It is now summertime here on keithhirsch.com, but we keep plugging away, writing about early, collectable CDs.  Today, we review a John Coltrane compilation released by MCA/Impulse! entitled From The Original Master Tapes.  As the title suggests, this compilation called to the audiophile, who demands the best sound obtained from the best source.  It is worth nothing that a series of compilations was released under this and similar banners by MCA in 1985.  All of them were mastered by Steve Hoffman, who is well known in audiophile circles for his attention to detail in mastering to CD, LP, and Super Audio CD (SACD).  MCA released Buddy Holly and Bill Haley and His Comets From The Original Master Tapes compilations.  Similarly, MCA released a Billie Holiday compilation titled From The Original Decca Masters and a compilation of The Mamas & The Papas named 16 of Their Greatest Hits (some CD pressings of this compilation show the title as “FROM ORIGINAL MASTER TAPES”).  All of these compilations were introduced on CD in the U.S. as Japanese pressings.

John Coltrane From The Original Master Tapes is a 7-track compilation from his years on Impulse! records.  It was released on CD in the U.S. in 1985 under catalog number MCAD-5541.  The first copies to appear on store shelves were pressed in Japan by JVC.  U.S. pressings followed.  Interestingly, this album saw a very limited release in Japan in 1989 on a 24-karat gold CD.  The gold CD was released in Japan by MCA/Impulse! in conjunction with Warner-Pioneer Corporation under catalog number 43XD-2009.

The back cover of the booklet for both releases of From The Original Master Tapes states “Digitally remastered from the original Impulse stereo first generation masters.”  This statement also appears on the discs.  Additionally, both CDs state “Compiled and remastered by STEVE HOFFMAN”.

Shown below are the inserts and CDs for the two releases of John Coltrane From The Original Master Tapes.  For the U.S. issue, the original Japanese pressing is shown.

 

coltrane master tapes cover_400

The cover for the U.S. issue of John Coltrane From The Original Master Tapes (MCA/Impulse!, catalog number MCAD-5541).  The gold CD released in Japan has the same cover artwork except that it has the original Impulse! logo in the upper right corner (orange and black logo inside a white circle).

 

coltrane us master tapes back insert_500

The back insert for the original Japan-for-U.S. pressing of John Coltrane From The Original Master Tapes (MCA/Impulse!, catalog number MCAD-5541).  Note that there is no barcode.

 

coltrane us master tapes_500

The original Japan-for-U.S. pressing of John Coltrane From The Original Master Tapes (MCA/Impulse!, catalog number MCAD-5541).  This CD was pressed in Japan by JVC.  Note the mastering and source tape references beneath the CD format logo.

 

coltrane gold master tapes back insert_500

The back insert for the Japanese gold CD pressing of John Coltrane From The Original Master Tapes (MCA/Impulse!, catalog number 43XD-2009).  Unlike the U.S. issue, this back insert takes on the motif of original Impulse! records.  Note the reference to the original stereo master tapes in the bottom left corner.

 

coltrane gold master tapes_500

The Japanese gold CD pressing of John Coltrane From The Original Master Tapes (MCA/Impulse!, catalog number 43XD-2009). This CD was pressed on a thin layer of 24-karat gold instead of the conventional aluminum.  It is shown on the original gold-tone plastic disc tray with which it was issued.  As with the U.S. issue, mastering and source tape references appear beneath the CD format logo.

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