Horace Silver/Blakey/Sabu “Spotlight on drums” – a LINO – Lexington in Name Only

The Curious Case of the Lexington That Wasn’t.

The labels say 767 Lexington Ave on both sides, no “Inc” and no “R”, the cover address says Lexington and has no print on the spine. The vinyl is double deep groove, has the ear, and handwritten RVG in the runout. What more proof do you need, Mr Damn Vinyl Detective Lieutenant? It’s a Lexington!

Detective Lieutenant Columbo (crumpled fawn raincoat, hand to forehead)

There’s just one thing bothering me, sir, if you have a moment, please … it is pressed on moderate weight vinyl, around 140gm, with a round and not a flat edge, and I can see the cover is not a kakubuchi frame cover. If you could just explain, sir. The inner sleeve, if it is correctly matched, means that this record was not actually made until 1964″

Damn you Columbo, you’re smart…but you’ll never take me alive!!”   (Throws self through window)

A perfect example of  Blue Note and Plastylite ensuring nothing is wasted in the record manufacturing process. Old stock labels and covers used up first, whatever inner sleeve happened to be current, even the choice of “old dies” – leaving the deep groove. None of this matters at all, of course. Unless you are trying to put a value on it. Or indeed, if you are relying on a sellers description, sight unseen, in an auction listing.

Happily I don’t care, because its a perfect-sounding Blue Note original pressing, off the same stampers as that Lexington, pressed by Plastylite to the same exacting standards. Blakey’s cymbal strikes ring and hang in the air while Silver is at his most “Bud Powell-ish”. Recorded in 1952 but a good recording, with Sabu Martinez on little-hand-drum-things on several tracks bringing a polyrhythmic element Blakey’s pacing. A YouTube posted here offers a sample track:

13 thoughts on “Horace Silver/Blakey/Sabu “Spotlight on drums” – a LINO – Lexington in Name Only

  1. Well, my Lexington story is a somewhat troubled saga with an ultimately happy ending. The seller had listed the Cafe Bohemia vol. 2 at $30, said it was NM-, and sent me photos that led me to believe that this was a true Lexington first pressing. I was also deciding to purchase two other Blue Notes from this gentleman as he said they were in similar condition…when I got an email saying “stop the presses!” The Cafe Bohemia record had a huge gauge that the seller “didn’t see at first due to the deep grooves” that makes the needle jump about a dozen times from the beginning of “Like Someone in Love” until the exact ending of Kenny Dorham’s solo. Even at $30, I wasn’t willing to pay for a record that was missing THAT much material…although I was itching to hear a Lexington…

    The seller wasn’t trying to dupe me – I think he was just a little…off in his method of selling records. For example, most of his records are listed as NM- and I wasn’t expecting to get a truly NM- record…however, a Lexington for $30 in VG or VG+ condition didn’t sound like a bad deal considering that the seller obviously didn’t know what he had.

    Somehow, I think he felt bad and took what would have been a $120 bill for Cafe Bohemia and two other records turned into $86 even after shipping. Considering the other two records were original Blue Notes of Inner Urge (stereo, with ear) and Blowin’ the Blues Away (43 labels with the R, DG), I’m chalking this up to getting the damaged Lexington for free (that’s the happy ending!)

    I’m noticing that the flat edge doesn’t quite seem “flat” – it’s flattER than most, but it still seems to have an angle to the sides. I do have the frame cover…but is this not truly a flat edge then?

    I played the record – WOW – you weren’t kidding about just how well this was engineered. I do chalk some of it up to how silky Kenny Dorham and Hank Mobley can play…but I have several other original BNs with Horace Silver on them and this is the best sounding one I own now. And Blakey’s drums don’t overpower the whole thing, even in mono?! How is that possible?

    Thank you for this blog. Well, my wallet doesn’t thank you, but my EARS do. I’ve never been more satisfied with hunting for records than I have since I started reading LJC and rediscovered jazz and my turntable. Cheers!

    • (Blush) Kind words, thank you, I am delighted for you. These original pressings transport you to another planet. I still don’t get how “mono” can fill the room, but it does, like the Jazz Messengers popped around to play in your front room.
      As for money, I recommend putting a $100 bill on the turntable, gently drop the record arm onto it and compare the sound with that of an original Blue Note. Vinyl sounds better than money every time.
      Cheers, happy hunting.

  2. What exactly do the “frame covers” look like? Is it something obvious? I’ve searched for it on this site and elsewhere, but still I don’t have a clue what they look like.

    I tracked down Art Blakely at Cafe Bohemia vol. 2 for $30 through a site where you can buy and sell vinyl – deep groove, Lexington labels, ear, RVG done by hand. The only thing I didn’t get a good look at was the cover. Will let you know what I’ve got when it arrives in the mail, but from what I’ve seen in a few poor photos, it LOOKS like it has a flat edge ( though I’m not sure if that’s something you can see from a smartphone photo…)

  3. Nail on the Head Matty. The biggest danger with these is, unintentionally, that titles which didn’t sell as well as hoped when released (small number in circulation, therefore “rare”) would have a large stock of suplus labels left over from the first print run, for use when a reissue or second pressing was decided. My copy of Freddie Redd’s Music from The Connection actually has 47 West 63rd St labels and no ear !!

  4. You see? If it weren’t for the beaded or round rim and the ‘feel’ of the vinyl, you would have had an undeniable first pressing in hands. As I have shown with one of my Fats Navarro copies, there are many, many obvious later pressings that have all -literally all- the required details to confirm a first pressing. The Lex Ave label bearing reissues are the most, say, notorious ones in my opinion.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s