and “Foreplay/Long Time”. These are the most familiar songs on the album, but there is no filler here.

The liner notes with the original LP tell the story of the band, who they are, their approach to music, etc. Throughout these liner notes, the reader, presumably the music’s owner, is urged to “Listen to the record!”. Good advice.

Boston signed to Epic Records in 1975. Fast-forward to the mid-’80s, and Epic, a part of CBS Records, released the debut album on CD in the U.S., Europe, and Japan (distinct releases for the respective markets). The U.S. CD took on the form of the original LP catalog number. Specifically, the original U.S. CD of Boston was released under catalog number EK 34188. The aforementioned album liner notes were reproduced in the CD booklet.

If you are familiar with early U.S. CBS CDs, you might be thinking that Boston first appeared in The States as a Japanese CBS/Sony pressing. That is a reasonable assumption, but alas, it is incorrect. There is no Japanese CBS/Sony pressing of the U.S. issue of Boston. Instead, the U.S. issue first appeared as a U.S. DADC pressing.

The disc featured here is not the DADC pressing but is a rare Japanese Denon pressing. It has been mentioned here before that the U.S. entity of CBS Records farmed out CD production to the Denon and JVC pressing plants in Japan to support growing demand while the U.S. DADC plant was still ramping up. These Japanese Denon and JVC pressings of U.S. CBS titles, generally released between 1985 and 1987, are quite rare.

The Denon pressing of Boston has a different text layout than the DADC pressing, but it still has the familiar plain look of a U.S. CBS release. Thus, it has simple black text with no paint coating. It has “MADE IN JAPAN” printed along the perimeter, and the matrix code is stamped in the typical Denon dot-matrix font. For the particular Japanese Denon pressing shown here, the matrix code is “EK-34188 2B10 74”.

The inserts with the Denon pressing are the standard ones found with any copy bearing catalog number EK 34188. Shown below is the cover and back insert, as well as the Japanese Denon pressing for Boston.

Listen to the CD!

 

boston-cover_500

The cover for the original U.S. issue of Boston Boston (Epic, catalog number EK 34188). This is the standard cover artwork for this album. Note the CD format logo and the text “DIGITALLY MASTERED ANALOG RECORDING” in the bottom left corner.

 

boston-back-insert_500

The back insert for the original U.S. issue of Boston Boston (Epic, catalog number EK 34188). The running time for “Rock & Roll Band” is erroneously shown as 2:60 (2 minutes, 60 seconds) instead of 3:00 (3 minutes, 0 seconds).

 

boston-denon-pressing_500

The Japanese Denon pressing of the original U.S. issue of Boston Boston (Epic, catalog number EK 34188). The catalog number is printed above the CD format logo at 3 o’clock. Although difficult to read in this picture, “MADE IN JAPAN” is printed along the perimeter of the disc at approximately 6 o’clock. The matrix code is “EK-34188 2B10 74”.

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