It's worth keeping in mind that Riverside for sure, Prestige for sure and Blue Note to a certain
extent, were operating on shoestring budgets and were not run by audiophiles as much as music
lovers. Costly extra steps to make superior pressings were out of the question. The
contract-pressing plants that served small labels back in the 50s and 60s were not great on vinyl
compounds, pressing technology or quality control. Anyone who thinks they are likely to find a bunch
of Prestige pressings that sound like they came out of RCA Indianapolis will be sorely disappointed.
On the other hand, for whatever reasons that now look dumb in retrospect, the distinctive and
handsome label designs of the 1950s jazz records were all morphed into ugly late-60s "artwork." Some
people buy trashed records just to get the original labels. Classic Records and Chad Kassem's
Analogue Productions have always made it a point to reproduce original-issue label design and text,
which does make the reissues nicer-looking artifacts (and has absolutely no effect on how good they
sound). Even dumber were some of the cover-art re-designs that MCA and Fantasy Group did in the 80s.
In general, LP label art got really ugly in the 70s, for no good reason. Think of the the original
Reprise label vs late-era LP. Think of the original Warmer Brothers with the studio lot image vs the
ugly beige WB label. Think of Blue Note's distinctive bold blue and white vs the super-ugly
iteration under Liberty Records. Mercury circa 1960 vs Mercury circa 1970. Etc etc etc. Maybe
ugliest of all was the RCA insignia redesign in the late 60s. Compare a 1960 shaded dog to a 1980s
half-speed reissue of the same record. The 1980s remaster might well sound better, but evreything
about the packaging and label is _ugly_!
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Stamler" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 2:07 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Vinyl weight and reissues
> On 3/18/2014 10:11 AM, Tom Fine wrote:
>> Prestige, Riverside and Pablo were bought up by Fantasy Records, later
>> called Fantasy Group. To their credit, the folks at Fantasy kept many
>> titles in print through the 80s and 90s, under the Original Jazz
>> Classics label. The tradeoff was paper-thin vinyl and early-era digital
>> remastering (in Fantasy's case, this usually meant copying the analog
>> master tapes to Mitsubishi X80 digital tapes and cutting records and CDs
>> from those). Some OJC stuff sounds better than other OJC stuff. George
>> Horn and Joe Tarantino and a third guy whose name I forgot were all good
>> mastering guys. Their main limitation was primative early digital gear.
>> I have to say that, despite the thin vinyl, most OJC reissues of
>> Prestige LPs that I have sound better than original Prestige because
>> Prestige cheaped out on pressing. The titles I'm comparing are mostly
>> late 60s acid-jazz, and to be fair most American pop/jazz vinyl was
>> cheap and noisy in that timeframe (think late 60s Mercury classical and
>> jazz pressings).
> Likewise the Original Blues Classics LPs were often better than the original pressings. I'm not
> sure whether they used the Mitsubishi on those.