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!

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Happy Holidays! As has become a tradition, it’s time to consider an early holiday CD. In 1981, legendary tenor Placido Domingo recorded Christmas with Placido Domingo with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. The album, containing 10 Christmas classics, was released by CBS Records, and the original CDs released in the U.S. and Europe were assigned catalog number MK 37245. Let’s take a look at the original U.S. CD release.

The U.S. issue of Christmas with Placido Domingo shows the label as CBS, but the MK catalog number prefix represents the CBS Masterworks classical music label. This was an early U.S. CBS release by virtue of the statement, “Disc manufactured in Japan by CBS/Sony, Tokyo, Japan” on the inserts. This means that there is a Japanese CBS/Sony pressing that pre-dates U.S. pressings.

As is typical for U.S. CBS titles, the Japanese CBS/Sony pressing of Christmas with Placido Domingo is very rare. Instead, one will typically find a U.S. pressing of some sort (e.g., DADC or Columbia-Pitman pressings of varying vintage). In this post, we will consider a different, unusual pressing of Christmas with Placido Domingo.

The disc featured here was pressed in Japan by JVC. It arrived on shelves after discs pressed in Japan by CBS/Sony. It is estimated that the JVC pressing is from 1985 or ’86, meaning that it coincided with discs pressed in the U.S. by DADC. As noted in Tramadol Mastercard, CBS farmed out production of some CDs to JVC in Japan beginning in 1985 to keep up with demand in the U.S. These Japanese JVC pressings of U.S. CBS titles are generally rare.

The JVC pressing of Christmas with Placido Domingo has “MADE IN JAPAN” printed along the perimeter. It also bears Digitial Identification Code “DIDC 20039”, where the ‘C’ stands for Classical. Japanese CBS/Sony and early U.S. DADC pressings contain “DIDC 20039” in the matrix code, but this does not appear in the matrix code for the Japanese JVC pressing. Rather, the JVC pressing features the catalog number in the matrix code. Specifically, the matrix code on the JVC pressing is “MK – 37245 – A1E21”.

Shown below are the cover and back insert for the U.S. issue of Christmas with Placido Domingo, along with the Japanese JVC pressing.

I hope you all have an enjoyable and safe holiday. Be well!

 

christmas domingo cover_500

The cover for Christmas with Placido Domingo (CBS, catalog number MK 37245). Note “Noël avec” (French) and “Weihnachten mit” (German) as translations of “Christmas with” along the top.

 

christmas domingo back insert_500

The back insert for Christmas with Placido Domingo (CBS, catalog number MK 37245). There is no barcode, which is unusual for a U.S. CBS release. Note the statement, “Disc manufactured in Japan by CBS/Sony, Tokyo, Japan” along the bottom. This indicates that this title was first pressed in Japan by CBS/Sony. The European Label Code in the lower left corner, LC 0149, suggests that this CD may have been released simultaneously in Europe. There is, however, a distinct European issue that was released under the same catalog number (i.e., unique inserts and CD label design).

 

christmas domingo cd_500

The Japanese JVC pressing of Christmas with Placido Domingo (CBS, catalog number MK 37245). The disc has “MADE IN JAPAN” printed along the perimeter. The Digital Identification Code “DIDC 20039” printed at 3 o’clock appears in the matrix code for Japanese CBS/Sony and early U.S. DADC pressings. However, the matrix code for this JVC pressing is “MK – 37245 – A1E21”.

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When I started collecting early CDs, I was perfectly happy finding any early Japanese or West German pressing. It was Japanese or West German, so it was first or early. Good enough. Then, not good enough. As time marched on, I learned that there were degrees of early or real first pressings. So, not all early pressings are created equal.

For an example of early and earlier pressings of a particular title, click Buy Generic Tramadol Uk. The two Delos classical titles shown in that post were pressed in Japan by CBS/Sony. Here, we consider two similar early CBS/Sony pressings. They are of a compilation of easy listening composer Mantovani titled Digital Spectacular. This Mantovani compilation was originally released on CD in Japan in 1982 on the Canyon label and was assigned catalog number D35Y0001. The 0001 suffix suggests that Digital Spectacular was the first title released on CD by Canyon. The 35 in the catalog number reflects the retail price, ¥3,500.

So let’s consider the early and later Japanese CBS/Sony pressings of Digital Spectacular. They are found with identical inserts, and the discs share the same label design. The devil is in the details. Let’s go in reverse order. The later pressing has “CSR COMPACT DISC” repeating in the plastic ring, where CSR stands for CBS/Sony Records. The matrix code on this later pressing is “D35Y-0001 11B9”. The matrix code is stamped in the typical “neat” font found on Japanese CBS/Sony pressings. This disc came in an early jewel case with smooth top and bottom edges. The disc and inserts are dated 1982, but it is estimated that the later pressing was manufactured in 1983 or ’84.

The early Japanese CBS/Sony pressing of Digital Spectacular has “MANUFACTURED BY CBS/SONY RECORDS INC.” stamped on the plastic ring, and the matrix code is “D35Y 0001-1 1B3”. Note the different grouping of matrix code characters for this disc versus the later pressing cited above. Additionally, the matrix code on the early pressing is stamped in the original “crude” font used by CBS/Sony. Some collectors called this the “chiseled” font. Interestingly, this disc came in a very rare early jewel case that has one long “stopper bar” to the right of the booklet (the jewel case for later pressing has the more familiar two booklet stoppers). The jewel case with the early pressing also has smooth top and bottom edges, and it has “Patent pending” embossed on the back. The disc and inserts are dated 1982, and it is assumed that the early pressing was manufactured in 1982 by virtue of the jewel case and matrix code.

Shown below are the cover and back insert for Digital Spectacular, as well as both the later and then the early Japanese CBS/Sony pressings. Both discs are rare, but the early pressing is likely the rarer of the two.

 

mantovani cover_500

The cover for the Japanese CD release of Mantovani Digital Spectacular (Canyon, catalog number D35Y0001). It is shown in the jewel case for the early Japanese CBS/Sony pressing. Note the long stopper bar to the right, a feature of a very rare early jewel case. The later CBS/Sony pressing is found with the identical cover artwork.

 

mantovani back insert_500

The back insert for the Japanese CD release of Mantovani Digital Spectacular (Canyon, catalog number D35Y0001). It is shown in the jewel case for the early Japanese CBS/Sony pressing. As noted in the lower left corner, the retail price is ¥3,500. “Patent pending” is embossed on the lower right corner of the jewel case. A Phonogram date of “’82•11” along the bottom of the back insert indicates that Digital Spectacular was first issued in November 1982. The gold triangular label in the top left corner is an “obi sticker” that is adhered to the back of the jewel case. It contains the type of information typically found on a Japanese obi strip. The later CBS/Sony pressing is found with the identical back insert. The particular copy of the later pressing reported here did not come with the obi sticker on the jewel case.

 

mantovani later_500

The later Japanese CBS/Sony pressing of Mantovani Digital Spectacular (Canyon, catalog number D35Y0001). The disc has “CSR COMPACT DISC” repeating in the plastic ring, and the matrix code is “D35Y-0001 11B9”. The matrix code is stamped in the typical “neat” CBS/Sony plant font. The disc shows a Phonogram date of 1982 at 3 o’clock, indicating the year of the original release of the album.

 

mantovani early_500

The early Japanese CBS/Sony pressing of Mantovani Digital Spectacular (Canyon, catalog number D35Y0001). The disc has “MANUFACTURED BY CBS/SONY RECORDS INC.” stamped on the plastic ring, and the matrix code is “D35Y 0001-1 1B3”. The matrix code is stamped in the early “crude” CBS/Sony plant font. Like the later pressing above, the early pressing is dated 1982. It is believed that the early pressing shown here was manufactured in 1982.

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Greatest Hits compilations. Best Ofs. The Very Best Ofs. The Essential. The record labels release these cut-to-the-chase discs to give the music fan, and we can say the casual music fan, a synopsis of an artist’s career. Why buy all the albums when you can have the good stuff on just one or two CDs? That has been many a music buyer’s rationale. Of course, some people buy all the albums and still buy the compilation(s) for convenient access to the hits, thereby further lining the record company’s pockets. With popular artists, it seems there comes a point at which there are more compilations than the albums from which they are curated. Aerosmith is such a band. I am not going to count the number of Aerosmith compilations that have been issued over the years, but there are many. Admittedly, not all of these discs overlap in content given that Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, and the rest of the Boston crew have been at it for five decades. In the interest of time and server space, let’s focus on just one Aerosmith compilation, and of course, an early release. It is the 1988 Aerosmith CD entitled Anthology, which was released on the Castle Communications label.

Castle Communications, or just Castle, formed in the U.K. as an independent label in 1983. They licensed catalogs from many major artists, including The Kinks and Black Sabbath, and turned out quality compilations. Castle’s early CDs were pressed in Japan, West Germany, and France. As mentioned above, Aerosmith Anthology was released in 1988. The CD was pressed in West Germany.

Anthology was issued under Castle’s Raw Power heavy metal banner. The catalog number is RAWCD037, and the back insert shows both the Castle and Raw Power logos. The disc consists of 18 tracks, including “Dream On” and “Sweet Emotion”. Two tracks are taken from concerts, “Walk This Way” (the original, not the later version with Run-D.M.C.) and “Back in the Saddle”. Anthology was pressed by the late-’80s West German pressing plant Interpress. On a side note, Anthology is the first Interpress pressing to be featured on keithhirsch.com.

The Anthology CD has “MADE IN W. GERMANY” printed beneath the CD format logo at 3 o’clock. This text also appears on the back insert. The matrix code is “INTERPRESS-RAWCD-037 12”.  The disc has “MADE IN W. GERMANY” and “INTERPRESS COMPACT DISC” stamped on the clear plastic ring.

Shown below is the cover and back insert for Anthology, along with the West German pressing.

 

aerosmith anthology cover_500

The cover for Aerosmith Anthology (Castle Communications, catalog number RAWCD037).

 

aerosmith anthology back insert_500

The back insert for Aerosmith Anthology (Castle Communications, catalog number RAWCD037).  “MADE IN W. GERMANY” is printed at the bottom right, above the Castle Communications logo. Castle’s Raw Power heavy metal logo is printed in the bottom right corner. The copyright date of 1988 appears in the bottom left corner.

 

aerosmith anthology_500

The West German pressing of Aerosmith Anthology (Castle Communications, catalog number RAWCD037). The disc was pressed by Interpress. The matrix code is “INTERPRESS-RAWCD-037 12”, and it has “MADE IN W. GERMANY” and “INTERPRESS COMPACT DISC” stamped on the clear plastic ring.

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Since we’re talking early CDs here, those having been released in the 1980s and being long out of print, the vast majority of the discs that collectors deal with are used. Condition, therefore, can be an issue. Discs may be badly scratched or polished, inserts may have handling wear or water damage, etc. (And how is it that people can’t put a booklet in a jewel case correctly, causing tab dents?). However, every so often, sealed copies of these early CDs turn up. In most cases, sealed early West German and Japanese pressings are a one-of-a-kind. How many of these discs are going to survive sealed for 30+ years? Not many, but it does happen.

Of course, the dilemma that collectors face upon finding a sealed early disc is whether or not to open it. Open it so you can listen to it — Yes, that’s what these things were made for — while devaluing it or keep it in its original, sealed condition to maintain that one-of-a-kind collectable and buy a used copy for listening? While we are talking about music, I consider it a mistake to open a sealed copy. Sealed means mint, unplayed.  As stated, there rarely is more than one sealed copy out there. Leave it sealed and find a used copy to listen to.  That’s my policy.

O.K. Enough preaching. Let’s have a look at a sealed early CD. Here, we consider the first Japanese issue of jazz piano genius Herbie Hancock’s 1965 landmark album Maiden Voyage. Long before Hancock would go electronic and fusion with the likes of Future Shock and Sound-System, he was breaking ground in traditional jazz areas both on his own with Blue Note Records and with groups led by Miles Davis and Donald Byrd. Perhaps Hancock’s best solo effort is Maiden Voyage, a 5-track offering combining melody, rhythm, and Hancock’s be-bop piano.

On Maiden Voyage, Hancock leads a quintet completed by Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, George Coleman on tenor saxophone, Ron Carter on bass, and Tony Williams on drums. Given its stature, the album was one of the early CDs turned out by Blue Note as part of a series released in Japan in 1983. These early Blue Note jazz releases have a CP35 catalog number prefix, which relates to their retail price of ¥3,500. The catalog number for Maiden Voyage is CP35-3071.

The CP35 CDs, including Maiden Voyage, bear what collectors call the “black-triangle” label design, simply noted by the large black triangle on the disc face. Several examples of black-triangle CDs are shown in the Gallery on this site. The sealed copy of Maiden Voyage consists of the jewel case shrinkwrapped, which was typical in Japan. Longboxes were popular in the U.S. for a time but did not catch on elsewhere. As a Japanese release, one would expect the sealed copy of Maiden Voyage to contain an obi strip around one edge of the jewel case. Some copies of Maiden Voyage were released this way, but the sealed copy here pre-dates the inclusion of the obi strip.

Instead of an obi strip, the shrinkwrap around the Maiden Voyage CD has a gold sticker on the front with text in Japanese and showing the retail price of ¥3,500. While sealed CP35 CDs are rare, they are seldom found with the gold sticker in place of an obi strip. Since Maiden Voyage is sealed, it of course is not known which plant pressed the disc inside, but it would either be an early Toshiba-EMI pressing or an early CBS/Sony pressing.

Shown below are the front and back of the sealed copy of Maiden Voyage. Yes, I have a used copy for listening. It sounds great. (It came with an obi strip.)

 

hancock maiden voyage sealed front_500 3

The front of the sealed copy of Herbie Hancock Maiden Voyage (Blue Note, catalog number CP35-3071). This is a particularly early copy by virtue of the gold sticker on the shrinkwrap in place of an obi strip. In addition to Japanese text, the gold sticker shows the catalog number and retail price. The clear strip running vertically on the left side of the package is the “pull strip” within the shrinkwrap used to unwrap the CD. Although not visible, the top and bottom of the jewel case have smooth edges.

 

hancock maiden voyage sealed sticker close-up_500

A close-up of the gold sticker on the front of the sealed copy of Herbie Hancock Maiden Voyage (Blue Note, catalog number CP35-3071). The retail price and catalog number can be seen clearly in this picture.

 

hancock maiden voyage sealed back_500

The back of the sealed copy of Herbie Hancock Maiden Voyage (Blue Note, catalog number CP35-3071). Most of the text is printed in Japanese.  The retail price is stated in the bottom left corner.

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There are many factors that determine the collectability of early CDs.  Of course, the artist, album, and rarity and factors. Another feature discussed here in the past is aesthetics, in particular, the design on the CD label side. For years, collectors have routinely paid a significant premium for early West German CDs with unique painted label designs. Many of these discs have been posted here over the years. Today, we consider a CD set bearing a label design that I had not seen before. It is a classical set on the Italian Fonit Cetra label.

The featured early release is a two-disc set titled Arturo Toscanini Dirige Richard Wagner. “Dirige” is Italian for “directs”. Thus, the album features the famous conductor Arturo Toscanini. For this recording, Toscanini leads the NBC Symphony Orchestra.

This Toscanini set was released on the Italian Fonit Cetra label under catalog number CDC 3, and the two CDs are dated 1984. It is packaged in the original two-disc jewel case, sometimes referred to as the “fatboy”. Thus, there are both front and back inserts, and the booklet is inside the jewel case. The inserts are unique by virtue of a silver foil coating, especially visible on the back insert. The front insert shows an intense Toscanini with the recording title in the bottom left corner. The Fonit Cetra logo appears in the top left corner of the front and back inserts. The back insert is printed primarily in Italian, but it does state “Made in Italy” and “CD printed in Japan”. The booklet has liner notes printed in Italian and English.

The two CDs were pressed in Japan by Denon. Discs 1 and 2 bear catalog numbers CDC 3 – A and CDC 3 – B, respectively. Both discs have the matrix code stamped in the familiar Denon dot-matrix font, and the matrix codes for Discs 1 and 2 are “CDC-3-A 1A1 4Z” and “CDC-3-B 1A1 4Z”, respectively. The draw to this set, aside from Toscanini and Wagner, is the unique label design. Both discs have a striking pink swirl, with the Fonit Cetra logo in pink and black. The text is printed in black on the two discs. Both discs have “Fonit Cetra S.p.A. Milano ℗ 1984 made by Nippon Columbia (Denon) Co., Ltd., Japan” printed at 3 o’clock.

This CD set appears to be very rare, as it likely saw limited distribution outside of Italy. A question now is whether other Fonit Cetra titles were released with this or other unique label designs. Are there other early Fonit Cetra titles for the aesthetically-driven collector to “target”?

Shown below are the front and back inserts for Arturo Toscanini Dirige Richard Wagner, along with Disc 1 of the two-disc set.

 

toscanini cover_500

The front insert for Arturo Toscanini Dirige Richard Wagner (Fonit Cetra, catalog number CDC 3). The Fonit Cetra logo appears in the top left corner.

 

toscanini back insert_500

The back insert for Arturo Toscanini Dirige Richard Wagner (Fonit Cetra, catalog number CDC 3). The text is printed on a silver foil coating. The Fonit Cetra logo appears in the top left corner, and there is no barcode. Note the statement “CD printed in Japan” in the bottom left corner.

 

toscanini disc 1_500

Disc 1 of the two-disc set, Arturo Toscanini Dirige Richard Wagner (Fonit Cetra, catalog number CDC 3). The catalog number for this disc is shown as CDC 3 – A. As stated at 3 o’clock, the disc was pressed by Denon. The matrix code is “CDC-3-A 1A1 4Z”  and is stamped in the typical Denon plant dot-matrix font. Disc 2 (catalog number CDC 3 – B) has the same pink-swirl label design.

When considering pop music in the 1980s, there are artists that immediately come to mind as defining the era’s sound. Madonna, Michael Jackson, Prince. We could spend a lot of bandwidth listing other important artists from the decade, though we probably would include a number of one-hit wonders. Anyway, let’s cut to the chase. One that should be on everyone’s short list of defining artists from the ’80s is Howard Jones. Jones, hailing from Southampton, England, is synonymous with ’80s synthesizer-laden pop. He came upon the scene with 1984’s Human’s Lib, which included the melodic hit, “What is Love?”. Jones furthered his craft with his sophomore effort, 1985’s Dream Into Action. This album contains possibly Jones’ best-known songs, “Things Can Only Get Better” and the slow, moody, “No One Is To Blame”.

Jones signed to Elektra Records. What that means to CD collectors is that there could be Target pressings of his early albums. There are, in fact, West German Target pressings of Human’s Lib and Dream Into Action. These albums were released on CD bearing both the Elektra and WEA labels (with WEA standing for Warner-Elektra-Atlantic). The WEA label was applied to some releases outside the U.S., so it would seem in this case that co-labeling Human’s Lib and Dream Into Action with Elektra and WEA was a way to have one release of each album serve all key markets.

If you are a collector of Target CDs, then you know that Elektra titles bear a silver target and orange paint coating, while WEA titles carry a purple target and medium green coating. For Human’s Lib and Dream Into Action, the parent WEA label won out. The West German Target CDs of both albums have the purple target/green coating combination. As far as Target CDs are concerned, both Howard Jones West German Targets are common. Collectors should not have difficulty locating these discs.

If you are a collector and Howard Jones fan, then take note. There are rare Target pressings of Dream Into Action for you. U.S. Target pressings have been mentioned on this page before, and some are also shown in the Gallery. These are rare discs that, for some titles, were issued briefly between Target and Non-Target pressings. Some U.S. Target CDs bear the same colors as their West German counterparts, while others have unique color combinations. Typically, there is just one U.S. Target pressing of a particular album, but in the case of Dream Into Action, there are two, differing by their color schemes.

Like the West German Target, the U.S. Targets of Dream Into Action show the WEA label as the primary one and bear both WEA catalog number 240 632-2 and Elektra catalog number 9 60390-2. The first U.S. Target of Dream Into Action has a purple target and green paint coating. Sounds like the West German Target, doesn’t it? Well, the U.S. pressing has a lighter shade of green, more like teal. The other U.S. Target has a green target and purple paint coating, the opposite of the first one. If you are a seasoned collector, you may think that this second U.S. Target looks like the (common) West German Target pressing of U2 War on the Island label. Well, for Dream Into Action, the green target is a lighter shade of green, again like teal. So, both U.S. Target pressings of Dream Into Action have unique color combinations.

Like many other U.S. Target CDs, the Dream Into Action discs were pressed by Philips-DuPont Optical (PDO). Hence, both discs have “MADE IN USA BY PDO” printed along the perimeter. The matrix code for both U.S. Target pressings is “7559 240632-2 2895 468 03 *”. The two discs have identical inserts, printed in the U.S. These same inserts were used for later, far more common U.S. Non-Target pressings. Thus, one unfortunately cannot spot one of these rare U.S. Targets by merely inspecting the inserts.

Shown below is the cover and back insert for the U.S. Target pressings of Dream Into Action, along with both discs.

 

jones dream into action cover_400

The cover for the U.S. Target pressings of Howard Jones Dream Into Action (WEA catalog number 240 632-2). This is the standard cover artwork for this album.

 

jones dream into action back insert_500

The back insert for the U.S. Target pressings of Howard Jones Dream Into Action (WEA catalog number 240 632-2). As noted along the bottom, this insert was printed in the U.S. The Elektra catalog number, 9 60390-2 is also shown.

 

jones dream into action u.s. target 1_500

A U.S. Target pressing of Howard Jones Dream Into Action (WEA catalog number 240 632-2). This disc resembles the West German Target except that the green paint is lighter on the U.S. disc. Note that the disc has “MADE IN USA BY PDO” printed along the perimeter. The matrix code is “7559 240632-2 2895 468 03 *”. Also shown on the disc is the Elektra catalog number, 9 60390-2.

 

jones dream into action u.s. target 2_500

A second U.S. Target pressing of Howard Jones Dream Into Action (WEA catalog number 240 632-2). The color scheme is the opposite of the disc shown above. This disc has “MADE IN USA BY PDO” printed along the perimeter and also has “MADE IN USA BY PDO” stamped on the play side near the center hole. Like the disc above, the matrix code is “7559 240632-2 2895 468 03 *”. This disc also shows the Elektra catalog number, 9 60390-2.

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When trawling the bins at CD shops, you never know what you will find. I typically stumble upon interesting pressings of familiar albums and artists, but every so often, a disc jumps out that I have never seen before and somehow immediately realize is unique. Such a recent experience involved a band I had never come across. I nearly passed over the disc, but something told me to take it from the bins and add it to my buy pile. The band in question is a “power pop” group from the 1970s called Shoes.

Maybe you know all about Shoes, but if you were like me during the recent used-bin foray, here is a bit about them. Shoes was formed in Illinois in 1975 by Gary Klebe, Skip Meyer, Jeff Murphy, and John Murphy. Their first album to gain a modicum of attention was 1977’s Black Vinyl Shoes, which the band released on their own Black Vinyl Records label. Enough people that count took notice such that by 1979, Shoes had made their way to major label Elektra with their album Present Tense. With this album and two more on Elektra, Tongue Twister and Boomerang, Shoes developed a following, albeit small, for their hooks and accessible songwriting. Unfortunately, Elektra dropped Shoes after Boomerang, and while the band continued to record, they never achieved anything resembling mainstream status.

Now to the early Shoes CD. Given that the band only developed a niche interest, it may be surprising that they made their way to the compact disc in the ’80s, but on the other hand, the disc is a compilation. I am not aware of their studio albums being released on CD so early. The CD highlighted here is their original compilation, simply and aptly titled Shoes Best. It was released in 1987 on the band’s Black Vinyl Records label and was assigned catalog number BV 9787. By 1987, most CDs had a barcode on the back insert for easy scanning at retail, but Shoes Best lacks one. This is not so surprising for an early CD from an independent label.

The Shoes Best CD was pressed in the U.S. by Discovery Systems. The disc has “MADE BY DISCOVERY SYSTEMS – AN AMERICAN COMPANY 1960200B” stamped in the mirror band. Both the disc and the accompanying inserts are dated 1987. The particular copy that I found came in an early jewel case with smooth top and bottom edges.

Shown below is the cover and back insert for the Shoes Best CD, along with the early U.S. pressing. From what I have seen in doing a bit of research, this disc is quite rare. It is worth tracking down, as I have come away very impressed with Shoes’ sound and am sorry I only just became aware of them.

 

shoes cover_400

The cover for Shoes Best (Black Vinyl Records, catalog number BV 9787).

 

shoes back insert_500

The back insert for Shoes Best (Black Vinyl Records, catalog number BV 9787). There is no barcode, and it is dated 1987.

 

shoes cd_500

The early U.S. pressing of Shoes Best (Black Vinyl Records, catalog number BV 9787). The disc was pressed by Discovery Systems, and it has “MADE BY DISCOVERY SYSTEMS – AN AMERICAN COMPANY 1960200B” stamped in the mirror band.

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Legendary bluesman B.B. King passed away on May 14th at the age of 89. As a result of his dexterity and effortless play, King’s influence is felt by generations of guitarists across genres. This was helped by his 1969 album Completely Well, containing the crossover hit and King trademark, “The Thrill is Gone”. King’s unique concerts, known for his seamless intermingling of witty banter with music, furthered his status as one of music’s treasures. Even in his later years, which saw King on seated on stage, the performances remained tight (and witty).

B.B. King reigned as the top bluesman for many years. While the debate likely will rage on as to who, if anyone, will take his place at the center of today’s blues scene, King’s place in the music pantheon is clear. R.I.P., Mr. King.

 

king completely well cover 2_500

The cover for B.B. King’s landmark 1969 album Completely Well.  Shown is the cover for the original U.S. CD release (MCA, catalog number MCAD-31039).

 

king completely well_500

The original U.S. CD release of B.B. King Completely Well (MCA, catalog number MCAD-31039).  This disc was pressed in Japan by JVC. The hit “The Thrill is Gone” is listed as the last track on this CD.

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