A commemorative CD from the opening of the U.S. LaserVideo pressing plant in 1986: Alabama The Touch
July 29th, 2012
By the latter half of the 1980s, many consumers began replacing their cassettes and records for the convenience of the compact disc. More CD players were available from major electronics manufacturers, and prices of these players were coming down. Sony had even introduced portable CD players by the late ’80s. With the increased demand for CDs, CD pressing plants popped up around the world. No more was it necessary in the U.S. to rely on the original plants in Japan and West Germany for import pressings. CBS in conjunction with Sony opened Digital Audio Disc Corporation in Terre Haute, Indiana in late 1984 as the first CD pressing plant in the U.S. Other plants opened in the U.S. in short order.
In October of 1986, the LaserVideo pressing plant opened in Huntsville, Alabama. To commemorate the opening of the plant, LaserVideo appropriately issued a very rare promotional version of the 1986 album by country juggernaut Alabama entitled The Touch. The Touch was released on CD in 1986 on the RCA label under catalog number 5649-2-R. CDs of The Touch first arrived on store shelves in 1986 as a Japanese pressing, but U.S. pressings turned up soon thereafter.
The LaserVideo commemorative CD of The Touch was issued with standard RCA inserts pressed in the U.S. The disc, however, contains a unique label design and is labeled a promotional copy. Importantly, the disc states “First CD Manufactured in Huntsville, Alabama USA by LaserVideo, Inc.” It is dated October 1986. The disc also states “Commemorates the Opening of our new Compact Disc Plant in Huntsville, Alabama”. As a nice “touch”, “Alabama” in this statement is shown as the band’s logo.
It is not known how many commemorative copies were actually pressed, but this is the only copy I have come across. If you find a used copy of The Touch, it is worth checking the disc. Chances are you will find the Japanese pressing or a later commercial U.S. pressing, but you don’t know until you check the disc.
Shown below are the inserts for The Touch as well as the commemorative LaserVideo pressing.
The cover for Alabama The Touch (RCA, catalog number 5649-2-R). Note the RCA CD logo in the bottom right corner.
The back insert for the original CD issue of Alabama The Touch (RCA, catalog number 5649-2-R). As noted in the bottom right corner, the insert was printed in the U.S. The catalog number is printed in the top left corner.
The LaserVideo commemorative pressing of Alabama The Touch (RCA, catalog number 5649-2-R). The disc is labeled as the first CD manufactured by the LaserVideo pressing plant. Note that it is dated October 1986 and is also labeled as a promotional issue. The disc has “MASTERED IN U.S.A. BY LASERVIDEO INC.” etched in the mirror band. The matrix code is “CI05279 -0- 5649-2-R”.