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Styrene LPs...........

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Tetrack, Feb 7, 2005.

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  1. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Not exclusively vinyl. Until December 1968 and again after late 1976, CSM also pressed 45's in styrene, as well as vinyl. There was a promo 7" 33⅓ record on Warners' from 1967 relating to an LP Rod McKuen did with The San Sebastian Strings and Anita Kerr, which was styrene; its die-cut center hole was 0.375" (usually associated with PRC pressings - another headache in terms of styrene 45 pressings), rather than 0.344" which was the prescribed die-cut center hole diameter for styrene labels (and what would be on another styrene CSM pressing, of an Andy Williams Christmas sampler issued in late 1967). Vinyl labels' die cut center holes on CSM pressings were 0.289" by that time.

    Up to December 1968, the only vinyl 45's turned out by CSM were on Columbia, Epic, Date and OKeh, probably also on distributed labels like Ode and Immediate. It was after January 1969 that custom clients had all vinyl 45 pressings made by CSM. However, the last five years of CSM's existence, they alternated between pressing vinyl and styrene 45's. I have a styrene CBS Santa Maria pressing of Air Supply's "Here I Am (Just When I Thought I Was Over You)," on Arista, from a few months before the plant closed.
     
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  2. geo50000

    geo50000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canon City, CO.
    Same here, my mono 'Vol.2' is on vinyl, while the stereo copy is on styrene. Wish it was the other way around!
     
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  3. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Harmony LP's, up to about 1960, were indeed styrene. The labels, while they held better than on other styrene pressings from other companies, had a die-cut center hole of 0.344" rather than 0.281" for vinyl labels. There was also a different sheen and texture to the paper stock used for styrene labels than for vinyl labels. One plus was that the styrene labels retained their original size, as opposed to the 0.5% - 0.7% shrinkage of vinyl labels when pressed onto the records. Only two plants of Columbia's I know of turned out styrene LP's: Bridgeport and Terre Haute. Pitman would not have had styrene LP presses.
     
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  4. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Again, it's who pressed them. Columbia was better, relatively speaking, in terms of styrene pressings than, say, Shelley (which pressed Liberty/Imperial styrene 45's), definitely better than Mercury / Philips / PRC in Richmond, IN. To say nothing of Bestway or Monarch.
     
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  5. I can attest from being in the radio DJ field that the styrene 45's didn't hold up that well. I have many examples of those styrene DJ promo 45's that are cue-burned, while if they have vinyl counterparts, the vinyl held up much better. It was common practice for DJ's to snap records in half if they were noticeable worn, skipped or stuck. The styrene 45's were easier to snap in half. Many of the survivors made it to the throw-away pile to be given away or trashed.
     
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  6. As I said, I put a few out in the 100+ degree California sun, all day, and they didn't warp. I have seen some with a definite wave in them, which I suspect happened when they were manufactured. One common trait was hairline cracks which ran straight across the records, from trail-off to lead-in. I have been told that this was because they were cooled off too quickly.
     
  7. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    My father would travel by car, all over the south, calling on his customer's. He used to advertise on little radio stations. He would bring me records that they did not need, when I was in upper elementary school. I used to have hundred's and hundred's of promo 45's and as best as I can remember, they were all hard styrene.

    I used to travel with him in the summer's back when I was 13, 14 and 15. And all I ever saw, while I was hanging out with the D.J.'s were 45's. They would have albums, but very few by comparison.

    Also, back then were the jukeboxes in restaurant's and they all played the styrene 45's.
     
  8. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    Very familiar with the "give away piles" (see above). But even then, radio stations were always receiving promo record's, most of which never made their play lists.

    Back in the mid to late 60's, we all used to listen to top-40 AM radio, which was all singles. So we were used to a pretty eclectic bunch of music.

    But, one thing that I will say, was that that 98% of the records that I inherited from the radio stations were terrible! Not so much as to SQ, as we had really bad record player's back then anyway, but musically speaking.

    I was always so amazed about how many lousy records were pressed by band's who were hoping to make it big. And, most of these were so, so awful!

    The did serve a purpose, because we had our BB guns! They made for excellent target practice.

    What about 45's that you keep for your jukeboxes? How well do those hold up?
     
  9. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Wasn't as much a problem at radio stations where the music was put onto tape carts.
     
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  10. Some large radio stations, like those under Drake-Chenault, of which I was very familiar with, seemed like they received promo 45's by the ton. Most, even from major record labels, never made it on the air, so ended up in the 'pile'. One Drake-Chenault radio station, KYNO, had a spare room with a mountain of 45's in the middle of it.
    I didn't know it could be requested at the time, but a friend of mine, who has been in radio for decades, requested that the records sent to them were made of vinyl and not styrene.
    Records were pressed by a variety of different factories, so, the same release could be made of vinyl or styrene. A lot of times it was regional. Out on the West coast, the promos from Atlantic-Atco mostly were pressed by Monarch on styrene, although occasionally they used vinyl. The major record companies who had their own manufacturing facilities like RCA, Capitol and Columbia all pressed exclusively with vinyl in California. Independents, like A&M, never pressed their own records. A&M was run an owned by cheapskates(which I learned from people who worked there) mostly relied on Monarch for their styrene 45's and lower quality vinyl LP's. Ocaasionally, A&M would use Columbia Santa Maria and those good as gold 45's and Lp's were made of virgin vinyl. A&M also used the Columbia factories in Terra Haute and Pitman. The 45's were styrene, of course, but the LP's were made from a higher quality of vinyl than Monarch used. Some of those made it out to California but most were found in the cut-out bins.
    I don't have much of a problem with the records in my jukeboxes, styrene or vinyl. Most track at 2 to 5 grams. In commercial usage, the styrene 45's would get worn and had to be replaced much more often than those made of vinyl. If a jukebox was in a sunny location, like a window, the operators tried to use mostly styrene because they could take the heat and seldom warped. All my jukeboxes I have live in my home and I am the most hazardous thing for the records. Handling or my own stupidity. Several year ago, I had to replace a turntable motor and while I was soldering the leads, I flicked some solder off and it landed on several records which I had not removed from the rack. Of course they weren't records that I had multiple copies of. One was Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven", Atlantic PR-169, and fortunately it wasn't the much more valuable PR-175. After peeling the solder off, the record still played through but had a tick where the solder melted in.
    So, with records of that caliber in my jukeboxes, I'm not too worried about wear and tear. Although I did almost shed tears over the LZ 45. I found another copy for a reasonable price and that one is filed away in a safe place.
     
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  11. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    That is what I mean, if someone were not in these radio stations, they really could not comprehend the mountains of promo records that are received. And how bad, musically speaking, 98% of them are.

    It always seemed so odd that people would put the money behind recording, pressing and distributing records, that were so awful, that you could hardly give them way, let alone sell them.

    I always figured that the 45's wore out more quickly because of all of the play that they would get at the radio stations, it they were on the charts.

    Same thing for used 45's, which were mostly reclaimed from jukeboxe's.
     
  12. Many great and successful recording artists put out many promos which ended up in the trash before they had a record which clicked with the public. Then, if they had another hit and got out of the one-hit-wonder category, then those earlier records were re-issued and they became hits, if the were notable also.
    As an example, take Aerosmith. They put out a 45 of "Dream On", which missed the first time around. When it was re-issued, it became one of their signature songs. I had found a copy of that record in a discard pile, realized how great it was, and was playing it before it became a hit. I still have that promo 45 in my collection.
    People, like the artist(s), would put money behind a recording, good or bad, after they had saved up enough to record. Just like looking for a lawyer, there's always someone around who would be glad to that that money off of your hands. Though there was usually a producer listed on the record label, the producer's job was to take your money, get you into a recording studio, shop the recording around and maybe pull some strings to get a major label to release it. If it was getting airplay and was becoming popular, then others, including the record companies, would start putting their money into promotion and release copies for sale. Often, there were regional hits cut on an independent label and a major record company would catch wind of it. If it looked promising, they would buy the rights to it and start putting it out on there own label for national distribution. Dot records was known for doing this.
    An instrumental record was put out by an independent label, Gordo, by a group called El Chicano, "Viva Tirado", which became a regional California hit. Kapp secured the rights and distributed it nationally on the Kapp label. One thing that was funny, the original Gordo 45 was stereo and indicated it on the label, Kapp used even the same masters, and didn't put stereo on the label. This was before Kapp began issuing stereo 45's(not including the stereo 45's from the late-'50's and very early-'60's). El Chicano's next couple of singles on the Kapp label were mono. It wasn't until El Chicano's cover of "Brown-eyed Girl" that an official Kapp stereo 45 was issued(which became E.C.'s second hit).
    I've pulled lots of brand new hit 45's out of discard piles. These were obviously extra or post hit copies. The hit record could also have been winding down and they no longer needed more than a couple of copies to play and archive. So0metimes radio stations would receive a whole box full of the record. The record companies wanted to make sure that a radio station would see the record and think about playing it. Record companies would also send out promo 45's on color vinyl to catch attention.
    The same thing is happening now, putting records out on color vinyl, especially re-issues, to catch our attention and prompt us fools to buy a new recording of something we've had original copies of for decades.
    I have many well-played records from radio stations and jukeboxes which look and play like new. Radio stations most often would write things on the record labels. Jukebox operators, if a record came in a picture sleeve, would cut the center of it out to see the record inside. Radio stations would put all the 45's they were actually going to play into heavy duty paper sleeves, tossing the picture sleeves in the trash.
     
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  13. Hamhead

    Hamhead The Bear From Delaware

    I have the Jubilee reissue of the 1st Jackie McLean (Ad Lib) album that's on this cheap hissy vinyl, not styrene but it's also brittle.
    The record bent and cracked in the process. The best part is I took the cover to NY years ago and had the man sign it.
    Another unbroken copy came my way and I got it, that copy has the multi colored logo but the original cracked copy has the same label as your Cadillacs LP.

    Another one for the list:
    Kapp (blue label)
     
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  14. Hamhead

    Hamhead The Bear From Delaware

    I thought "Tell Her She's Lovely" was the second hit.
    It's odd that the indi company has one over the major.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Their 2nd Kapp 45 was K-2099, 3rd was K-2150, 4th was K-2129, 5th was K-2182, 6th was K-2173. The last 2 were the only Kapp 45's which had STEREO printed on the labels. "Tell Her She's Lovely" was on the U.S. MCA label #40104 and was stereo but didn't have stereo printed on the label. MCA generally only listed stereo or mono on their labels on promo 45's. The first U.S. MCA 45 was MCA-40000, Elton John's "Crocodile Rock" and did have STEREO on the record label. Interestingly, they also issued a mono promo version and it looked like someone took a black marker pen and inked the stereo out. I have a copy of each.
     
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  16. Hamhead

    Hamhead The Bear From Delaware

    I never knew that El Chicano had several singles out before "Tell Her She's Lovely".
    In S. Florida the radio stations played the edited "Viva Tirado" and then jumped to "Tell Her She's Lovely" like it was a follow up.
    It's odd that the Gordo 45 lists 3 producers and the Kapp 45 has the credit "production and sound by Gordo".

    [​IMG]
     
  17. It seems that El Chicano mostly did cover songs. Interestingly, their biggest hit, "Viva Tirado" was written by well-known Jazz trumpeter Gerald Wilson. I can only imagine what he intended it to sound like.
     
  18. jimac51

    jimac51 A mythical beast.

    Location:
    Allentown,pa.
    Well,he recorded it in 1962 with his L.A. big band.Probably more well-known for that band and the arranging he did for it than for his performing. Wilson was not immune in covering pop material,most notably California Soul,written by Ashford & Simpson. One of his stranger covers was a Smokey Robinson song,Baby,Baby,Don't Cry,with a vocal by William Marshall. Not only was it rare for Wilson to include a vocal,but Marshall comes off as a James Earl Jones wannabe with a spooky spoken style. Marshall is known for Blacula and for being the King of Cartoons on Pee-Wee Playhouse. Really. Oh,and lots of Shakespeare. And a Star Trek baddie.
    The 5th Dimension would cover CS as a modest hit and cover VT as Viva!(but never used in a paper towel ad).
     
  19. I hadn't bothered to look, but yes, he had recorded "Viva Tirado!" with his band. Tough with a definite Latin beat, as I suspected, it is horn-driven. Jazzy sounding with some great guitar.


    Another version of the song, but with a different title, here's Wes Montgomery's guitar-driven interpretation:
    Wes Montgomery - Bumpin' On Sunset
     
  20. Hamhead

    Hamhead The Bear From Delaware

    It's funny that we were discussing styrene LP's and ends up with El Chicano and Gerald Wilson.
     
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  21. jimac51

    jimac51 A mythical beast.

    Location:
    Allentown,pa.
    Much more interesting than silly old styrene.
    Whaa?
     
  22. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    I'm happy we barely got styrene records at all in the UK, if ever. I know they can sound fantastic but they wear so easily and badly that buying second hand singles would be a nightmare for me! I find worn styrene records unlistenable, far more so than vinyl ones. The distortion sound a much louder and just horrible to me. I haven't had many and probably own less than ten styrene records. I can't imagine how bad styrene LPs could sound, even if they look OK.
     
  23. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    I once got a US Dinah Washington LP on Mercury, pressed on styrene. It had obviously been played a lot, but it was shockingly bad to hear. The music was barely there underneath all the distortion. It certainly would have been listenable on vinyl, though far from perfect. Annoying as I would have liked the album, but I couldn't put it in my collection.
     
  24. Yup. Wes Montgomery. Sounds familiar, right?
     
  25. Hamhead

    Hamhead The Bear From Delaware

    Most what I find on US Decca (Peggy Lee, Beverly Kenney, Jeri Southern, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong) are black label styrene pressings which look good but have lots of breakup during the loud passages due to the heavy tonearms of the day. You can find a beautiful minty-just-like-new copy of "You Better Go Now" that has the original white round bottom Decca polysleeve only to play it to hear ripping breakup distortion courtesy from the Philco Hi-Fi with the big metal tonearm that killed the thing. I'm jealous of the people in the UK who got decent pressings of the Decca LP's on Brunswick pressed on beautiful thick vinyl, every Brunswick pressing I come across sounds super, only if they used the original US Decca stampers they would ace. Speaking of Mercury.... I would love to collect original Charlie Parker 10" LP's but all the ones I come across are all Styrene and all suffer the same fate, I'll settle for the second pressings on Clef where they were pressed on vinyl.
     
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