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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Surprisingly, a Target CD hasn’t graced the top spot on “The Resource” since last April.  Here we focus on a rare Target CD that I recently obtained.

INXS, the Australian group led by singer Michael Hutchence, formed in 1977.  They released their first album in the U.S., self-titled, on the Atco label, part of Warner-Elektra-Atlantic (WEA), in 1980.  This was followed up by Underneath the Colours in 1981.  INXS’s progression as a cohesive pop/rock/alternative/new wave band was evident on their 1982 effort, Shabooh Shoobah, which includes the hit “The One Thing” as the album’s opener.  Here we will take a look at early Target CD pressings of Shabooh Shoobah.

In Europe, the INXS catalog was owned by Mercury Records, a part of Phonogram Records.  Shabooh Shoobah was originally released on CD in Europe as a West German Mercury “Atomic” (Non-Target) pressing under catalog number 812 084-2.  In the U.S., however, the INXS catalog was owned by Atco Records, part of WEA.  As such, the original U.S. CD release of Shabooh Shoobah is a West German Target pressing bearing catalog number 7 90072-2.  WEA assigned the color combination of a green target and pink paint coating to Target pressings on the Atco label.

Green and pink Target pressings of Shabooh Shoobah can be found as West German Polygram and PDO pressings.  These green/pink pressings are fairly common as far as Target CDs go.  However, there is a very rare West German Target of Shabooh Shoobah for collectors to consider.  This rarity, produced by the Polygram plant, has a red target and green paint coating.  This is the color combination normally found on Target pressings on the Atlantic label.  The red/green pressing of Shabooh Shoobah could have been a test pressing or simply a manufacturing error.

The matrix code on the red/green Target pressing of Shabooh Shoobah is “7567 90072-2 2895 021 01”.  This same matrix code can be found on the standard green/pink Target pressings.  Shown below is the cover and back insert for Target pressings of Shabooh Shoobah, as well as the common green/pink and rare red/green Target pressings.

 

inxs shabooh cover_400

The cover for West German Target pressings of INXS Shabooh Shoobah (Atco, catalog number 7 90072-2).  This is the standard cover artwork for this album.

 

inxs shabooh back insert_500

The back insert for West German Target CDs of INXS Shabooh Shoobah pressed by Polygram (Atco, catalog number 7 90072-2).  Note that it states “Printed in West Germany” along the bottom.

 

inxs shabooh green pink_500

The common West German Target pressing of INXS Shabooh Shoobah (Atco, catalog number 7 90072-2).  The disc bears the green target and pink paint coating typical of Target pressings on the Atco label.  Note that the disc states “MADE IN WEST GERMANY BY POLYGRAM” along the perimeter.  The matrix code is “7567 90072-2 2895 021 01”.

 

inxs shabooh red green_500

The rare West German Target pressing of INXS Shabooh Shoobah (Atco, catalog number 7 90072-2).  The disc bears the red target and green paint coating typical of Target pressings on the Atlantic label.  This pressing of Shabooh Shoobah could be a test pressing or a manufacturing error.  It has “MADE IN WEST GERMANY BY POLYGRAM” printed along the perimeter.  The matrix code is “7567 90072-2 2895 021 01”.

The music world lost one of the uniquely talented and diverse rockers on October 27, 2013; Lou Reed passed away at the age of 71.  Reed made a name for himself initially leading The Velvet Underground in the 1960s.  In the 1970s, he broke through as a solo artist.  Reed was never afraid to address subjects in his music that previously had been considered off limits, including sex and drugs.  Furthermore, Reed’s music varied through the years such that there was no style to neatly confine him to.  As a result, Reed’s influence was felt far and wide.

Perhaps Lou Reed’s greatest accomplishment was his second solo album, the 1972 classic Transformer.  The 11-track album, produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson and released by RCA, offers glam rock, hard rock, and a bit of punk, too.  Transformer is best known for Reed’s biggest and perhaps most controversial hit, “Walk on the Wild Side”, which mixes such themes as drugs, transexuality, and prostitution.  “Walk on the Wild Side”, Reed’s only top-20 hit, propelled Transformer to 29 on the Billboard 200 in 1972.

RCA included Transformer among its earliest titles released on CD in the U.S.  This first U.S. release of Transformer on CD was assigned catalog number PCD14807, and the earliest copies were pressed in Japan by Denon (Nippon Columbia).  Typically, the Japanese pressing of Transformer is found with inserts printed in the U.S. and with the matrix code stamped on the disc in a dot-matrix font.  Japanese Denon pressings from the 1980s are usually found with this dot-matrix font.  However, as has been pointed out for some other albums on keithhirsch.com, the earliest of the Denon pressings of Transformer features the matrix code stamped in a crude font on the clear plastic ring.  This early pressing of Transformer is featured here.

The matrix code for the early Japanese Denon pressing of Transformer is “PCD14807 A-13”.  As is often the case with these very early Denon pressings, Transformer is found with inserts that were printed in Japan, not the U.S.  This pressing is rather rare, as it was replaced by the more common Japanese Denon pressing having U.S. inserts and the dot-matrix matrix code font.  Shown below are the cover and back insert for the early Japanese Denon pressing of Transformer, along with the disc.

 

reed transformer cover_400

The cover for the early Japanese Denon pressing of Lou Reed Transformer (RCA, catalog number PCD14807).  This is the standard cover artwork for this album.  Note the RCA CD logo in the bottom center.  Later pressings released under this catalog number have the same cover artwork, including the RCA logo.

 

reed transformer back insert_500

The back insert for the early Japanese Denon pressing of Lou Reed Transformer (RCA, catalog number PCD14807).  As noted along the bottom, this insert was printed in Japan.  The booklet was also printed in Japan.  Subsequent versions released under this catalog number have inserts that were printed in the U.S.

 

reed transformer_500

The early Japanese Denon pressing of Lou Reed Transformer (RCA, catalog number PCD14807).  The matrix code is “PCD14807 A-13” and is stamped in a crude font on the clear plastic ring in the center.  This matrix code style is indicative of the earliest pressing for this CD issue of Transformer.

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Happy Holidays!  It’s that time of year again, so let’s get festive and consider an early holiday CD.  This year, we take a look at the 1985 Christmas compilation, A Canadian Brass Christmas.  The Canadian Brass formed in 1970 and have since become one of the most famous brass quintets.  The lineup has changed several times over the years, but the Canadian Brass have consistently offered virtuosity in their recordings and have mixed in comedy in their live performances.  It is worth noting that their recording of Fanfare “Albason” on the 1983 album High, Bright, Light and Clear — The Glory of Baroque Brass was used for many years as the theme for the CBS show Sunday Morning.

A Canadian Brass Christmas is a 17-track compilation of holiday classics.  The brass lineup on the album is as follows: Ronald Romm, trumpet; Frederic Mills, trumpet; Eugene Watts, trombone; Martin Hackleman, french horn; Charles Dallenbach, tuba.  Also performing on keyboards are Thomas Szczesniak and Luther Henderson.  A Canadian Brass Christmas was released by CBS Records in 1985 on LP, cassette, and CD.  The CD was released under CBS catalog number MK 39740.  An early pressing was made in the U.S. by Digital Audio Disc Corporation (DADC).  CBS Records opened DADC in Terre Haute, Indiana as the first CD pressing plant in the U.S. in late 1984.  While DADC ramped up production in 1985, CBS farmed out production of some titles to the Denon and JVC pressing plants in Japan starting in ’85 and lasting for a few years to meet the increasing demand for CDs in the U.S.  Here, we consider a rare Japanese JVC pressing of A Canadian Brass Christmas.

The Japanese pressing of A Canadian Brass Christmas is found with the same inserts that were issued with U.S pressings.  The disc has an “etched” ring around the mirror band characteristic of Japanese JVC pressings.  It also states “MADE IN JAPAN” along the perimeter.  The matrix code is “MK-39740-A1E11”.  Thus, the catalog number is contained within the matrix code.  The Japanese pressing is also labeled “DIDC 20167” at 3 o’clock.  This number is the unique pressing identifier used by CBS for the U.S. CD issue.  The early U.S. DADC pressing shows the DIDC number on the label side and in the matrix code.

Shown below is the cover and back insert for A Canadian Brass Christmas, as well as the Japanese JVC pressing.  This pressing is rare, but any copy of this album is worth buying for the excellent performance.

I wish you all a fun and safe holiday season!

 

canadian brass christmas cover_400

The cover for the A Canadian Brass Christmas (CBS, catalog number MK 39740).  This is the standard cover issued with the LP, cassette, and CD.

 

canadian brass christmas back insert_500

The back insert for A Canadian Brass Christmas (CBS, catalog number MK 39740).  As is typical for U.S. CBS CDs, a barcode appears in the lower left corner.

 

canadian brass christmas japan cd_500

The Japanese JVC pressing of A Canadian Brass Christmas (CBS, catalog number MK 39740).  “MADE IN JAPAN” is printed along the perimeter at 6 o’clock, and the matrix code is “MK-39740-A1E11”.  “DIDC 20167” at 3 o’clock is a unique pressing identifier assigned by CBS for the U.S. CD issue.  Early U.S. DADC pressings also bear this DIDC number.

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For audiophiles with a bent towards classical music, a favorite label for many years has been Telarc out of Cleveland, Ohio.  Telarc has developed a reputation over the years for first-rate performances, recordings, and mastering.  This began on vinyl, but starting in the 1980s, extended to CDs.  For the CD collector, the earliest Telarc CDs were pressed in Japan and West Germany, with Japanese pressings being more prevalent.  Early Telarc CDs were pressed primarily at two plants in Japan — CBS/Sony and Matsushita.  Only a limited number of the earliest Telarc titles on CD were pressed by CBS/Sony; the majority of early titles were pressed by Matsushita.  These Matsushita pressings can be broken down into two categories — early and later pressings.  Some titles only exist as later Matsushita pressings, but others released around 1983 and ’84 exist as both early and later Matsushita pressings.  One such example is the recording of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by Erich Kunzel.

Telarc released this recording of 1812 Overture, Op. 49 on CD under catalog number CD-80041.  The CD also contains performances of Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien, Op. 45 and Cossack Dance from Mazeppa.  In the interest of brevity, this release will simply be referred to as 1812 Overture here.  In addition to the two Japanese Matsushita pressings of 1812 Overture, there is also a Japanese CBS/Sony pressing.  Here, we will focus on the two Matsushita pressings.  These two pressings differ in details on the CDs themselves as well as in the booklets they were supplied with.  The two pressings have identical back inserts.  Of the two, the early Matsushita pressing is the rarer one.

The early Matsushita pressing has “MADE BY MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC IND.CO.,LTD.” and the Technics audio logo stamped on the plastic ring.  The Technics brand of audio components was owned by Matsushita at the time.  The matrix code on this early pressing is “TEL CD-80041 5” and is stamped on the mirror band in small, thin characters that are typical of early Matsushita pressings.

The later Matsushita pressing has no text stamped on the plastic ring, and the matrix code is “TEL CD-80041 P”.  Here, the matrix code is stamped in a larger, thicker font that is typical of later Matsushita pressings.

These Matsushita pressings were issued with different booklets.  Pictures of the front and back covers of the booklets are provided below.  The booklet with the early Matsushita pressing contains 12 pages, while the booklet with the later Matsushita pressing contains 8 pages.  The two booklets contain the same information — liner notes by Albert Petrak, notes about the recording, and instructions for the proper care and handling of a compact disc.  Interestingly, both booklets carry a warning that states “CAUTION!  DIGITAL CANNONS”.  Inside these booklets, the listener is warned that the cannons were recorded loud and is advised to carefully adjust the volume during playback as a result.

Shown below are the front and back covers of the booklets for the two Japanese Matsushita pressings of 1812 Overture, as well as a picture of the back insert that is common to both pressings.  Finally, the two Japanese Matsushita pressings are shown.

 

early matushita 1812 cover_500

The front cover of the booklet for the early Japanese Matsushita pressing of Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by Erich Kunzel (Telarc, catalog number CD-80041).  This booklet contains 12 pages.  As noted in the top left corner, a warning about digital cannons appears on page 10.

 

late matushita 1812 cover_500

The front cover of the booklet for the later Japanese Matsushita pressing of Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by Erich Kunzel (Telarc, catalog number CD-80041).  Compare the artwork to the cover shown above.  This booklet contains 8 pages.  As noted in the top left corner, a warning about digital cannons appears on page 6.

 

early matsushita 1812 back cover_500

The back cover of the booklet for the early Japanese Matsushita pressing of Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by Erich Kunzel (Telarc, catalog number CD-80041).  There is no barcode.  “DIDZ-10015” appearing beneath the catalog number in the top right corner pertains to the Japanese CBS/Sony pressing of this title, as this pressing shows the DIDZ number in the matrix code and on the label side of the disc.  The discs pressed by Matsushita do not show the DIDZ number.

 

late matsushita 1812 back cover_500

The back cover of the booklet for the later Japanese Matsushita pressing of Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by Erich Kunzel (Telarc, catalog number CD-80041).  Compare the artwork to the back cover shown above.  A barcode appears in the bottom right corner, and the digital cannons warning has been added as well.  The DIDZ number does not appear beneath the catalog number in the top right corner.

 

matsushita 1812 back insert_500

The back insert for the Japanese Matsushita pressings of Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by Erich Kunzel (Telarc, catalog number CD-80041).  This back insert is common to the early and later Matsushita pressings.  There is no barcode.  The DIDZ number appears beneath the catalog number in the top right corner.

 

early matsushita 1812 cd_500

The early Japanese Matsushita pressing of Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by Erich Kunzel (Telarc, catalog number CD-80041).  The paragraph beneath the CD format logo at 3 o’clock states that the disc was made by Matsushita.  The text “MADE BY MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC IND.CO.,LTD.” and the Technics logo are stamped on the plastic ring, and the matrix code is “TEL CD-80041 5”.  The matrix code is stamped in the early Matsushita small, thin font.  The ‘M’ also appearing in the mirror band stands for Matsushita.

 

late matsushita 1812 cd_500

The later Japanese Matsushita pressing of Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by Erich Kunzel (Telarc, catalog number CD-80041).  The paragraph beneath the CD format logo at 3 o’clock states that the disc was made by Matsushita.  There is no text stamped on the plastic ring, and the matrix code is “TEL CD-80041 P”.  The matrix code is stamped in the later Matsushita large, thick font.

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I’m still learning. It never ends. I’ve been collecting early CD pressings for some 12 years, but I’m still finding discs I never knew existed.  Exhibit A: A West German pressing of Funkadelic Maggot Brain.  Mind you, I was aware of the 1971 funk creation; I had just never owned a copy and certainly had never seen a West German CD pressing.  When I spotted the plain spine with white lettering on black in a CD store, I figured this could be an early release.  Sure enough, the disc states “Made in West Germany”, as do the inserts.

Maggot Brain is a well-known example of shock-value early ’70s funk created by George Clinton (vocals), Eddie Hazel (lead guitar), Bernie Worrell (keyboard), and others.  The title track, also the opener, sets the emotion from the get-go, and this 7-track album commands your attention from start to finish.  That’s if you can get past the album cover.  Seriously, I advise anyone who has the opportunity to buy Maggot Brain to get past the cover and pop in the CD, record, whatever.

The West German CD of Maggot Brain was released on the Westbound Records label, another first for me.  The catalog number is CDSEW 002.  The only date appearing on the CD and inserts is the original release date for the album of 1971.  The CD was pressed by Sonopress, and the following information appears in the mirror band on the disc: “SONOPRESS C-7334 /CDSEW 002 A”.  Relative to the fancy early West German Polygram pressings that have captivated the attention of us early CD collectors (and sellers, too), the Maggot Brain CD is stark in appearance — just plain black text with no color coating.

In case there was any doubt as to the faithfulness of this CD in capturing the complete album content (sometimes an issue in the early days of the CD), there is a large, bold statement on the back insert that reads “ORIGINAL ALBUM ON CD”.  The back insert shows a London address for Westbound Records.  This suggests that the West German CD of Maggot Brain was originally released in the U.K. or possibly all of Europe.

From what I can tell, this CD of Maggot Brain is quite rare.  Though I have been at this for a long time and my collection is large, this CD serves as a reminder to keep getting out to the bins.  Keep hunting!

Shown below is the cover, back insert, spine label, and West German pressing of Maggot Brain.

 

maggot brain cover_400

The cover for the West German pressing of Funkadelic Maggot Brain (Westbound Records, catalog number CDSEW 002).  This is the same cover artwork used for the original 1971 LP.

 

maggot brain back insert_500

The back insert for the West German pressing of Funkadelic Maggot Brain (Westbound Records, catalog number CDSEW 002).   As noted at the top, the content on this CD matches that of the original album release.  A barcode appears in the top right corner, and “Made in West Germany” is printed in the bottom left corner.  The only date appearing on this insert is the original album release date of 1971.

 

maggot brain spine_500

The spine label for the West German pressing of Funkadelic Maggot Brain (Westbound Records, catalog number CDSEW 002).

 

maggot brain_500

The West German pressing of Funkadelic Maggot Brain (Westbound Records, catalog number CDSEW 002).  The disc was pressed by Sonopress and has “Made in West Germany” printed at 3 o’clock.  The only date appearing on the CD is the original album release date of 1971.  The matrix code is “SONOPRESS C-7334 /CDSEW 002 A”.

To many audiophiles and music collectors, the record label DCC (originally Dunhill Compact Classics and later DCC Compact Classics) evokes thoughts of very carefully mastered rock and jazz LPs and 24-karat gold CDs.  These LPs and gold CDs were mastered by well-known audiophile mastering engineer Steve Hoffman, who insisted on using the original master tapes and mastering these albums without compromise.  The results were often stellar.  DCC closed its doors in 2001, so the aforementioned LPs and gold CDs are out of print and generally command a premium today.

Focusing on the digital side of DCC, the gold CDs were released between 1992 and 2000.  However, the label actually got its start in 1986, and its first CDs were pressed on conventional aluminum.  Steve Hoffman came on board with DCC in 1987.  One of his early projects for DCC involved the mastering of two Ray Charles compilations on CD.  These compilations were titled Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 and Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 and were released in 1987 under catalog numbers DZS-036 and DZS-037, respectively.  These compilations are relatively common and offer an excellent mastering of many Ray Charles classics.  As will become apparent momentarily, DCC found a novel way to promote itself and its Ray Charles product in 1987.

By 1987, the music industry was seeing significant growth in the popularity of and therefore demand for CDs.  To meet this demand and further promote the CD format, record labels began producing CD singles to mimic classic 45s.  CD singles were typically the conventional 5″ in diameter (i.e., the same size as a standard CD album), but in a further marketing effort (ultimately with limited success), labels began releasing 3″ singles in the late ’80s.  Early CD players in the home could not accommodate 3″ singles, so adapters were offered to “convert” the single to a 5″ diameter.  The 3″ single would snap in the middle of the adapter to, in essence, create a 5″ disc.  In time, manufacturers of CD players incorporated a well in the disc tray that could accommodate a 3″ single directly.  Adapters were still necessary for slot-type players found in cars.

DCC used the 3″ CD single as a promotional vehicle in 1987.  One single that DCC released was of Ray Charles singing “America the Beautiful”.  This 3″ single was assigned catalog number DZS45-002.  From the catalog number, it is obvious that DCC saw the analogy between a 3″ CD single and a 45.  “America the Beautiful” appears on the aforementioned Greatest Hits Vol. 2 CD.  In comparison to the Ray Charles compilation discs, this 3″ single is very rare.  The single was pressed in the U.S. at the Shape Optimedia plant (this plant was often contracted in the late ’80s for CD singles and promotional CDs).  The disc has “SHAPE OPTIMEDIA, INC.” and “MADE IN USA” stamped on the plastic ring, and the matrix code is “DUN-DZS45-002 SOI01”.  As a nice touch, DCC added an image of Ray Charles on the label side of the disc.

Shown below is the 3″ single of Ray Charles “America the Beautiful”.  This particular copy was found in a clear plastic protective case.  The single was likely issued in this case, which was then placed in a mini-longbox sort of envelope for retail sale.

Note: The original pressings of Ray Charles Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 and Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 show the record label as Dunhill Compact Classics on the disc and inserts.  Later pressings show the label as DCC Compact Classics on the disc and inserts.

 

charles dcc single_500

The 3″ CD single of Ray Charles “America the Beautiful” (DCC, catalog number DZS45-002).  This is a very rare disc.  Note that the record label is shown as Dunhill Compact Classics at 9 o’clock.  This disc was pressed in the U.S. by Shape Optimedia, as noted by the text “SHAPE OPTIMEDIA, INC.” and “MADE IN USA” stamped on the plastic ring.  The matrix code is “DUN-DZS45-002 SOI01”.

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Here we have an uncommon early promotional CD.  Most of the promotional discs from the dawn of the CD era are samplers that were intended to promote a record label and the CD format.  These samplers were included with CD players, given to radio stations, demoed at industry trade shows, etc.  Some of these early samplers have been featured on this site.  In the interest of keeping things fresh on keithhirsch.com, the promotional CD featured here is not a sampler.  Rather, it is a promotional copy of a studio album by a relatively unknown rock band from Seattle named Widow.  The album, released in 1985, is titled Rockit and is Widow’s second album.  Widow’s debut, Gone Too Far, was released in 1984.

Widow was a formulaic rock band of the ’80s.  Their lineup was Robin Taylor on vocals, Karl Van Der Velden on lead guitar, Kevin Dillon on guitars, Jay Boone on bass, and Geoff Saddler on drums.  Rockit contains 9 songs and features a typical ’80s rock production style.  The Rockit promotional CD was released by Albatross Records under the CBS Associated Records banner and was assigned catalog number ZK 40163.  The catalog number follows the format of a U.S. commercial release, but alas, Rockit was never released on CD commercially.

The Rockit promotional disc was not issued with a booklet, but there is a back insert.  Both the disc and back insert are dated 1985 and both are labeled “FOR PROMOTION ONLY” and “NOT FOR SALE”.  The Rockit CD was pressed in Japan.  Although a CBS title, the disc was not pressed at the CBS/Sony plant in Japan.  Rather, it was pressed by Denon (aka, Nippon Columbia).  By the mid-’80s, CBS had opened the Digital Audio Disc Corporation (DADC) pressing plant in Terre Haute, Indiana.  As a result, CBS stopped pressing CDs at its Japanese CBS/Sony plant for import to the U.S.  However, to keep up with increasing demand in the U.S. in the mid-’80s (i.e., beyond what DADC could handle), CBS farmed out manufacturing of many titles to the Denon and JVC pressing plants in Japan.  These Japan-for-U.S. Denon and JVC pressings are generally rare, and this promotional Widow CD is no exception.

The Rockit CD shows the matrix code in the typical Denon dot-matrix font, and the matrix code is “ZK-40163 1A1 59”.  Shown below is the back insert, a spine label, and the promotional CD of Rockit.

NOTE: A similar promotional CD of Widow’s debut album Gone Too Far was released by CBS Associated/Albatross under catalog number ZK 39888.  This disc was also pressed in Japan by Denon.  A counterfeit pressing of Gone Too Far surfaced on ebay.com in 2010.  The counterfeit is identified by an unusually wide mirror band.

 

rockit back insert_500

The back insert for the promotional CD of Widow Rockit (CBS Associated/Albatross catalog number ZK 40163).  It is dated 1985 in the bottom left corner and is labeled “FOR PROMOTION ONLY” and “NOT FOR SALE” at the bottom center.  Note that there is no barcode.

 

rockit spine_500 2

A spine label for the promotional CD of Widow Rockit (CBS Associated/Albatross catalog number ZK 40163).

 

rockit cd_500

The promotional CD of Widow Rockit (CBS Associated/Albatross catalog number ZK 40163).  Like the back insert, it is dated 1985 and is labeled “FOR PROMOTION ONLY” and “NOT FOR SALE”.  The disc was pressed in Japan by Denon, and the matrix code is “ZK-40163 1A1 59”.

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In 1969, David Crosby (ex-The Byrds), Stephen Stills (ex-Buffalo Springfield), and Graham Nash (ex-The Hollies) teamed up to form the U.S. supergroup surprisingly named Crosby, Stills & Nash.  Their self-titled debut album, often referred to as “The Couch Album” in reference to the album cover photo, is a folk rock masterpiece.  Containing 10 harmony-filled tracks, including “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”, “Marrakesh Express”, and “Long Time Gone”, the album has gone down as one of the best debut albums in rock history.  In 1970, with the world awaiting a follow-up studio effort, the trio teamed up with another Buffalo Springfield alum and noted soloist Neil Young.  Under the banner Crosby, Still, Nash & Young, the quartet released the smash album Déjà Vu.  The album features 10 diverse tracks with the expected harmonies, but now with the songwriting, guitar-playing influence, and unique vocals of Young.  Hits include “Carry On”, “Teach Your Children”, and “Our House”.

Déjà Vu was first released on CD in the U.S. and Europe by Atlantic Records (one-third of the WEA acronym) in the mid-1980s.  This issue shows two catalog numbers on the disc and accompanying inserts — SD 19118-2 for the U.S. and 250 001 for Europe.  For the sake of simplicity, the U.S. catalog number will be referenced from this point forward.  Now, the original Déjà Vu CD was pressed in West Germany by Polygram as a Non-Target.  Although a first issue, this disc is not too rare.  A rarer pressing came to the U.S. and Europe afterwards, and it was not pressed in the U.S., Japan, the U.K., France, or Germany.  Actually, it was pressed in Switzerland.  Yes, Switzerland.  The Swiss pressing is featured here, a first for keithhirsch.com.

The Swiss pressing plant was known as MCS Limited/ICM Limited.  In some respects, MCS/ICM CDs resemble those produced by Polygram in West Germany.  For one thing, MCS/ICM CDs lack a clear plastic ring at the center.  That is, there is aluminum running up to the center hole.  Additionally, the matrix code font and format matches that of Polygram.  It is possible that the Polygram plant produced and then shipped glass masters (containing the matrix code) to MCS/ICM and then MCS/ICM simply manufactured the CDs.  A unique feature of the MCS/ICM discs pressed in Switzerland is a “buffed” inner ring visible on both the play and label sides.

Generally speaking, early Swiss CD pressings are rare, and the one feature here of Déjà Vu is no exception.  The inserts with the Swiss Déjà Vu disc were printed in the U.S., so this disc will be referred to as a “Swiss-for-U.S.” pressing.  The original West German pressing of Déjà Vu and later U.S. pressings feature a red ring around the perimeter of the disc as well as the Atlantic logo printed in red.  Interestingly, the Swiss pressing has no red ink, and as a result, does not bear the Atlantic logo.  All printing on the Swiss pressing is black.  The matrix code is “7567 19118-2 2895 821 03 *”.

Shown below are the cover, back insert, and Swiss pressing of Déjà Vu.

 

deja vu cover_400

The cover for the Swiss-for-U.S. pressing of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Déjà Vu (Atlantic, catalog number SD 19118-2).  This represents the original cover artwork from the 1970 LP.  While the original LP jacket is textured, standard flat paper was used for the CD booklet.

 

deja vu back insert_500

The back insert for the Swiss-for-U.S. pressing of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Déjà Vu (Atlantic, catalog number SD 19118-2).  As noted at the bottom, this insert was printed in the U.S.  A barcode is in the bottom right corner.

 

deja vu swiss 2_500

The Swiss-for-U.S. pressing of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Déjà Vu (Atlantic, catalog number SD 19118-2).  Note the unique “buffed” inner ring, a signature of the Swiss MCS/ICM pressing plant.  Unlike the earlier West German pressing and later U.S. pressings, this disc lacks a red ring around the perimeter and a red Atlantic logo at 9 o’clock.  “Manufactured in Switzerland” is printed at 9 o’clock.  The matrix code is “7567 19118-2 2895 821 03 *”.

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