Where were Verve & MGM 1960's LP's pressed?*

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by peter, May 16, 2005.

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  1. peter

    peter Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Paradise
    This weekend, I found mint US mono copies of Astrud Gilberto's "The Shadow of Your Smile" and "Look to the Rainbow". Both have delete punches in the lower left corner.

    Interestingly, one is a deep groove pressing, on quite heavy vinyl, while the other is not and is on thin vinyl. Since they are both obviously deletes, I am assuming they date from the same time period. The differences I describe must be attributable to pressing plants.

    Can anyone help me out here?
     
  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Only one guy in the world who knows the answer to this question. He's a member here though. W.B. where are you?
     
  3. peter

    peter Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Paradise

    Thanks, Steve. I hope he chimes in.
     
  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    The problem is, after MGM bought 'em, they pressed anywhere and everywhere. They would go to different plants depending on who gave the best deal (same as today). Every time they went to a new or different plant they had to recut parts or make new mothers. Totally confusing.
     
  5. peter

    peter Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Paradise
    This would explain why the 2 LP's I found look and feel totally different. One of them has "VAN GELDER" in the dead wax too, so I was pretty happy I found it.

    What really confuses me, though, although this is not completely on point, is how bad the US non deep groove monos of Eric Burdon/Animals "The Twain Shall Meet" and "Winds of Change" sounded (I mention these because these are pressed by MGM which also pressed Verve). Completely lifeless. I dumped them, thinking they were fold-downs. Then, I found UK monos of these Animals LP's, and what a difference. It makes me think that the US monos of "Twain" amd "Winds" I had were just bad pressings. But, obviously, I don't know.

    Steve, do you know if the mono mixes on "Winds" or "Twain" are real mono?
     
  6. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    I don't, sorry. I only ever had stereo versions of those albums.
     
  7. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Sorry for the delay, folks. MGM, at the time it launched its record label in 1946, had a plant in Bloomfield, NJ. Label-copy typesetting for East Coast pressings were handled by Pace Press in New York City through to the spring of 1972 when MGM Records was sold to PolyGram (the last known 45 to bear such type were early pressings of Donny Osmond's version of "Puppy Love"). In the 1960's, LP's from this plant had a 1¼” ring around the label area, and a squiggly "S". Apparently, around that time MGM subcontracted with Savoy Records' plant in Newark, NJ (that is, according to Bruce Spizer). Additionally, the "other" plants used during the '60's include Southern Plastics in Memphis (with the same label copy fonts as can be found on some 1960's Motown 45's); Midwest Record Pressings in Chicago, IL; H.V. Waddell in Burbank, CA; and Monarch Record Mfg. in Los Angeles. In 1970 some 45's on MGM were pressed by the infamous American Record Pressing in Owosso, MI, this after Midwest Pressings closed; after 1971, they began to use PRC (Philips Recording) of Richmond, IN. After the PolyGram acquisition, they started using Shelley Products in Huntington Station, L.I., NY, and Allied Record Co. in Los Angeles. In its last months before what was left of their roster was absorbed into Polydor, Columbia pressed their last few 45's.

    Here is an example of Pace Press' typesetting for MGM towards the end of their doing so: first pressings (late 1971?) of Sammy Davis Jr.'s biggest hit, "The Candy Man":
     

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  8. william shears

    william shears Forum Resident

    Location:
    new zealand
    Damn!! You're good!!!
    :righton:
     
  9. peter

    peter Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Paradise
    W.B.: Thanks, but can you be even more specific with respect to the deep groove LP's?
     
  10. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    I can't give specifics on "deep groove" unless it refers to the way it was cut at a certain point in time. My copy of Kangaroo (MGM SE-4586), pressed in Bloomfield, NJ, looks almost "deep groove," with the accompanying "pre-echo" sound a revolution before the song starts - that, and the relatively thick vinyl. Might that be what you're referring to? Also, I.I.N.M., they had different places where lacquers were cut - not just the Van Gelder studios in New Jersey for early 1960's Verves. The East Coast mastering setup in New York, up to the late 1960's, was a mono Scully lathe and a stereo Neumann(?) lathe. Nashville lacquers were cut either by RCA or Columbia in their Nashville studios (and probably a few others - Monument, perhaps?). And of course, the West Coast likely had a different mastering setup. But then, I don't have a truckload of MGM or MGM-distributed LP's :winkgrin: . . . just a few 45's. Incidentally, that Davis record is perhaps the rarest label variation I've ever seen. I gather more copies of The Osmonds' "Down By The Lazy River" (K14324) exist with this type than "The Candy Man."
     
  11. peter

    peter Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Paradise

    Yes, that is what I am referring to: Thick vinyl, with a very deep sheen. The "deep groove" ring is about one half inch from the outside perimeter of the label, or where the dead wax ends. All this is in contrast to the other Astrud LP I found which prompted me to start this thread. That LP has a ring about one inch from the spindle hole and is on thinner, less glossy vinyl.

    I appreciate all your help. And I still would want to know where the deep groove LP's were pressed.
     
  12. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    For what it's worth, just about all the test pressings of MGM/subsidiary albums I have from this era are either from Monarch or else (for the later stuff) PRC.

    Kwad
     
  13. peter

    peter Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Paradise

    The Monarchs are not the deep groove ones, though, IIRC.

    I have some late period stereo Animals deep groove LP's, Winds & Change, both on the black MGM label, so I do know they're out there, they're just tough to find.
     
  14. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Again, that apparently "deep groove" Kangaroo LP was pressed either by MGM's Bloomfield, NJ plant, or farmed out to Savoy in Newark, NJ; the record had a 1¼” diameter ring around the label area (approx. ½” R from the edge of the spindle hole). Alas, these types of pressings are the ones I'm most familiar with viz MGM and subsidiaries, as I noted before; the last to be shaped as such came out around 1970-71. The second most familiar are H.V. Waddell pressings from Burbank, CA (with a 2⅞" dia. ring around the label - same as Monarch pressings of that same vintage); one of the most distinctive tenets of such pressings are fonts from the Tempo family by a typesetting firm called Ludlow as used for the label copy. Until the mid-to-late 1960's Waddell also pressed 45's for MGM.
     
  15. MikeyH

    MikeyH Stamper King

    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Collectors (particularly those of Jazz records) refer to the ring around the label as a 'deep groove'. I think that's what the term means in this context.. record grooves are pretty much the same size on all disks, otherwise your stylus wouldn't fit....

    On the same subject, do you know precisely what causes the groove in the label area? I believe it to be something to do with whatever holds a stamper in place in the press. It would be interesting to track it down to one particular type of press - I'm sure it's not just one pressing plant and certainly spans many labels in the 1951-60 period..
     
  16. peter

    peter Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Paradise
    Yes, that's exactly what I mean

    I wish I knew. I just know that I have A-B'd and the deep groove ones sound MUCH better to me, plus you get the bonus of nice, thick vinyl.
     
  17. Sunset Sam

    Sunset Sam Forum Resident

    Location:
    Irvington, IN
    Was doing a search on MGM pressings, as I have come across ANOTHER lp that just sounds horrid. A month ago I grabbed a copy of Every Mothers' Son's "Back" which is a stone mint DJ pressing...and sounds like a VG- Crown label pressing. Today at the record show I grabbed a sealed copy of Hermans Hermits' "Blaze" album. I pulled out the vinyl and it doesn't look 100% pure by any means. Tons of swirls and off-coloring....and as soon as I start in, there are three spots on side one that have a VERY bad "SWOOSH.....SWOOSH.....SWOOSH" sound with each revolution. A proper cleaning on my Nitty Gritty does nothing to ease this. I'm not an Animals, Roy Orbison or Hank Jr. fan, so it won't be much of a problem staying away from MGM pressings going forward....but this is EXACTLY the crap that kept me away from vinyl for so long. Very discouraging.
     
  18. Raunchnroll

    Raunchnroll Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    I've had no problems with MGM / Verve pressings as far as sound. BUT.....I stick with the deep grooves because they plain sound better than the flatter label ones with the stylized 's" (looks like an anvil) stamped in the dead wax. However at some point MGM had a problem with 'splay' - some sort of vinyl blend issue which I suspect is an oxidation issue. It causes them to 'fog up' and look smoky and dull, no gloss left. These will play with a bad hiss.

    Regarding the MGM Eric Burdon & The Animals -Winds Of Change (&) Twain Shall Meet albums, I have mono / deep grove / white label promos of each plus stereo / deep groove/ standard releases. I am sure Twain is a fold down. It clearly has less presence than the stereo i.e. sounds a generation higher, which suggests a stereo tape folded to make the mono tape. Winds, in mono, may be a dedicated mix. I haven't compared them in a long time but thats my recollection.
     
  19. Sunset Sam

    Sunset Sam Forum Resident

    Location:
    Irvington, IN
    Sounds like that 'splay' issue is exactly what I have going on with the "Blaze" LP....and it's a shame, too, because "Museum" sounds fantastic otherwise. Oddly enough, I came across another sealed copy at the record show, so maybe I'll grab it if it's still there next time around.
     
  20. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Location:
    Athens, Tennessee
    One pressing plant who pressed for Verve and MGM was notorious for swishy sounding surfaces. Bought a Near Mint minus looking copy of Astrud Gilberto's "A Certain Smile, a Certain Sadness". Sounds great except for that swishy noise. And is a nice looking copy and centered. And this one is a period original or 1967-1968 at latest mono copy.
     
  21. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    "Winds" most definitely is.

    :ed:
     
  22. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    I had a friend who described such albums as 'baked' vinyl, as if they had been exposed to heat for a tad too long for a time. Strange, because I've come across albums in this condition on more than just MGM/Verve: also Liberty/Imperial, Reprise (though rarely WB), and probably a few other labels that I can't recall at the moment. I've had one side good, one side lousy. Although the noise could probably be filtered out using a digital program, it's inherent to the vinyl, so no cleaning will do anything to help the situation. If you get a dud, toss it and look for a better copy.

    As for MGM pressings, I've found that their thinner, more malleable vinyl of the '60s offers better sonics and quieter surfaces than the thicker kind, which you'll note often has a circular ridge in the label area, whereas the thinner vinyl does not. DJ vinyl always seemed to be pressed with the thinner vinyl.

    :ed:
     
  23. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Location:
    Athens, Tennessee
    Yes, Ed I concur. Often the thinner MGM discs tend to have better surfaces. And the DJ copies were usually quite good. German and UK MGM LP discs are as a rule excellent. Usually handled overseas by Polydor.
     
  24. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Was the plant MGM's own in Bloomfield, NJ, with the 1.25" dia. circular indent - or the H.V. Waddell plant in Burbank, CA with the same 2.875" dia. indent as on pressings from Monarch, Research Craft, etc.?
     
  25. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Location:
    Athens, Tennessee
    I think my swishy sounding Verve LP hails from Bloomfield, New Jersey. It does not have the Monarch, Research Craft or Waddell style indent.
     
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