Harold Land “Grooveyard” (1958)

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Rolf Ericson (tp -1,2,4/8) Harold Land (ts) Carl Perkins (p) Leroy Vinnegar (b) Frank Butler (d) Recorded Los Angeles, CA, January 13 & 14, 1958


Whilst East Coast tenor players captured much of the limelight, Harold Land deserves as much attention, with his muscular  attack and flowing tenor saxophone solo runs.

Recorded here in 1958 with stalwarts of the LA jazz scene, the wonderfully named Leroy Vinnegar on bass, and Frank Butler on drums. The trumpet is Swedish-born Rolf Erricson, and on piano, the triumph of ability over disability, Carl Perkins. –  his left hand crippled by polio, which he crooked at angles to the keyboard, striking chords with use of his elbow in a “crab-like gait”. Not that you would guess from his  perfectly accomplished playing. Perkins died at the age of only 29 – younger even than Sonny Clark’s 32 years.

“Grooveyard” is good solid West Coast jazz, something I am beginning to enjoy more, while waiting for affordable collectible Blue Notes to come to market. It’s a long wait.

Vinyl: Contemporary  stereo S 7550 (mono C 3550)

(UPDATE Jan 2016: the liner notes Contemporary address indicates zip code 90069. The long zip code was introduced into the US Postal System on 1st July 1963. Therefore the stereo edition of Harold in the Land of Jazz (retitled Grooveyard) was not released in 1958 as claimed but at least five or more years later.)

Contemporary Records are beautifully recorded thanks mainly to sound engineer Roy DuNann. The late fifties and early sixties US originals like this are particularly fine, though you have to pick your way around the many later reissues in circulation. Only recently I came across an apparently nice US apparently original Contemporary – until the run-out revealed a tell-tale hand-written catalogue number where there should have been a machine-stamp matrix code. Dealers are not particularly savvy on Contemporary (or possibly it suits them not to be)

Originals are not unaffordable, as the whole 50’s/60’s West Coast jazz scene is not considered especially collectible (with exceptions like Art Pepper)  The cover is however a bit of a dog, cheap production values. Perhaps it has something to do with Stereo editions being produced later. The Stereo is very nicely engineered, though the novelty factor emphasises extreme stage positioning (“Hey Dad, listen to this record I just got. It’s Stereo. Sounds like the horn player is right in the corner of the room!” “Well ain’t that amazing. Whatever next? Soon they’ll be putting a man on the Moon in Stereo, I expect”)

12 thoughts on “Harold Land “Grooveyard” (1958)

  1. I had trouble getting the date straight on this. Mine has a 90069 on the back cover; from your Contemporary guide it looks to be 1963-79. Yours would appear to be later as it has the 90028 postal code. Otherwise they appear identical.

    • Yup, cover address on mine PO Box 2628 zip 90028 = 1979-84
      You have earlier 90069 cover, that narrows it down to earlier than mine, but by how much I don’t know. We know the original release of this recording was “Harold in The Land of Jazz”.

      Points of detail would be helpful: your full stamper code? (mine are D3 both sides)
      Does it have an RCA Hollywood stamp “H” in the runout?
      What does it weigh (vinyl only in grams) Mine is 116gm

      Both this title and the other Harold Land “The Fox” are mysterious late issues.

      • Runout
        Side 1, “ l s “ LKS 108 D3 (stamp) “ A4 “
        Side 2, “ e s “ LKS 108 D3 (stamp) “ A3 “
        No “H”
        weight 110gm

          • Land/Grooveyard:

            thanks Bob, well done spotting the second alphanumeric – a closer look at mine reveals after the stamped LKS 107 D3 a hand-etched A2 on side one, LKS 108 D3 but nothing extra visible on side two.

            So to recap: there is an early cover 90069 and a later cover 90028.The source metal is the same – a mother/stamper set D3 . There is some kind of hand-etched sequential number which increments by one, my guess the stamper identifier or some kind of batch control number. I have later cover but earlier code A2/-, you have A3/A4.

            The “Is” hand-etching which precedes the LKS matrix looks like a number 15, same on both sides. Similar code “15” is found preceding the matrix code on my copy of Land’s The Fox.

            Neither is pressed by RCA Hollywood, nor its successor, Monarch, but a third party.

            So we have between us a common mother, different stampers and different batch of covers, pressed by an unknown third party. Great! I think I need a drink.

            If anyone else cares to check their copy of Land’s Grooveyard, perhaps they can throw in more information. Or throw a little more darkness into the light.

  2. To paraphrase those ’60s icons The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, “times of music and no money are better than times of money and no music”. Though I recall they had mind-altering substances in mind.

  3. Another one for my list. Not done much buying lately, trying to avoid become another Greece so making choice purchases this month to save$$$

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