October 30th, 2016
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!
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.
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).
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”.