Pressing Plants for ABC Records, 1970-end

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by 1970, Mar 9, 2011.

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  1. 1970

    1970 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Hello,

    Hoping to compile a concise list of all record pressing plants, and their identification marks, used by ABC Records from 1970 to the time they were acquired by MCA. The only one I am sure about is Monarch.

    Thanks for help with this.

    Best Regards.
     
  2. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Up to the very end of 1972, ABC/Dunhill had an array of pressing plants they used; from early 1973 onwards, virtually all LP's and 45's issued by the labels were pressed exclusively by Columbia at their Pitman, NJ, Terre Haute, IN and Santa Maria, CA plants. A few of the others I could glean:
    - Discmakers, Philadelphia, PA
    - Plastic Products, Memphis, TN
    - Specialty Records Corp., Olyphant, PA
    In addition, from 1969-71, there was an East Coast plant I currently know not of, which used label copy typeset by Progressive Label Co. of Brooklyn, NY. As one can guess, pressing quality was hit-and-miss up to the point where ABC/Dunhill decided to go with Columbia exclusively.

    Most of their LP's and 45's from 1970 to mid-'73 were mastered at The Mastering Lab in Hollywood, with one exception being Giorgio's "Son of My Father" cut at Annex Studios. Then from 1973 to the end, ABC did the majority of their mastering in-house.
     
  3. 1970

    1970 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Thanks, W.B. for that information. It's much appreciated.

    Follow-up question: did the pressing plants you mention above use distinctive identification marks for runout grooves? For instance, I know that Monarch used a triangle.
     
  4. XMIAudioTech

    XMIAudioTech New Member

    Location:
    Petaluma, CA
    Monarch also used the letters MR in a circle, the triangle was used for the 'delta number' - and other plants used the delta numbering system later on...
     
  5. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    ABC/Dunhill was one of the coolest record labels 1966 to 1973 or 74. I'm not sure how it all went downhill for them. They were charting the hits like it was easy as pie. They were selling the albums, no problem. The had deals to distribute several other labels in the Jazz world like Riverside and Impulse.

    This was a gold factory printing hunderd dollar bills!!!!!

    And then it all ran out of steam somewhow. Had they been able to hang on, they could have been in business with major cash flow in publishing alone, records as a side thing. They must have run up some serious debts.
     
  6. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    From a 1970 Billboard article on ABC/Dunhill's 15th anniversary, I was able to get the skinny on which plants handled the label at the time. Columbia and Monarch were the obvious ones; others were:
    - Clarion Record Mfg. Co., Philadelphia (apparently used the same label copy type as Diskmakers)
    - Sun Plastics Co. and Dynamic LP Stereo Record Pressing Co., Inc., East Newark, NJ
    - Plastic Products Co., Inc., Memphis, TN
    - Specialty Records Corp., Olyphant, PA

    All these plants also handled the label as of 1960, with Sun and Dynamic LP Stereo having been associated with what started out as Am-Par Record Co. from its earliest days in 1955. (In 1960 there were three other plants handling ABC-Paramount - Shelley Products, Ltd., Huntington Station, NY; Sonic Recording Products, Hauppauge, NY [later moved to Holbrook]; and Allied Record Co., Los Angeles. Also in 1965, ABC-Paramount opened their own plant, True Sound Mfg. Corp. in Hauppauge, whose existence was gleaned as late as 1969 but was not listed in the 1970 15th anniversary piece in Billboard.) The last pressings from all plants but Columbia's were in late 1972 - though Goldisc (formerly Sonic) pressed some ABC LP's in the 1977-78 period, as did Specialty (on many LP copies of Steely Dan's Aja) - this may have been in the period when Columbia's Pitman, NJ plant was on strike.
     
  7. Twodawgzz

    Twodawgzz But why do you ask such questions...

    I don't recall anything at all about pressing plants used by ABC Records, and I was a mastering engineer for them in the late 70s. I suppose I could dig out old albums I have in boxes in may garage, but I'm not sure there would be any identifying information on them.
     
  8. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    Despite possible appearances, ABC was a REALLY poorly run enterprise. As with most of the record labels that were parts of bigger conglomerates, it was, at best, treated with benign neglect. And when that happens, if you don't have people of character at the top, you wind up with all kinds of bad business.

    To provide just a tip of the iceberg: Jay Lasker, who was the president of ABC for the early/mid '70s, had a contract that paid him bonuses on the basis of how many copies of various albums were shipped, without provision for returns (!!!!) You can imagine how that might affect one's judgment. But bad deals, bad ideas, and questionable ethics were pervasive in the company.
     
  9. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    And apparently it was in 1974 - the year ABC bought the Famous Music labels (including Dot) from Gulf + Western - that such mismanagement and corruption began catching up with them financially. I remember reading a book on the music business (published in the 1980's) that suggested that ABC Records' profitability ended at the point when W.T. Grant's department store chain went out of business that very year.
     
  10. XMIAudioTech

    XMIAudioTech New Member

    Location:
    Petaluma, CA
    W.T. Grant actually went out of business in 1976. I began buying my own 45s in 1975 and early '76 at Grant's.
     
  11. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    In short, there was more to that book suggesting the scenario I mentioned, than even I noted. With chronological fuzziness being the least of it. But the gist of it, was the suggestion that Grant's closure "wiped out . . . all ABC Record profits." Certainly it had to be the greatest coincidence in the history of the record business that ABC Records' becoming a loss leader for the parent network came after they did away with the black label "rainbow box" design in favor of the yellow to purple circle gradations.
     
  12. Twodawgzz

    Twodawgzz But why do you ask such questions...

    I do vaguely remember "Pitman NJ" and "Santa Maria CA" from my mastering days. And I believe there was a third plant ABC used. But I may be confusing plating with pressing. Were those functions always done at the same facility? I never paid any attention to where the lacquers were being sent... just carefully boxed them up for shipping.
     
  13. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    The other Columbia plant was Terre Haute, IN. And Columbia handled everything - plating, pressing - the works. Their plating division was called Customatrix.
     
  14. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    I'm a big fan of the Grass Roots, and even those two later hits Glory Bound & The Runaway are total knockouts. The CBS Santa Maria plant's 45s were very durable and sounded great. Very punchy sounding singles. My late 60s BS&T 45s like Spinning Wheel & And When I Die were the same, screaming horns, loud and rich sound.

    I'd like to go back to those times, of late I think of Cliffordville..........
     
  15. mr_mjb1960

    mr_mjb1960 I'm a Tarrytowner 'Til I die!

    Some of the 1976-77 pressings were pressed at Capitol..My copies of Tom Petty's "You're Gonna Get It!" and Self-Titled Lp's had the "Mastered By Capitol" printed in the near Inner Groove,as was also several Other ABC Lp's I'd had.
     
  16. XMIAudioTech

    XMIAudioTech New Member

    Location:
    Petaluma, CA
    "Mastered by Capitol" and "Pressed at Capitol" are two completely different things. Not everything that was cut there was also manufactured there.
     
  17. You are correct sir. The original Warner Canada (WEA) LP pressing of Fleetwood Mac - Rumours has the MASTERED BY CAPITOL machine stamp in the deadwax. It wasn't pressed there. WEA Canada's LPs in those days, I think were pressed either by CBS Canada and/or Quality Records Canada.
     
  18. Twodawgzz

    Twodawgzz But why do you ask such questions...

    Speaking of the Grass Roots, after ABC Recording Studios closed, following the sale of the label to MCA, the studio later reopened as Sunstorm Recording Studios and for a while was managed by Warren Entner, who was my boss.
     
  19. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    I also seemed to notice at least another former ABC Studios mastering engineer later turned up at Filmways/Heider in the 1979-80 period, with the same hand-etching characteristics (among them putting a circle around the lacquer number, and having a rightward pointing arrow > ). I also saw some credits on at least one record - and a late 1979 Billboard article - which mentioned the reconstituted ex-ABC studios as "Scott/Sunstorm Recording Studios." Who would've been Scott?
     
  20. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    This would've been before ABC Recording Studios did their own lacquer mastering. From what I've gathered, the lacquers for those two would've been cut at The Mastering Lab, which mastered the bulk of ABC/Dunhill LP's and 45's from 1970-73. Before that, they were all over the place - United/Western, Bell Sound and Capitol's New York studios were among the chief mastering houses used. My copy of Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World" (Dunhill 4272) was mastered at Columbia's Hollywood studios.
     
  21. john lennonist

    john lennonist There ONCE was a NOTE, PURE and EASY...

    Did ABC press Blue Thumb vinyl?

    If so, during what period?

    IINM, ABC bought or acquired Blue Thumb at some point in the mid-70's.

    I have the first two Mark-Almond LPs (released in 1971 & 1972, respectively), and the first pressings were on the Blue Thumb label, but, IIRC, later pressings were on ABC/Blue Thumb.
    .
     
  22. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Blue Thumb had been part of Famous Music (as distributor beginning in 1971, then owned outright by them starting in 1972) which was acquired by ABC in 1974. ABC/Blue Thumb copies would have been for the remainder of ABC's existence, and all pressings would have been by CBS Pitman/Terre Haute/Santa Maria.
     
  23. Twodawgzz

    Twodawgzz But why do you ask such questions...

    As I recall, when the studios reopened as Sunstorm, they were owned by a Dr. Scott who lived and practiced in Denver.

    The only other mastering engineers I can recall, who worked in those studios for the years I was there were Lanky (Harold) Linstrot and Phil Cross. Phil left and went to RCA and passed away suddenly shortly thereafter. It could have been Lanky at Filmways/Heider, but I understand he has been gone now for a few years as well.
     
  24. MusicIsLove

    MusicIsLove formerly CSNY~MusicIsLove

    Location:
    USA
    Are there specific deadwax codes and symbols to look for on post-1973 ABC records? All I see on mine are a number with a circle around it on each side and markings that look like greater than/less than symbols. I have no clue what these all are supposed to mean. Thanks.
     
  25. Blackie

    Blackie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Hi W.B.

    Do you know which plant was responsible for the pressings with the serrated edge? I'd occasional see mid-to-late '60s records from Impulse, Riverside and Blue Note (Liberty) with this distinctive serrated edge but a friend of mine recently acquired a bunch of records on the ABC label and every one has this feature so I thought it might have something to do with ABC.
     
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